Finally! A post where Kristina doesn’t mention vulvas!

This Christmas, our family received several thoughtful gifts from my brother and sister-in-law, the only faithful democrats in either of our families except for yours truly.  Inside of an “Obama for Peace” tote bag we unwrapped, among other things, the full DVD set of BBC’s Planet Earth.  Since we do not have cable we had missed the show – but let me tell you – we are in love with it.

In fact, Connor loves it perhaps even more than I do.  He saves up his screen time every day so he can watch an episode with the family at dinner.  Today, at the mall, he was the on the receiving end of several head turns when he asked me, “Mom, I want to play at the train table but if I do will we still have time to watch Planet Earth when we get home?”  Kid, you make me proud.

We have only two shows left to watch, but we’ve been blown away.  I cannot describe what it is like to see snow leopards on film that no one has seen for years, or crystal caves that are closed to humans forever, or a panda bear breastfeeding her young, or a polar bear close to starvation desperately trying to attack a herd of walruses for lack of its normal prey, or thousands of antelope or birds or whales in migration.  It’s all done in stunning beauty in a way that is hard to put into words.

But that’s not the real draw to the show.  The real draw is to see how big the world is, how complex, how detailed to the largest peak down to the smallest little bacterium’s elaborate world, and how all the pieces fit together perfectly.  And at the same time to contemplate how small the world really is, how close each species is to each other, and how easily the whole big, beautiful thing can be thrown out of whack by one species – namely, us.

With the voice of David Attenborough as our guide, our family of four has traverssed deserts together, dove to the bottom of oceans, flown over the tallest mountains, and looked over the world from the tops of rainforest trees all from our sofa.  Now we are on the last disk – where we contemplate the future of species, environments and what we can do about it.

I can’t help but think though, that the conservationalists have it a bit backward.  (Bear with me – you all know I’m an environmentalist.)

Instead of enforcing and micromanaging and preserving individual species at all costs – is there another way?  What about evolution?

What about just leaving existing habitats alone?  Really, truly alone?  Even the unglamorous ones?  And letting Darwin’s principles figure it all out?

Humans are destroying the earth and the habitats of plants and animals.  But what if we cut back – way back – on our energy use, on building roads through every available habitat, on cutting down trees for building a newer shinier planned community in previously undeveloped land.  Do we have enough faith in evolution and our planet’s natural balance to let it balance itself?  Then we wouldn’t have to be micromanaging the lives of each and every ivory-billed woodpecker, or having to cull some trees and plant others to manage forest health.

What if we put a moratorium on building where there were no buildings?   What if our national forests were no longer just a fancy name for tree farms, measured by the board-foot?  What if we just let what lives, live?

We’ve proven time and time again that humans do not excel at managing the environment.  What if we stopped?

Instead, what if we just learned how to manage – us?

I don’t know the answer – I just know that something has to be done to preserve our planet.  And what we are doing now – thinking that we can manage better than evolution – is just not working.

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2 Responses to “Finally! A post where Kristina doesn’t mention vulvas!”


  1. 1 Phil February 14, 2008 at 10:04 am

    We’ve just started watching Planet Earth on DVD. This is why I love our HDTV. It looks so incredible on that big screen. Many of these places, we’ll probably never get to in person. But at least we’re aware of how amazing our planet is.

  2. 2 Michelle Dunn February 15, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Thats a truly wonderful show, and it just gets so much better when its on a good quality DVD. This earth really is an amazing place! Now if we could just keep from destroying it!

    Trying To Have a Baby – A Mother’s Story


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