‘The Year Earth Changed’ Summary & Analysis – A Hope For A Better Tomorrow

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With the advent of the deadly virus, Covid 19 everything seemed to be clutched by a dark shadow of impending doom. We as a race had never before felt so helpless and pessimistic about the future. There seemed no way out. It felt like the world is just going to enter into this dark abyss and all the moments of joy will be scorched out. The BBC documentary The Year Earth Changed, narrated by our favorite David Attenborough, takes a different look at things.

The Year Earth Changed looks into what happened in the outside world when we were locked down in our homes. We were left bewildered by what we saw. 


‘The Year Earth Changed’ Summary 

It was noticed that nature started to make subtle changes on its own as soon as it got the opportunity. When the human race was locked down in their homes, there was nobody who would disrupt the natural processes. 

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Nature started healing itself. The water bodies became clearer now as there was nobody to pollute them. The air became cleaner as there were fewer vehicles on the road. Life beneath the oceans thrived as the fishing industries were not there to exploit the resources and overfish. 

Wild animals started reclaiming the land which humans had seized in the name of development. There were lesser trees being cut throughout the world. Poachers were not there to kill the endangered animals. For the first time, Himalayan peaks were visible from Jalandhar due to lesser air pollution levels. Species were able to carry out their breeding season without any sort of hindrance. Amusing behavioral patterns were seen in whales, now not scared of leaving their young ones and going hunting with the pod. Lesser ocean liners meant that they could reach out to their young ones from a much farther distance. 

In an African Safari park, a cheetah is seen roaming in the resort for the first time. And when the world thought that nothing good could happen if we stayed at home, nature bemused us and our 94-year-old narrator was never this excitedly hopeful about the future that awaits. 


The Misconception 

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This documentary breaks a misconception. The misbelief that we play a pivotal role in making life thrive on this planet. The ecosystems are capable of thriving independently. They don’t need us and we should stop giving so much importance to ourselves. If any pivotal role we play that is only in abusing the natural resources and the flora and fauna, for our neverending greed. It also asks the question of whether the virus was deadlier or the human race? We had been plaguing the natural gifts to an extent that all systems would eventually collapse if we do not retreat now. Everything for us has become a business model. Making money is the top priority even if it comes at the cost of resources that hold the key to sustaining life. We made sustainable models of scavenging the natural resources which in itself is the irony of our times. 

Maybe we brought 2020 upon ourselves. Maybe we will come out from this adversity with a new perspective. Maybe it is time we understand that development is not creating a concrete jungle but saving an original one.


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The Year Earth Changed is a 2021 documentary film directed by Tom Beard and narrated by David Attenborough. The documentary is streaming on Apple TV+.

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Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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