Today is Monday, February 1, 2021, or two-one-two-one.

Thursday’s snow, which delivered an inch or so of white stuff, was most welcome — just enough to brighten our outer and inner landscapes. The dreary gray days leading up to Thursday, though, provided ample opportunity to catch up on reading and watching nature programs.

Which brings me to a question: Have you watched Netflix’s Emmy-award-winning nature series “Our Planet?” 

The series, which launched on April 5, 2019, is Netflix’s first nature film and, oh, it’s a visually stunning one at that. The series premiere was held on April 4, 2019, at the Natural History Museum in London. Guests included Prince Charles and his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and the series narrator David Attenborough, who attended the event to underline their support for action against climate change.

In his speech, Prince Charles said he hoped “Our Planet” would educate hundreds of millions of people around the world about what action was required, while Attenborough called on the world to “be responsible, careful citizens of this planet, which is our only home, and for the creatures that live in it.”

With state-of-the-art 4k cameras and drones, and unique tracking of animals on the move, we witness the planet’s breathtaking diversity — from seabirds carpet-bombing the ocean to wildebeests eluding the wild dogs of the Serengeti, from remarkably ambitious ants to the most intimate footage of blue whales you’ll ever see.

A powerful filming technique that is prominently used to draw the viewer in is “zooming out” — that is, beginning with an underwater closeup shot of, say, a whale’s eye and then ending 100 feet in the air, looking down at the female whale and its calf. 

Filled with majestic views, dazzling imagery and mesmerizing natural spectacles, “Our Planet” is undoubtedly visually stunning, but it is also traumatizing. In his 90s, Attenborough continues to be a powerful spokesman for, well, our planet, warning of imminent ecological disaster.

This is absolutely brilliant, but also very, very sad. Mankind must stop and protect our only home — NOW.

As we are reminded by an African proverb quoted in “Terre des hommes” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1939), “We do not inherit the land from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”

However, ecology and respect for nature always rhyme with procrastination. Indeed, since Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar floor, the human population has more than doubled, but 60% of wildlife populations have disappeared.

The series “Our planet” celebrates the natural wonders that remain and invites us to be both contemplative and respectful. Thus, we cross every continent, we feel each season and we touch each of the three main elements (sea, air, earth). It’s dazzlingly filmed. The voice of Attenborough is warm and pleasant. The text is excellently written. What a delight!

Although it can be sufficient in itself, this superb documentary may be supplemented by “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006), “Microcosmos: Le peuple de l’herbe” (1996) and “Océans” (2009).

Each new epic nature series brings something new. With each development in the science and art of photography, we are treated to new wonderful scenes.

Attenborough has for a long time brought brilliant series such as “Planet Earth I and II,” “Blue Planet” and others to life with his unique, passionate and wonderful voice. Along with Jacques Cousteau, he contributed to my path of becoming a marine biologist.

This series, as the others were, is sorely and unfortunately needed. Hopefully, Netflix and Attenborough can reach a new, more motivated audience with this fantastic show to inspire not only wonder but also action.

 

To join my Garden Shed newsletter, which is all about organic gardening with a few recipes and photo tips tossed in, visit my blog at MarionOwenAlaska.com. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. To get in touch by email: mygarden@alaska.net.

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