Planet Earth – The future: BBC

planet-earth.jpg  Sunday night’s episode of Planet Earth was as awesome as ever and if you switched over to BBC4 straight after you would have seen Planet Earth – The Future, a three-part documentary which is complimentary to PE and features the opinions of scientific experts and conservationists such as Sir David Attenborough and Tony Jupiter.

Sunday’s episode (writing from memory so lot’s of paraphrasing) looked at endangered species, asking which endangered animal would it be wisest to invest in to best sustain us.  It was rightly pointed out that the larger, cuddlier species are the ones which have the most “charitable” pull even though, in reality, it is the smaller organisms…the plants…the less appealing creatures…the slimy delights…the creepy crawlies that dwell in the undergrowth, that play a bigger role in keeping the cycles of our ecosystems turning and provide such rich biodiversity. 

The programme also included contributions from a zoo director who advocated, indeed practised the freezing of DNA of endangered species for future use when we may, one day, have to vacate the Earth and occupy the moon.  So…she wants to clone animals and migrate to the moon with them. 

She talked about the (hugely questionable in my view) contribution that zoo’s can and do make to conservationism – protecting endangered species by taking them out of their natural habitat and breeding them in captivity.   Of course she didn’t mention the entertainment value (hence huge profit) that captive animals have.  I went to a zoo once and saw the Cheetah cage.  The information plaque that was hung on the side of the cage said that the cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of reaching top speeds of approximately 70 mph.  Well the cheetah that I was looking at would never, ever reach anywhere near those speeds in such a tiny enclosure.  And the elephants – nomadic by nature – stuck in a concrete enclosure where every step taken is straight back to where the creature started.  My point is, if they’re bred in captivity, then they aren’t going to exhibit the habits that should be natural to them and at any time when it becomes safe to release them back into the wild, they will be too domesticated to cope. 

The programme also showed images of a polar bear swimming for miles in water that a few years ago would have been icy cold and frozen in parts, highlighting the effects of global warming.  The polar bear eventually found dry land on which a walrus colony had settled.  The bear then exhibited what was, we were informed, very unusual behaviour towards the walruses.

The programme also looked into the discomfiting dilemma of investing in the conservation of endangered species and plant life to the detriment of the indigenous people whose livelihoods/communities have heavily relied upon the type of labour which often causes environmental damage.  Do we sacrifice the environmental concerns until poverty is eradicated?   Well, it’s a fact that the damage they are innocently causing in order to survive is far, far inferior to the relentlessly destructive impact that the richer nations and the Western lifestyle has had on our planet.  Look at the destruction caused to the rainforests by the fastfood chains for instance.  Our fault!  We demand it!  The environment can only sustain us if we don’t destroy it and we must look upon humanity as part of that environment.  We are all inter-twined with nature and with each other.  There is enough food, or the potential to produce enough food to feed every one of us but in this world of corporate consumerism and greed, food is only produced for those who can afford it.  Excellent source of info here.  We have to tend to the poor too which brings me onto the end of the programme.

The message at the end of the programme (can’t remember which contributor it was) pointed out the obscene disparities between how much money is spent on futile wars and how much less would be required to invest into the stewardship of our planet and all its needs, including humanity. 

More to come in the next two episodes but the book of the series would make a great Christmas present.


3 responses to this post.

  1. […] The programme also showed images of a polar bear swimming for miles in water … The polar bear eventually found dry land on which a walrus colony had settled. … Well, it’sa fact that the damage they are innocently causing in order to …Read more: here […]


  2. I watched the episode of Planet Earth showing the male polar bear searching for food and found it deeply upsetting. It made me want to look further into what I can do to help with global warming. I have posted a blog about it on my myspace page and would appreciate your comments and any information that may be useful. Anyone visitng this site who was also distressed by this topic, please feel free to take a look and leave a comment.


  3. Hi Lucy, thanks for that.

    I saw those pictures of the polar bears stranded on the berg. It was soooo heartbreaking. And to think it’s human activity that is destroying nature’s habitats.

    Very glad to see you’ve come on board in the fight to protect our planet.


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