Planet Earth is Discovery Channel’s ground breaking series about the natural world. The eleven part series (Pole to Pole, Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, Deserts, Ice Worlds, Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forest, Oceans Deep) took over five years to film and was filmed entirely in High Definition. Planet Earth won 4 prime time Emmy’s, a Peabody Award, and 8 other awards along with 12 other award nominations. This series should be in any nature lover’s library and as well as the collection of anyone who owns a Blu-Ray player. Here are a few of my favorite highlights from the series.
In the opening episode, Pole to Pole, your journey starts in Antarctica with the Emperor Penguin in negative 70 degree Celsius weather, then cuts to spring with Polar Bears in the Arctic. From Canada to the Kalahari Desert, Planet Earth scours the world for untouched wilderness. A pinnacle point in the show is the spotting of the Amur Leopard, the rarest cat in the world. In the next episode, Mountains, you travel through Ethiopia’s Erta Ale, the world’s longest continuing erupting volcano, to the mountain made famous by Disneyland’s Matterhorn. The pinnacle moment of this episode is in Pakistan and obtaining the first ever footage of the snow leopard.
In the next few episodes, Fresh Water, Caves, and Deserts, we take a look at Angle Falls, the tallest falls in the world at over 3280 feet. Then cruise through the great Grand Canyon in the Colorado River. In Caves, the show starts off with skydivers descending into the depths of Mexico’s Caves of Swallows, a 1300 plus foot cave that could fit the entire empire state building. In Deserts, we view the world’s most diverse and harsh places on Earth, like the Sahara desert which is the size of the U.S. and has dust storms the size of Great Brittan.
In the next episode, Ice Worlds, we once again visit the Emperor Penguin, where they huddle together to keep warm during the harsh Antarctic winter. Then back to the Polar Bear and its uncertain future as each year more and more of its ice surface disappears and it loses its hunting advantage. Meanwhile, as we go to the next episode, Great Plains, we follow Mongolian Gazelle as they seek refuge from a fire and American Bison demonstrate how dominate males are established. Then we’re off to places like Congo, New Guinea, and the Amazon in Jungles. We bare witness to a gruesome encounter as a group of Chimpanzees raid another group and even cannibalize each other.
Off to the Shallow Seas where we explore underwater worlds such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Then off the coast of South Africa we see Great White Sharks, the ocean’s largest predatory fish completely break water as it hurls itself upward to catch Cape Fur Seals. In Seasonal Forest we start in the Arctic where Conifers begin to grow about 1000 miles south of the North Pole, but will not reach their full potential until you travel another 1000 miles to the coast of California. There we discover the Redwoods, the world’s tallest trees. Finally we end our journey in the Oceans Deep. We discover a group of underwater volcanic mountain ranges in the Atlantic Ocean, some of which are taller than Mt. Everest. And the series ends with the Blue Whale, the world’s largest animal which was once 300,000 strong, now less than 3% of that number remain today.
Planet Earth is a great series and shows us the impact we are having on the planet. But none the less there are still wonderful places we have hardly discovered and more that need our help to remain protected. I think everyone should take the Planet Earth journey and discover everything our planet has to offer. Discovery Channel and BBC have made a great program that the whole family can enjoy watching over and over again.