This week, a new documentary series debuts that might finally change the way we look at the world around us. Wildlife biologist Dr. M. Sanjayan hosts and turns the camera around to focus on human interactions with nature, rather than looking at nature in isolation. The five-part documentary captures amazing moments between wild animals and the people who live and work with them.
Co-creator and host Sanjayan is a world renowned conservation scientist. He uses this documentary as a critique on the films that came before, arguing that other nature documentaries show “an almost pornographic image of the planet” that often excludes humans from the picture almost entirely. Earth: A New Wild is different, according to Sanjayan, because it hones in on the intersection of humankind and nature. By revealing both the spectacular and the shocking, this documentary series attempts to encourage a more holistic brand of environmentalism.
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Sanjayan and his crew traveled around the globe to make this series, working to highlight unique problems in different areas. Viewers will travel along to Brazil, where shirtless tribesman use smartphones to calculate the carbon credit value of their jungle habitat. In Indonesia, local conservationists ride trained elephants to help protect farmers from fatal encounters with other stampeding elephants, as well as reduce crop damage by significant numbers. Around the world, Sanjayan lifts up stories that show how people are connected to wild animals, and what that means for our collective future.
Just as humans call this wild planet our home, so do the animals with which we share it. Earth: A New Wild reinforces this idea by visiting all sorts of critters, ranging from cute to terrifying, in their home habitats in over two dozen countries. The series promises a twist at every turn, though. Most importantly, according to Sanjayan, this documentary intends to blur the lines between human and animal and to put forth the argument that we are all in this together. He hopes to inspire people to work harder to save the animals of our planet because, in doing so, we may also save ourselves.
The five-part series will debut on PBS February 4, 2015, at 9 PM ET.
Images via PBS via screengrab.