A Tweet from Leonardo DiCaprio: “Attenborough’s documentary puts everything into perspective, not just the way we impact our planet, but specifically the way we can solve our environmental crises. It’s an incredible journey into the science of our living planet. This may be the most comprehensive narrative yet.” — 4:43 PM · Jun 10, 2021·Twitter Web App
With its record breaking damage to the good-ole US of A, it seems that hurricane Ida and the west’s record-breaking fires have garnered more than the usual explicit concerns about global warming by our mainstream media. To learn the down-low of our environmental degradation and what to do about it, I suggest you see Jonathan Clay’s “Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet”
What’s most unique about Clay’s film is the elegance and clarity with which he treats this ongoing urgent topic. This story, our story, starts with a 10,000-year period of time on Earth called the Holocene which was characterized as a stable period of time that enabled the emergence of our modern civilizations. That stability disappeared sometime in the twentieth century when we left the Holocene, and entered the Anthropocene—the Age of Humans—the age of warming and instability.
Our well-known David Attenborough along with Swedish scientist Johan Rockström are the film’s primary hosts with additional specialists speaking throughout the film. The boundaries in the film’s title refers to the stable global systems we were living in, and which are no longer stable. These are the ‘breaking’ boundaries—the ones we don’t want to break.
The first environmental system covered in the film is the obvious one: global warming which has obviously broken its boundary for stability and entered a global period of unknown proportions of heating, and, therefore, unknown amounts of global loss and damage.
Other boundaries covered in the film are habitat loss, the presence or absence of flora and fauna, the loss of forests, loss of biodiversity, mass extinction, loss of fresh water, the flow of two crucial nutrients—nitrogen and phosphorus, ocean acidification, air pollution, and loss of the ozone layer.
Of the many environmental films I’ve seen “Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet” is the most comprehensive. One viewing of this relatively short film—one hour and 13 minutes—provides the viewer an efficient education about the environmental catastrophes we have created, and what we can do now to reverse the losses and damages. When asked ‘what is THE most important documentary I should see,’ it is now “Breaking Boundaries.”
Like a few of the documentaries I’ve covered, this one is on Netflix. I will repeat what I’ve said about crucial documentaries. If you don’t have Netflix, find a neighbor, or friend, or relation who has Netflix, and see this film.