With some of my birthday money I decided to purchase the documentary series Planet Earth, which I had heard good things about. And I am so glad that I did!

If any of you are looking for an educational alternative to junky reality t.v., this is most definitely it! Planet Earth is an 11 part documentary mini-series produced by the BBC. In the US, it is being marketed by Discovery Channel (and I believe the US version also has a different narrator). The series was over 5 years in the making and the 11 episodes document some of the most amazing terrain and animals on our planet.

I am astounded by the incredible footage that these super-talented film crews have been able to capture. One of the most interesting features of the DVD is that each episode also includes a “diary” segment documenting the efforts of the crews to film some of the planet’s most remote areas and elusive species.

I really can’t say enough about the educational value of this series. I have always considered myself decently knowledgeable about the planet…but after the series I think I have learned more in 11 hours than I did during my entire high school geography and science career!

The series does a fantastic job at portraying the astonishing extremes of climate and landscape that exist on earth as well as the unbelievable diversity of species that live in these harsh and unforgiving circumstances. It is giving me a whole new appreciation for what we stand to lose if we don’t start looking after our environment soon.

A few of my favourite tidbits of newly acquired knowledge:

  • the world’s only fresh water seals live in the world’s largest fresh water lake in the heart of Siberia
  • there is a dessert in South America that sustains life only because of daily fogs that role in off the pacific and provide fresh water for the species that live there
  • wild camels in the Gobi dessert in Mongolia survive by eating small amounts of snow
  • there are species so rare that they are only found in one cave system in Borneo
  • there is a cave dwelling type of salamander, which after millions of years of never being exposed to day light, no longer has eyes!
  • to this day, we have no knowledge of where blue whales (the largest mammals ever to live on earth!!) go to mate and birth their young
  • mama animals of many kinds (whales, bears and sea turtles to name a few) often go without food for months on end so that they can rear their young in areas safe from predators

For any of my local readers…let me know if you are interested in watching the series – I would be happy to lend it to you. For those of you at a greater distance, I highly encourage you to find out when the series is playing on the Discovery Channel or borrow it from your local library. I guarantee you will learn something new in every episode and I can’t imagine anyone not being impressed by the spectacular film footage of our amazing planet. It’s a fabulous reminder of how old our planet is and how careful we need to be to ensure we don’t destroy it.  I’m still in the process of watching the last few segments which focus on how humans are impacting the planet and what me may be able to do to curb the destruction, so I’ll be sure to post my comments on those episodes when I’m finished!

In the meantime, I’m headed down Island for two days to visit my high school pal Rachel and her little boy Carter and then to see my dear friend Laura and her hubby Peng Fei (who haven’t met Nate yet!).  I’m really looking forward to a few days of visiting and hoping beyond hope that Nate will do ok in the car.  We haven’t done much road-tripping and what little we have done has always been with Daddy and Turner along as well.  So keep your fingers crossed that my first solo weekend away with my little man goes smoothly!

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