Nature films can do a lot of good.
They can remind us of the glorious natural world around us. They can help us put our own existence into perspective. They can even inspire us to do more to protect the environment.
But they may also be causing harm, in a variety of ways, according to this thoughtful perspective from The Atlantic.
“Nature documentaries mislead viewers into thinking that there are lots of untouched landscapes left. There aren’t.”
“By consistently presenting nature as an untouched wilderness, many nature documentaries mislead viewers into thinking that there are lots of untouched wildernesses left. I certainly thought there were, before I became an environmental journalist. This misapprehension then prompts people to build their environmental ideas around preserving untouched places and to embrace profoundly antihuman “solutions” to environmental problems”
“If the high-end documentaries are a bit like porn, then I contend that the solution to the way they might warp our expectations is the same as it is for porn—not to ban them, but to diversify them. In the case of natural-history films, we need to make more kinds of wildlife and more kinds of nature—including the nature in our cities and backyards—sexy.”
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