A Perfect Planet is much more than just a 5 episode limited series. It’s an appeal to us, humans, in a way. It is an appeal to turn around the state of events and prevent what seems to be inevitable as of now. The victory of this limited series does not lie in getting appreciated for the way it is shot or the engrossing manner in which the narrative is built around the stories from our planet. Obviously, that requires great skill, commitment, and creativity and there is no doubt that each aspect is crafted excellently. But the real victory lies in the fact that we are able to grasp the message and implement it at our individualistic levels. So in this article, I will abstain from commenting on any technical process but rather try to understand the issues that the series wants to bring to our attention.
The series looks into five major elements that govern almost everything on our planet and are a key to our survival. It includes Volcanoes, Sun, Weather, Currents, and the treacherous acts of dastardly Humans. A Perfect Planet has been narrated by the eloquent David Attenborough who first soaks us melancholy and then gives a shimmer of hope.
An Intricate Web
It looks like we are in a lucid dream. Everything happens in front of our eyes but still, we are not able to explain “the why”. We know that everything in this world is codependent on each other but still it is almost unreal when you start exploring it and witnessing it visually.
I have always been a firm believer that there are higher things at play when we talk about the existence of life on our planet. It might sound unscientific to me but there are certain things that you just can’t explain why. It’s almost like a sixth sense. For example, Lake Natron is one of the most corrosive bodies of water. When the water levels go down exposing the bed of the lake then a huge flock of flamingos migrates to this water body. How they come to know of the exact moment when the bed is exposed is a mystery.
On an extinct volcano named wolf which is part of one of the most isolated islands of Galapagos, lives a bird named Finch. Finch often doesn’t get anything to eat on the island so it sucks blood from the bodies of another bird species known as Nazca Boobies. Now why time and again the Nazca allows them to do so is incomprehensible.
There are always some mysterious ways in which nature provides for everything that thrives on this planet. You remove one block from this “Jenga” and the whole structure falls apart, exactly what we have become quite efficient in doing since the Industrial Revolution.
We often boast about how we are the most cerebrally developed species on this planet. What we miss to mention is that we are the most selfish too. The dent we have caused on the planet is insurmountable. We have become agents of havoc. Our greed for more has made us worse than savages.
It’s disheartening to see our priorities. There is not even a moment of doubt when we cut a tree or pollute the ocean ecosystems. We do not even flinch once before poaching an endangered species. It’s our actions that have caused our rivers to dry up and our forests to be ruthlessly exterminated. We are the sole cause of climate change and diminishing the quality of life of the generations yet to be born.
We might be literate but we are highly uneducated. What our uneducated self knows best is to procreate and plan for a safe future by minting money and leaving the same for the next in line. What we don’t realize is that money will be used only to buy oxygen cylinders if we don’t check our actions now. And a pandemic of this proportion should be an example that we don’t want to be on the wrong side of things that we can’t control.
A Perfect Planet precisely depicts cruelty of the most developed species of this planet and the imprudence is almost disconcerting.
Nature is a brute force in itself but it also manages to orchestrate moments of serendipity for us to latch onto. It gives us a chance to make things right. There is still hope if we mend our catastrophic ways. I am not a pessimist but I believe that it would be poetic justice if we meet our fate. But the forces at play are not as austere as mine. That’s why we call it mother nature maybe.
The answer to the question “what do we do” is very simple. Revolution can be triggered if we change. Plant a tree on every occasion you find. Follow it as religiously as you have followed every ritual. Plant a tree when you want to pray, plant a tree when you want to celebrate a festival, plant on birthdays and anniversaries.
As a society, we should try to use technologies that reduce the carbon emissions we make, the prime cause for climate change. And most importantly think beyond your selfish self. Nature is forgiving to an extent but it would be naive to think that we can take advantage of it forever.
David Attenborough’s narration combined with the impacting background scores just transports you someplace else. Sometimes you feel like you are standing on a battlefield and sometimes you feel like you are witnessing things that are far greater than your conscience being. It is a weird feeling. It leaves you teary eyes at times and sometimes renews your faith. You start questioning the mere significance we impart to our existence, the mind of the importance we give ourselves.
Also not enough credit could be given to the cinematographers. It takes a man of passion and patience to capture those moments and take the viewers on a surreal journey.
I believe it is necessary for everyone to watch A Perfect Planet, streaming on BBC, as much as it is our moral responsibility to curb our actions.
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