On-Air Highlights

Nature as never before: PBS announces 'Earth - A New Wild'

Written by witf | Jan 21, 2014 6:41 AM
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PBS recently announced an ambitious new five-part series that shows nature as we almost never see it on television. EARTH — A NEW WILD takes a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the planet’s wildest places and most fascinating species. The series is scheduled to air in 2015 on PBS.

Produced by National Geographic Television in association with Passion Planet, the series is hosted by Dr. M. Sanjayan, leading conservation scientist, who takes viewers on a stunning visual journey to explore how humans are inextricably woven into every aspect of the planet’s natural systems. With 45 shoots to 29 different countries, the series features spectacular natural history footage from the most striking places on Earth, filming encounters between wild animals and the people who live and work with them. With up-close looks at a range of species, from giant pandas to humpback whales and African lions to Arctic reindeer, Sanjayan reveals that co-habitations with animals can work — and be mutually beneficial.

“Earth has entered a new epoch and we are now living on a planet where our impacts are felt everywhere,” says Sanjayan, an expert in conservation and wildlife ecology who has worked with The Nature Conservancy on significant conservation efforts across the globe. “This series is a first for nature films; it turns the camera around and acknowledges that spectacular nature doesn’t exist in isolation, that humans are part of the picture. In this way, we show viewers not only stunning, never-before-seen natural history, but also discover extraordinary stories that challenge the very notion that humans are separate from nature, and how, in the new wild, humans and wildlife can — and must — thrive together.”

Episodes of EARTH — A NEW WILD include:

HOME – This episode examines the relationship between humans and large animals on a 21st-century planet and asks if wild nature can still survive in what scientists now acknowledge is a new age for the planet — the Age of Man. Sequences include chimpanzees with Jane Goodall in Tanzania; man-eating tigers in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh; Giant panda in the highlands of China; and a segment that envisions what New York City would look like if nature took over completely.

PLAINS – From the African plains to the American Midwest, this episode explores wild grasslands — home to the greatest gathering places of animal life on the planet, yet among the most endangered places on Earth – requiring hoofs and jaws to thrive. The program introduces Alan Savory and film sequences including elephant conservation in South Africa; the first filmed shots of rutting Saiga antelope in Russia; Norwegian locals regulating the reindeer population in unique ways; and how Americans are saving the country’s most-endangered mammal.

FORESTS – Sanjayan travels deep into the western most Amazon to a place scientists believe may be the most bio-diverse on earth, still holding the secrets of un-contacted tribes. From here, he reveals a new understanding about humans’ relationship with the forests of the world. Sequences include the first filmed scientific trip to Ecuador’s Intangible Zone; unique behavior, filmed for the first time, of wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia; eagles and Iberian lynx in the cork forests of Europe, and frightening elephant battles in the forests of Indonesia.

OCEANS – This episode introduces Jeremy Jackson, whose seminal paper “The Rise of Slime” dramatically changed the way scientists look at our relationship with the Earth’s oceans. Sequences include a mass gathering of fearsome ocean predators at the most pristine coral atoll on earth; a shark birth and migrations off the coast of Florida; coral gardeners in Australia; and futuristic offshore fish farms in Mexico.

WATER – Sanjayan explores humankind’s relationship with the Earth’s most important resource, unraveling dramatic connections between the pulse of fresh water and the health of the planet. In North America, an epic kayak journey charting the flow of the once-mighty Colorado River ends in an unlikely ray of hope. Sequences include: the singing wells of Kenya; the connection between AIDS and a small fish in Lake Malawi; a clandestine visit to the biggest environmental disaster on the planet; and a look at how hunters in America saved one of the greatest gatherings of birds on the continent.

EARTH — A NEW WILD uses advanced filming techniques to provide visuals as stunning as the best natural history programs. Distinguishing itself from nearly all other nature films, however, the series turns the cameras around, showing the world as it really is —with humans in the picture.

“PBS viewers love programs that explore our planet in new and intriguing ways, and EARTH — A NEW WILD takes this idea to an exciting new level,” says PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager Beth Hoppe. “This series is an amazing view of us and our natural surroundings as never seen before.”

In collaboration with PBS, The Nature Conservancy will be a promotion and outreach partner for the series, extending the reach and impact of EARTH — A NEW WILD. The Conservancy will create a digital companion site to the series, which will offer web content with online community and interactivity integrated throughout. The goal of the site is to build and engage an audience around the series content with additional content and online features during the episodes’ live dates, which will continue after the run of the series.

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