BBC wildlife star Liz Bonnin says working on nature shows gives her “ecological anxiety” because of the huge carbon footprint, as Netflix and Disney advertise a large number of documentaries.
- Major natural history series have 30 to 40 times the carbon footprint of regular television.
- Ms. Bonnin, if the shows were still morally justifiable given the state of the world
- One director said that people felt ‘disgusted’ while working on the shows.
BBC wildlife presenter Liz Bonnin said working on nature shows gives her “ecological anxiety” because of their huge carbon footprints, as Netflix and Disney+ announced a series of new documentaries.
Major natural history series have 30 to 40 times the carbon footprint of a regular hour of television due to the need to fly crews and vast amounts of equipment around the world, an event at the Royal Television Society was heard. .
Ms Bonnin, who chaired a panel of experts, questioned whether the shows were still morally justifiable when they typically had little benefit for the endangered animals they were filming.
Liz Bonnin has questioned whether major TV wildlife shows are morally justifiable due to their huge carbon footprint. She appears on the BBC’s Our Changing Planet.
Ms Bonnin, pictured with David Attenborough, said the shows generally had little benefit for the endangered animals they were filming.
Moderating a debate titled Is television overheating the planet? – which was reported in the Telegraph – she said: ‘We are trying to win hearts and minds, to get [viewers] make them fall in love with nature and make them understand the importance of the planet.
‘But at what point is it justifiable to make a big milestone? We’re doing all these shows that have some of the biggest impacts on television, but to what end if our carbon footprint is so high and if the story doesn’t lead to tangible change so those animals don’t go extinct?’
Ms Bonnin has presented a variety of BBC shows including Our Changing Planet, Our Wild Adventures and For The Love Of Britain.
Last year he revealed that he needed therapy to cope with the stress of witnessing the effects of climate change during his job.
Ms. Bonnin in Our Changing Planet, which was billed as “a unique global portrait of extraordinary change.”
Chairing a debate titled Is Television Overheating the Planet?, he said: “We are trying to win hearts and minds, to get [viewers] fall in love with nature and make them understand the importance of the planet’
Tom Mustill, a respected filmmaker who has worked with Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, also spoke at the Royal Television Society event.
He said people refused to work on wildlife programs because they felt ‘disgusted’.
There is a gold rush for these movies. [but] I think because we give ourselves a pat on the back for making everyone fall in love with nature, we give ourselves a pass in terms of our impact,” he said.
Netflix recently launched six new wildlife series: Our Universe, Our Planet II, Life In Our Planet, Our Oceans, Our Living World, and Our Water World.
Meanwhile, Sky is airing Predators, which is narrated by Tom Hardy and covers how animals, including lions and polar bears, struggle to survive in a “rapidly changing world”.
Tom Mustill, a respected filmmaker who has worked with Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, said people refused to work on wildlife shows because they felt “disgusted”.
The panel made a number of suggestions to reduce the environmental impact of television, including the use of local film crews and image sharing.
It is not the first time that nature documentaries have come under fire, as the investigation previously criticized the producers for portraying the lives of animals as ‘soap operas’.
The researchers said that nature documentaries have focused too much on drama and tension, rather than offering an accurate depiction of life in the wild.
The 2021 study said that portraying wild animals as “soap opera-style characters” in this way is “neither honest nor helpful” and can distort public understanding of issues like conservation.