Nature reels: Environment-centric TV shows never fail to inspire

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The pandemic has given us enough time to slow down in life and connect with nature. It has also made us focus more on the environment and the issues facing us. This includes the abuse being faced by the planet—trashing, polluting, digging, and exploiting natural preserves in more ways than one. Helping get the message across are nature-inspired television series and planet preservation programmes in different mediums.

The latest entrant in this space is English broadcaster, natural historian and author Sir David Attenborough’s The Green Planet on BBC. Attenborough’s documentary series is about the surprising lives of plants and the challenges they are facing to survive. Attenborough captures incredible shots of plants across the world using vivid imagery and robotic cameras. Previously, other series like Attenborough’s Wonder of Song, a documentary on seven recordings of songs with music from the song of the lyrebird, mostly found in Australia and among the world’s largest song birds which imitate the noises of other birds and animals, and In Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard, which focuses on the discovery of a huge fossilised leg bone by amateur paleontologists Sally and Neville Hollingworth on the riverbed of the Thames. In fact, the 2006 mini-series titled the Planet Earth on the Earth’s ecosystems by the historian had won four Emmys, besides a Peabody Award and an award from the Royal Television Society.

Dedicated OTT platforms like Safari with Suyash TV are more welcome news in the area of wildlife conservation. As India’s first OTT platform dedicated to wildlife, created by filmmaker and conservationist Suyash Keshari, the platform offers virtual safari experiences in India, ranging from tiger safaris to learning about trees and birds, and ways to conserve their habitat—all are featured on this platform. The platform is supplemented by an apparel line to raise funds for conservation projects wherein 100% of the profits are earmarked for conservation projects.

Similarly, in 2021, Apple TV+ launched Jane, a new mission-driven series for children and families from Emmy Award winner JJ Johnson, Sinking Ship Entertainment and the Jane Goodall Institute. It is about Jane Garcia, a 10-year-old girl with an active imagination, and how she and her teammates work to protect an endangered animal in each mission-driven episode.

Another show called Safari India with actor Rannvijay Singha started on Zee Zest channel is an eight-part series that explores some of India’s prominent national parks like Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital, Gir National Park in Gujarat, and more.

Celebrities also have thrown in their weight to such causes by participating in popular shows. For instance, celebrities have featured on Discovery’s adventure television show Into The Wild With Bear Grylls. Bollywood actors Ajay Devgn, Vicky Kaushal, Akshay Kumar and south superstar Rajinikanth have tested their adventure skills by coming up close with nature with the world-famous adventurer and survivalist Bear Grylls. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi made many heads turn by appearing on the popular show.

Celebrities have also been in the news for their good acts. Like a tree in the Cameroon forest known for its incredible biodiversity has been named in honour of Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio. Now called Uvariopsis dicaprio, the small tropical evergreen tree got its name after the star campaigned on Twitter to save a rainforest from logging. The ‘dicaprio’ tree is the first plant new to science to be officially named by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in Richmond, UK. The tree has glossy yellow flowers that grow from its trunk. One of the largest relatively untouched rainforests in central Africa, it is home to the Banen people and houses an array of unique flora and fauna, including threatened gorillas, chimps and forest elephants.