Showcasing footage from around the world after an unprecedented year, “The Year Earth Changed” is a timely documentary special that takes a fresh new approach to the global lockdown and the uplifting stories that have come out of it. From hearing birdsong in deserted cities and seeing whales in Glacier Bay, to meeting capybara in suburbs across South America, people worldwide have had the chance to engage with nature like never before. In this documentary special, viewers will witness how the smallest changes in human behavior – reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to coexist – can have a profound impact on nature. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, is a love letter to planet Earth, highlighting the ways nature’s resiliency and ability to bounce back can give us hope for the future.
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There are more than 370 species of birds unique to Australia, including flightless wonders like the prehistoric-looking cassowary and the dramatic male Victoria's riflebird, whose elaborate and flamboyant mating ritual just can't be ignored. Venture into the natural habitat of these avian oddities as they showcase their unique takes on family life.
Discover a land of hauntingly beautiful coasts, magical forests, and volcanic and arctic extremes - and the lynx, orcas, puffins and wolves who call this frozen kingdom home. Chapter 1: Life on the Edge Wild and unpredictable, the Scandinavian coast is a place of haunting beauty and dangerous extremes - a journey from storm-swept islands crowded with seal pups to 3,000ft deep fjords where sea eagles fly and base jumpers parachute from the edge. In the far north, tropical currents and Arctic seas collide, creating riches - billions of herring tracked by orcas and humpback whales - while providing a home to thousands of seabirds, including the feisty puffin. Chapter 2: Heartlands Great forests form the heart of Scandinavia, stretching towards the Arctic and cutting through with a labyrinth of waterways. Incredible creatures like lynxes, wolves, bears and reindeer must survive the ever-changing seasons - from the chilling grip of winter to the warm riches of summer. Here, all life is deeply interconnected through surprising and ancient partnerships, creating a balance that has evolved over millennia. Chapter 3: Ice and Fire Scandinavia's northern extremes have been shaped by ice and fire, but it's the sun that reigns over these frozen kingdoms. Here, musk oxen, polar bears and arctic foxes must endure the long, dark polar night, but in spring, the sun's return ignites a dramatic transformation in the landscape and heralds the return of thousands of migrant visitors. Under the midnight sun, the north bursts into a sleepless rush of life and opportunity, a race against time to raise a family, but for some, it's the summer heat which brings the greatest dangers before the first frost and winter's welcome return.
2023 • Nature
David Attenborough journeys to both Polar Regions to investigate what rising temperatures will mean for the people and wildlife that live there and for the rest of the planet. David starts out at the North Pole, standing on sea ice several metres thick, but which scientists predict could be Open Ocean within the next few decades. The Arctic has been warming at twice the global average, so David heads out with a Norwegian team to see what this means for polar bears. He comes face-to-face with a tranquilised female, and discovers that mothers and cubs are going hungry as the sea ice on which they hunt disappears. In Canada, Inuit hunters have seen with their own eyes what scientists have seen from space; the Arctic Ocean has lost 30% of its summer ice cover over the last 30 years. For some, the melting sea ice will allow access to trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and minerals. For the rest of us, it means the planet will get warmer, as sea ice is important to reflect back the sun's energy. Next David travels to see what's happening to the ice on land: in Greenland, we follow intrepid ice scientists as they study giant waterfalls of meltwater, which are accelerating iceberg calving events, and ultimately leading to a rise in global sea level. Temperatures have also risen in the Antarctic - David returns to glaciers photographed by the Shackleton expedition and reveals a dramatic retreat over the past century. It's not just the ice that is changing - ice-loving adelie penguins are disappearing, and more temperate gentoo penguins are moving in. Finally, we see the first ever images of the largest recent natural event on our planet - the break up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an ice sheet the size of Jamaica, which shattered into hundreds of icebergs in 2009.
To fly like a bird, Earthflight not only captured remarkable images of wild flocks but also relied on some extraordinary relationships between people and birds. Filmed over four years, in six continents and more than 40 countries, the Earthflight team used many extraordinary techniques. For some of the unique flying shots, members of the team became part of the flock. The birds followed wherever they went - even in a microlight over Edinburgh and London. In Africa, paragliders floated alongside wild vultures, while a model vulture carried a camera inside the flock. In South America, wild-living macaws, that were rescued as babies, still come back to visit their 'foster mother' as he travels along a jungle river. In Africa, a radio-controlled 'drone' silently infiltrates masses of pink flamingos without disturbing a feather, and microlights and helicopters capture the dramatic moment white storks arrive over Istanbul. In Africa a tame vulture carried a camera across the African bush and recreated the behaviour of his wild relatives. Similarly, in the USA, a flock of hand-reared snow geese followed the migration route of wild flocks and took in the sights and sounds of New York - managing to get lost in Brooklyn
A thousand years ago, many millions of whales dominated the sea, with their ancient behaviours vital to the well-being of the oceans. These marine mammals are the ambassadors between one world and another, land and sea, their close communities only now being truly researched and understood. They are still a keystone species in our fragile ecosystem today, with crucial impact on our seas and the life contained within them. But whaling decimated their numbers over the last 150 years, in particular the whaling industry run by the KGB during the Cold War. In a basement in Odessa, top-secret Soviet whaling reports record the unimaginable number of whales killed. This film tells how surviving members of the Soviet leadership, and original Soviet whalers, uncover these secret records, allowing us to understand the magnitude of historical whale populations and the shocking impact of commercial whaling. Whale populations are now largely cherished across the world as we begin to understand these amazing animals, their intelligence and their important contribution to the sustainability and health of the oceans.
2023 • Nature