The theme for Earth Day 2023, “invest in the planet”, highlights the importance of dedicating our time, resources, and energy to combatting climate change and other pressing environmental issues.
One way to do so is by investing in our eco-literacy, which is crucial to understanding the natural world around us and the interconnectedness of all life on earth. It enables us to become better equipped to address the challenges facing our planet and take meaningful action to protect it.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with three recently released conservation documentaries and one series featuring stunning visuals, poignant narratives, remarkable achievements in conservation—and even a love story—to help you get to know our one-of-a-kind planet a little better
Path of the Panther
The Florida panther is battling for survival, and National Geographic’s Path of the Panther project documents this battle in stunning detail. In the 1970s, habitat destruction and widespread eradication reduced Florida panther populations to a few dozen individuals. As urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation reduced their native range, they also suffered the negative consequences of inbreeding and limited gene flow. While this iconic species is still endangered, their numbers have grown thanks to the dedication of conservationists, ranchers, veterinarians, and indigenous people fighting to protect panther habitat.
The documentary inspired crucial support for the recent passing of the Wildlife Corridor Act, the first legislation of its kind to tackle habitat fragmentation and global species extinction. Produced by five years of research, fieldwork, and filming, this film immerses viewers in a panther’s world and gives a first-hand look at why these big cats are worth protecting. Path of the Panther will air on National Geographic on April 22nd at 10:50 PM, April 23rd on Hulu, and April 28th on Disney+.
Kris and Doug Tompkins got the memo about investing in the planet long before Earth Day 2023. Wild Life tells the story of how these outdoor brand pioneers (Patagonia and The North Face) used their success to preserve massive swathes of land in Chile and Argentina. Thanks to their generosity, these lands were ultimately designated as National Parks and protected from actions that plague South America’s natural spaces: mining, logging, and agricultural clear-cutting. Driven by their desire to keep wild places on the map, the husband-and-wife duo make an inspiring shift from business to environmental philanthropy. These efforts come at a time when they’re desperately needed; between 2010 and 2020, South America lost an average of 2.6 million hectares of forest per year. This inspiring National Geographic documentary feels like a love letter—not just from Kris and Doug to each other, but from two conservationists to the Earth. Wild Life is now playing in select theaters across the U.S.
Love, family, politics, and power struggles—our closest relatives lead lives that aren’t all that different from our own. Narrated by Mahershala Ali, Chimp Empire takes an intimate look at daily life in the largest chimpanzee tribe ever discovered. Filmed in Uganda’s Ngogo Forest, this four-part series chronicles the intricate and sophisticated relationships of chimps as they build family bonds, defend their territory, and fight for influence.
As seed dispersers, chimpanzees shape Africa’s forests and play an irreplaceable ecological role. Their populations are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and poaching, and without dedicated conservation efforts these highly social animals face a questionable future. Chimp Empire highlights the complexity and intelligence of our great ape cousins and makes the case for their protection. Catch it on Netflix now.
Changing Planet inspires viewers with stories of resilience in the face of adversity. This PBS series documents the impacts of climate change all over the world, as well as how people and the planet are fighting back. While the show sheds light on a long list of environmental problems across the globe, it doesn’t dwell on the negatives; it also highlights solutions. Scientists in Australia are working to maintain carbon-rich mangrove forests. Indigenous groups in California rely on beavers to protect against megafires. Ecologists in the Maldives study the heartbeat of a healthy coral reef.
The series paints a picture of the complexity of climate change, and how different regions face their own unique challenges. It also paints a picture of a planet determined to survive. Find out where to watch here.
Keep up the Earth Day momentum all year
Earth Day 2023 marks an exceptional occasion to engage, learn, and be inspired by the magnificent stories of our planet and the incredible individuals dedicated to protecting its precious ecosystems. But it doesn’t have to stop here. Discover and commit to small tweaks you can make to your daily routine to lower your emissions, reduce waste, and help save the planet upon which ALL life depends. Visit TheEnvironmentExcuse.org to get started.
Stay in touch and get the latest WildAid updates.SIGN UP
WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
Journalists on deadline may email firstname.lastname@example.org