After recent rumors that the Discovery Channel was going to cut the last episode of their Frozen Planet series – the one that deals exclusively with climate change – people were outraged and an online petition was organized. Almost 84,000 curious individuals slapped their names on the Change.org petition asking Discovery to air the episode, and the people have won. Yesterday, Discovery announced that they will in fact be airing the series in full starting on Sunday, March 18 and it will be capped off by episode number seven, “Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice,” which warns the human race of the dangers of our melting ice caps.
In a news release yesterday the Discovery Channel announced the start date for airing the series and made sure to note that the seventh episode will be shown to cap off the run. “Frozen Planet will provide the ultimate portrait of our earth’s polar regions, where the scale and beauty of the scenery and sheer power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet,” the release noted. The release ended with a note about the episode in question; “The series’ seventh episode, hosted on camera by British naturalist David Attenborough, will investigate what rising temperatures will mean for the people and wildlife that live there — and for the rest of the planet.” The show was shot by the same team that made the epic series “Planet Earth” and will be narrated by Alec Baldwin.
In the call for people to sign the petition, Claudia Abbott-Barish, the author, quoted her friend David Baillie of WildCat Films who worked as a camera man on Frozen Planet. “Over a 5 year period, I made 5 trips to Antarctica and one to the Arctic. In every location we saw and filmed clear evidence of retreating glaciers, disappearing permanent ice sheets and atypical weather patterns.” He added that he was working alongside scientists, “who now have years of incontrovertible evidence of a growing and catastrophic warming at both poles. Many of these scientists were funded by the US National Science Foundation so it seems perverse that Discovery is effectively censoring scientific research funded by the U.S. taxpayer.”
The episode won’t be censored now and although Discovery directly denies that the petition to show the episode had any impact on their decision, the news reports before they announced the air date were pretty clear. Discovery had been attempting to keep this potentially eye-opening episode from the eyes of United States citizens but now we’ll all get to see what is likely to be an enlightening — but depressing — one hour special.