While International Mother Earth Day was officially established on April 22, 1970, concern for the environment and how its deterioration may influence human health began to be discussed much earlier, with professors and concerned organizations. Finally, it was Gaylord Nelson – a U.S. senator – who managed to set up this day to raise awareness of the problems of overpopulation, increasing pollution, biodiversity conservation and other environmental issues to protect the planet, a struggle that remains intact to this day. Earth Day is its first 50 years and what better than to celebrate with several conscientizing documentaries. OUR PLANET (Our planet, 2019)
The team behind BBC’s Planet Earth moved to the Netflix screen with this nature documentary miniseries, centered on the wide diversity of habitats throughout this celestial sphere, from the desolate lands of the Arctic and the mysteries hidden in the depths of the oceans, to the vast landscapes of Africa and the diverse jungles of South America. All adorned with the voices of David Attenborough (in the English version), Penelope Cruz (Spain) and Salma Hayek (Hispanoamerica). THE NIGHT (Night on Earth, 2020)
Another six-episode documentary series, this time it is well British which, as its title indicates, immerses us in the nightlife of some species of animals that take advantage of their most active hours under the cover of the veil of darkness. Lions who go hunting, bats that make their own and so many other creatures, whose customs are exposed thanks to a new technology put at the service of this non-fictional art. Samira Wiley («The Handmaid’s Tale,» «Orange Is the New Black» is the narrator of this recent Netflix premiere.
Werner Herzog has a few documentaries (short and long) to his credit, including this red N production that explores different active volcanoes around the planet – Indonesia (Mount Sinabung), Iceland, North Korea and Ethiopia (Erta Ale) – and the populations that live near them, despite the risks. Together with the volcanologist and co-director Clive Oppenheimer, Herzog researches our origins and our nature as a species, discovering that these mysterious, beautiful and violent geological structures «also connect us with a belief system». BEFORE THE Flood, Fisher Stevens, 2016)
Super committed to the environmental cause, Leonardo DiCaprio becomes one of the producers of this National Geographic Channel documentary that can be viewed for free, just to help raise awareness about climate change. «Before It’s Late» not only echoes the environmental debacle and the dark future that it holds if we don’t act in time, but what we can do as a society to prevent the disappearance of endangered native species, ecosystems and communities around the planet. PLANET EARTH I AND II (Planet Earth I and II, 2006, 2016)
Revolutionary documentary series, if any, «Planet Earth» became one of the most award-winning and most expensive shows in BBC history, and the first to be filmed in high definition format. Over five years and eleven episodes, the filmmakers travel the globe and its different biomes or habitats (Polar, Mountain, Cave, Desert, Plains, Freshwater, Seas, Ocean, Forest) to give us «the ultimate look at the diversity of our planet». A decade later «Planet Earth II» premiered with the music of Hans Zimmer.YAPA: MICHAEL MOORE PRESENTS: PLANET OF HUMANS (Jeff Gibbs, 2020)
The Oscar-winning Michael Moore brings us his thoughts just in time for this celebration, the way it works best for him: telling us that we are losing the battle to stop climate change, because we are following leaders who have taken us the wrong way. Moore adds the political and corporate paw to the debate with the testimonies of Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Michael Bloomberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elon Musk, among others. A wake-up call to push for technological solutions before it’s too late for the planet and for us as an endangered species. In this note: