When the pandemic hit last year, like many, I thought it would only last a few weeks. Tourism basically disappeared going from 7 million to zero. Spring Break was non-existent and Disneyland became a ghost town. Also, like many, I relished in grabbing some much needed rest, living my best life in pajamas and catching up on old films and television shows. Being on lockdown had it’s built in advantages and disadvantages, but most of all it changed how the earth navigated for humans, businesses and our wildlife community. Remember, they inhabited the earth alongside us and somewhere along the way society seem to get amnesia resulting in a world animals or human beings barely recognize.
Voiced by Sir David Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed counts down how putting lives on pause made room for remarkable change in the natural world that we haven’t witnessed for decades. Director Tom Beard and brilliant Cinematographer Richard Szkiler, this gorgeous cinematic history lesson takes audiences on a guided global tour where endangered penguins have a record breaking breeding season, pollution became the its best in 40 years and being devoid of noise pollution allowed birds to sing and communicate. Basically, the moment earth paused was the moment we were all able to breath again.
As a matter of fact, for the first time in India, one could literally stand on a roof and see a crystal clear, breathtaking view of Mount Kangchenjunga for the first time in 30 years. Ninety days into the pandemic with everyone working from home, retail outlets shut down, multiple images of major cities deserted, hippos at a gas station in South Africa, Puma’s prowling the sidewalks of Chilé and deer roaming through the streets of Nara, Jara are glaring reminders of how civilization drastically shifted with the absence of people.
One of my favorite, heart-stopping moments is with a film crew member shooting inches from a full grown leopard. Watching his eyes water from fear was poignant, but not as much as watching that same leopard make a buffet out of a poor unsuspecting deer. Streaming now on Disney Plus, The Year Earth Changed reminds us of a much needed seismic shift shocking the globe into becoming more kind, conscious and cognisant regarding a planet already being plagued with climate change and global warming. So, while we adjust to a world far from yesteryear, we can all be assured that nature’s rejuvenation shall continue providing us with a little fresh air and water along the way.