Review: ‘A Perfect Planet’ Episode 3: ‘Weather’ is what lets life thrive, at least until we change it

This week A Perfect Planet takes a look at the weather, and how its predictability is part of hat lets life thrive on earth.

This episode will make abundantly clear that weather is one of the great systems on our planet that all life depends on. Whether it’s seasonal change in more extreme areas of the globe or persistent rains in others, water distribution via weather is something all life needs, and all life has adapted to in stunning ways. Whether it’s ants that form rafts of their very bodies amid rising water levels in the rain forest or river turtles that rely on water levels dropping to expose their nesting areas in sandy riverbeds, it’s the predictability that allows the cycles of life to form and thrive.

Of course, weather patterns are changing as a result of climate change. The scenes of the river turtles in this episode end up being heartbreaking as the river rises ahead of schedule and wipes out nearly a generation of their species, an even that previously happened every few decades and now happens every few years.

The big, striking image in this episode is probably those of the Gobi Desert in China, the driest place on earth and home to the Gobi Desert Camels, an animal that used to range far and wide over Asia and now numbers only a few thousand and in this one place. It is definitely worth sticking around for the behind the scenes portion at the end of this one to see just how hard it was to track them down and get close enough to observe them in the wild.

It’s amazing how much we don’t appreciate what our impact on the climate is doing to the world, weather patterns, and life on the planet. We can see it happening all around us, but we do so little to stop it. It’s my sincere hope that series such as this one will help us see this and make changes, but I worry that it’s preaching to the choir. Still, if we can get even a few people on the right track, maybe we can at least start to turn this thing around.

Next weeks episode is all about the oceans. I’ll see you then.

Other Thoughts:

  • One shot of a frogs face in this episode is so clear you can literally see blood moving through blood vessels in its eye. Stunning.
  • No, seriously, that bit with the turtles was heartbreaking.
  • The dedication of the camera crews in these shows is astonishing.
  • Did you know that there was once a plan to transplant hippos to America? Yes, the most aggressive animal in Africa as an animal that could be ranched and solve an ongoing food shortage. You can’t make this stuff up.

A Perfect Planet Reviews:

  1. Episode One: Volcanoes
  2. Episode Two: The Sun
  3. Episode Three: Weather
  4. Episode Four: Oceans
  5. Episode Five: Humans

A Perfect Planet episode three: ‘Weather‘ premieres today, January 17th, on BBC Earth at 8 pm eastern/pacific.

Photography copyright Ed Charles / Silverback Films

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