David Attenborough’s ‘The Year Earth Changed’ Proves There Was an Upside to 2020

In 2020, the incomparable David Attenborough brought us his call to action documentary A Life On Our Planet, which urged all of humankind to take steps to reverse the catastrophic damage we have inflicted on our ecosystems. 

From single-use plastic to over-fishing and excess meat consumption, Attenborough’s film examined the ways in which we have done wrong by our planet and what the ramifications will be if we don’t take action now. 

In his latest documentary, The Year Earth Changed, the 94-year-old natural historian delivers a slightly more positive message as it explores how the global COVID-19 induced lockdown of 2020 was actually beneficial to nature. 

The silver linings of the devastating pandemic were evident in improved air quality, a decrease in toxic gas emissions, lowered levels of smog and pollution and an abundance of new animal life. In fact, in a happy development, even previously endangered species were able to increase their numbers as we stayed inside to stop the spread of the deadly disease. 

Directed by Tom Beard and narrated by Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed investigates different locations across the globe to shed some light on just how well nature can thrive when left uninterrupted. 

In a statement, Attenborough said, “The lockdown created a unique experiment that has thrown light on the impact we have on the natural world. The stories of how wildlife responded have shown that making even small changes to what we do can make a big difference.” 

The documentary serves as a timely reminder of why we absolutely must heed Attenborough’s warnings from Life On Our Planet and take stock of how a lack of human interception could be just the key to a more sustainable future. 

The Year Earth Changed runs for just 48 minutes — a small commitment for a planet we need to protect forever — and makes for perfect Earth Day 2021 viewing. 

 The Year Earth Changed is available to watch on Apple TV+.

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