Image via Unsplash | Jay Ruzesky
The gold standard of nature documentaries has been anything BBC related — think about Planet Earth or Life. All are stellar and all share a key component, the esteemed David Attenborough. So when Netflix debuted their original Our Planet and Attenborough’s voice came on, we knew it was going to be a good one.
There is always something inherently sad about nature documentaries, isn’t there? The cycle of life and death is always uncomfortable to watch — after all, some animals are hunters and some are prey. That just is the fact of life. These are things that we have learned to accept. So when towards the end of one episode we are met with the largest gathering of walrus (over 100,000 on a single beach) your breath will catch.
Why so many on one beach? Attenborough says, “They do so out of desperation, not choice. Their natural home is out on the sea ice, but the ice has retreated away to the north. And this is the closest place to their feeding grounds where they can find rest.” There is no preparing for what happens next, there is no way words will prepare you.
In desperation to find a bit of space, some walrus climb steep hills and peaks. Walrus have very poor eyesight out of water and have no way to really gauge how high they are. Attenborough tells us they can, however, since the presence of the others down below. In an attempt to get back to the group when hungry, hundreds plunge to their deaths off these cliffs.
We were not the only ones totally shook by this scene.
These animals, like so many around the world, are living with global climate change. It’s not a myth or a scam or anything to these animals. It is a fact and they are dying. This leaves many of us wondering what can we actually do to help these animals and to help our struggling planet?