The world will celebrate Earth Day on April 22, but the entire month of April is a time to reflect and act on ways to preserve our planet. Numerous events and initiatives are taking place worldwide to raise awareness about climate change, sustainability efforts, and the natural wonders of the Earth. This is also a time when TV networks use their airways and influence to inform and educate audiences and encourage them to take action to protect the environment and the planet’s greatest treasures. This month, viewers can look forward to a host of powerful new documentaries focused on the environment and the natural world. And there’s no better time for you—and your family—to get up to speed. So, what should you be watching this month to prepare for Earth Day? Let’s take a look.
Voyage to the extremes of the Earth
Since 1985, National Geographic’s Explorer has been regaling us with its explorations of the natural world, becoming in the process the longest-running documentary series on cable television. Now, the series is headed where it’s never gone before – to the extremes of the Earth, both above and below. In “The Last Tepui,” world-renowned climber Alex Honnold will accompany biologist Bruce Means to the top of a Guyanese tepui, or table-top mesa, a 1,300-foot wall of sheer rock. The risky quest seeks to prove that the tepuis are hosts to a wide variety of undiscovered species that must be protected. Then, in “The Deepest Cave,” Dr. Bill Stone will lead an expedition to the bottom of the Cheve Cave, some 8,000 feet below Mexico’s Sierra Juárez Mountains – a three-month journey that is akin to climbing Everest in reverse. Both series will awaken our senses to the marvels of a planet that never ceases to amaze.
Get back to the farm
In 2018, the documentary The Biggest Little Farm told the story of Molly and John Chester, who left Los Angeles behind to buy an 81-acre farm in nearby Ventura County. The film, which captivated audiences and swept through film festivals, followed the Chesters in their titanic efforts to turn the arid terrain into a successful farm and biodiverse habitat. And coming in April, this new 30-minute special The Biggest Little Farm: The Return will provide us with a welcome update on how things are going on Apricot Lane Farms, allowing us to renew our relationships with Emma the pig, the gopher-eating egret Georgie, and Moe the lamb who thinks he’s a dog. Premieres April 22nd on Disney+.
Learn about mothering, Arctic-style
As polar bear habitats are coming under increasing threat by climate change, a new documentary seeks to tell the story from their point of view. Polar Bear, also premiering on April 22nd on Disney+, follows a new mother bear, tracing memories of her youth as she prepares to provide for her cub in an ever-more challenging world. Narrated by Academy-Award nominee Catherine Keener and with the directing talent of the team that brought us Disneynature’s Penguins, this breathtaking film will take us out of our human-centered perspective and let the bears tell their story.
Imagine a better future—with technology
Climate news can feel very gloom-and-doom, but the documentary 2040 takes a different approach: it imagines a future where climate change has been solved. This “exercise in fact-based dreaming” is the brainchild of Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau, and is structured as a letter to his daughter Velvet about the world he hopes she will inhabit. Along the way, Gameau explores the technologies that have the greatest potential to help reverse climate change, including solar energy, renewable agriculture, urban redesign, seaweed ecosystems, and more. The result? A much-needed dose of optimism designed to spur us to take positive action.
By appreciating the wonders of our planet and the dangers it faces, we can all do our part to ensure it remains intact and healthy for future generations. To find out more about our work to bring broadband to rural areas, allowing farms, sustainable local businesses, and educational and conservation programs to harness the power of the internet to advance their efforts, click here.