After 117 shoots across 40 countries, BBC’s amazing crew has delivered Planet Earth II, and in doing so have shown the power of wildlife photography and documentaries in inspiring the wider public on the importance of conservation. More important than the stunning footage is what we learned from Planet Earth II, so we’ve gone through a few of the key takeaways.
Planet Earth II Delivered
The first instalment of BBC’s Planet Earth phenomenon wowed us for years. Fair enough then that many wondered if, should a second one ever come about, the first would be able to be replicated in qualitative terms. But as I sit here with the soundtrack to Planet Earth II playing in my headphones, I think I speak for all of us when I say it delivered. It delivered in spades.
It’s always slightly concerning when the trailer to something has you so emotionally involved that you wonder how the actual series could continue that performance. And so it was with joy that Planet Earth II unfolded to us each Sunday night, from the breathtaking escape of a young iguana to the heart-stopping moment a leopard almost attacked a cameraman. It is with sadness that we saw it come to an end, but the inspiration it has left behind may live on for a while to come.
There’s A Lot Of Species We Don’t Know
In a world awash with information via the web, it surprised a lot of viewers when species after species was introduced that we had never heard about. If there is a key ingredient to take away from this series, perhaps it is not the task we have at hand to save the environment but rather just how varied, vulnerable and secretive all those ecosystems are.
Nature Is Brutal – But Now We See It
One of the telling aspects of Planet Earth II was the lack of shame the producers had in displaying nature’s ferocity and missing empathy. Back in the day, wildlife documentaries may have shown a chase of predator/prey, but you wouldn’t have seen the graphic detail and ruthlessness that we witnessed here. And that’s a step forward, because if we are to value and protect the natural world it’s only right to understand and appreciate the reality of it.
A key statistic coming out in the aftermath of the episodes being aired is the amount of young people who watched each one. Bravo BBC for displaying the world in all its glory: beautiful and devastating.
David Attenborough Can Unite Across Generations
For some, Sir David Attenborough is but a face behind nature documentaries, put in front of the camera and given a script. However, the man himself has a far deeper connection to the natural world than most realise, and it may turn out to be impossible to fill his well-travelled shoes. Educated in biology and at the forefront of television since it began, he has been amongst the first to venture into countless areas across the globe and bring to western conscience the plight of numerous species.
What we learned from this series, however, aside from his ability to continue to amaze at a mere 90 years of age, is that his talents and ability to inspire are not restricted to past generations. We have just witnessed an entirely new group of kids be introduced to the spectacle that is nature by the same man that introduced it to so many of us, and he has left them with an indelible message that a number are bound to carry into their working lives.
We have been saying it for the better part of four decades, but this may well be his last series. Let us hope not, but if it were, it would be some series to bow out on.