Netflix's 'Our Planet': Watch and Learn

Looking for a new TV show? Netflix’s original series, Our Planet (2019), goes beyond sheer entertainment, depicting the beauty of our planet while also highlighting humankind’s complicity in its destruction.

The series doesn’t shy away from admitting how human activity has impacted the very nature and wildlife we love to watch. After watching wild orangutans bounce around Borneo’s jungle, viewers are told that the conversion of these pristine forests into palm oil monocultures contributes to over 100 of these orangutans dying every week.

Our Planet forces viewers to confront the uncomfortable truth: the very wonders they love watching are the same things that they are threatening through their lifestyles.

However, it also highlights conservation success stories, providing optimism to an otherwise bleak outlook. Scenes of extraordinary shots of cheetahs are accompanied by the knowledge that observing these cheetahs is only possible due to the extensive protection of the Serengeti.

Here’s a few more reasons to watch it:

  • It’s won 2 Emmy awards

  • The series was produced by Alastair Fothergill and narrated by David Attinbrough, both of which were responsible for the Planet Earth series.

  • The show’s production is stunning (videography, research, story line) and inspiring to watch.

→ It took...

  • 3375 days of filming

  • Filming in 60 countries

  • 400,000 hours of camera trap monitoring

  • 6,600 drone flights

  • 911 days at sea

  • 600 crew members

There is also a documentary, Our Planet: Behind the Scenes, which honors the work it took the videographers to capture such rare, high quality footage. Here’s some of its most notable aspects:

  • The videographers narrated what they saw as they filmed it so that the script writers could go back and listen to the animals behavior while they see the footage

  • Videographers stayed inside small boxes in Siberia for 6 days at a time to capture footage (over 2 winters)

  • They used new technology to capture things never been seen before (drones, underwater cameras, camera traps, etc)

  • Favorite quote: “For a film crew, this is frustrating, but for wildlife, this rapidly changing world now threatens their very survival.” (talking about missing a shot they had been planning for weeks and how the weather changed their expected conditions so they couldn’t get their shot). This really puts into perspective how we’d be disappointed if that happened to us, but these animals are losing their habitats due to our actions.

Why it's so effective:

  • It tells a story: one of the biggest issues in the climate fight is scientific communication. Being able to tell a story with valuable lessons is scientifically proven to stick with people over telling them straight facts

  • It makes viewers care: How can someone look at an African hunting dog mamma playing with her pups or see a Siberian tiger stroll past the screen in the boreal forest, or a blue whale and her calf feeding and not want to preserve their dwindling habitats?

Still not convinced? Find more info here.

The Bottom Line: Watch the show (and the behind the scenes documentary)!

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