Docu-series shows us how we’re killing our planet

Wade Young

This baby flamingo, weighed down from built up salt deposits on its legs, struggles to keep up to the flock in an episode of the Netflix series “Our Planet.” (Image: Netflix)

A new series on Netflix serves a stern and shocking warning: we need to do more to save our planet and the inhabitants on it.

The series is narrated by the velvet voice naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, the most famous nature storyteller on television. The 92-year-old producer, narrator, and documentarian essentially invented the genre of television nature documentaries in his decades-long career at the BBC with programs like “Life on Earth”, “Blue Planet”, and “Planet Earth.”

Previous documentaries have focused on the beautiful diversity of earth’s life with closeup images of nature. With this series, however, Attenborough becomes an advocate for our crumbling and disappearing biodiversity and ecosystems.

The eight-part Netflix docu-series is called “Our Planet.” We still see beautiful images of penguins, whales, leopards, and tigers in pristine oceans and lush safaris. However, we also see how climate change is having a detrimental impact on the natural habitats across our planet.

It’s not hard to form a close personal connection with what you see on the screen. In the first episode, we see the colonies of baby flamingos “flaminglets” who have hatched in nests on muddy salt flats in Africa where adults have fed on the once dormant algae. Despite the rain that led the flamingos to the salt bed, the water doesn’t last. After soaring temperatures dry it up, the colony has to travel more than 30 miles to find a new source of nourishment for the flaminglets.

Because the chicks can't fly, they have to follow the adults on the ground. Some find it hard to keep up. This was the case for one little guy who ended up having salt deposits solidify around its feet and legs, making it even harder for it to keep up with the rest of the birds.

As the thousands of birds advanced, this little one struggled with the weight of its salt boots. Attenborough said the majority of the birds eventually make it to the fresh water.

The “majority.”

That doesn’t mean all, including the baby bird.

The scene touched a lot of viewers, myself included.

On Twitter, Kate @kathleen2690 stated, “I’ve started watching #ourplanet about 15 minutes ago and I’m already having an emotional breakdown over a baby flamingo. God dammit…"

In the second episode of the series, “Frozen Worlds,” Our Planet explores the effects of climate change, specifically how the melting sea ice affects the arctic’s wildlife, specifically the Russian walruses.

Attenborough narrates that after they have eaten clams surfaced by the summer thaw, the social walruses usually rest on sea ice. Since the ice is gone, they must "haul out" instead to beaches. The scene showed a small beach crowded with more than 100,000 walruses.

There was no room for anything. It was body to body, so some discovered a flat space on nearby cliffs that were roughly 250 feet high. After resting for days, the group was ready to return to the water.

The walruses have poor eyesight out of the water, and those on the cliff sensed when the herd started back to sea.

That's when the horrific scene unfolded when the abnormal cliff-dwellers waddled toward the ocean, and plunged to their deaths.

To say it was disturbing is an understatement. Seeing something so unnatural was sickening. There were no polar bears chasing them. They sought refuge in an unnatural place and died because of it.

I guess the producers and Netflix want people to be shocked so we start living a life that cares for our planet.

Other scenes also showed powerful glaciers breaking away from the ice fields of Greenland. Attenborough notes that this is happening twice as fast as it did 10 years ago. It is impacting sea levels and the food chain.

In past docu-series, we usually see the predator - the lion chasing a wildebeest or a leopard seal chasing a penguin. In this series, the predator hides in the shadows.

It is us.

We need to do more.

The series was created in partnership with the world's leading conservation organization, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the one with the cute panda logo. Footage for the series has been collected over four years, with more than 600 crew members filming in 50 countries across all the continents of the world.

There is a lesson for us all in the series. I encourage you to watch it.

What can you do?

The World Wide Fund for Nature website,, has a pledge with ideas people can take to make our planet a better place. I’ve copied the suggestions below:

Take the Pledge for Our Planet
I commit to:

• Reducing my carbon footprint by monitoring the electricity I use and switching to clean energy options where available.

• Improving my daily commute to work or school by walking, riding my bike, carpooling, or using public transportation. This reduces our fossil fuel use per person and helps us all become more energy efficient.

• Reducing the food waste in my home from its current levels and only purchasing what I need knowing that I’ll also save money.

• Buying products that help protect forests like those with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label, or seafood that comes from sustainable fishing practices like that with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label. And, when possible, looking for products that use sustainable palm oil and have the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSP) label.

• Signing petitions, sending messages to my elected officials, calling my representatives, and being a voice for the planet to help create and support policies that recognize and respect the importance of nature.


Suel Printing Company

Copyright © Suel Printing Company
All Rights Reserved
200 Main St E
New Prague, MN 56071

Phone: 952-758-4435
Fax: 952-758-4135

Latest articles

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:45pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:43pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:22pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 11:35am

If you would like to receive a FREE digital edition with a paid print subscription please call 952-758-4435.