Earth Day really began in the early 1960s, thanks to scientists, academics, activists and writers showing the connectivity of pesticides in the environment to specific cancers and other diseases. And as time progressed, the anti-war movement in the 1960s and '70s fueled more talk about how our planet was suffering from a disposable economy and careless mindset, especially from increased single-use plastic containers.
The grass-roots activists came together, and the first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, In New York. All over America, an awakening of many people concerned about the rivers, lakes and oceans, including what was used to grow our foods, coalesced to call attention to our precious planet. Today, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide. And on television, you can find amazing programs that will take you all over the globe to reveal how humanity and nature exist, endures and must adapt.
The Idaho Press recommends:
Secrets of the Elephants
National Geographic / Disney+
Premieres with two back-to-back episodes Friday at 9/8C on National Geographic
All episodes available to stream April 22 on Disney+
Elephants are loving and wise, but we are only starting to unlock their deepest secrets. The ground-breaking, award-winning natural history franchise "Secrets of" returns with "Secrets of the Elephants." From Academy Award-winning filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large James Cameron, this series travels the world — from the savannas of Africa to the urban landscapes of Asia — as we go on epic journeys and discover the complex emotions and sophisticated thinking and even language of elephants, shaping a unique and dynamic culture.
Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman. National Geographic Explorer and cinematographer Bob Poole, who grew up in Kenya, spent a lot of time around wildlife and now calls Idaho home. His career began as a teenager while working on a film about elephants for National Geographic.
AppleTV+ also has Earth Day covered and is loaded with eye-popping and award-winning original shows with stories about our extraordinary planet told for every age.
New programming includes “Jane,” a mission-driven series inspired by the work of renowned ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall; an Earth Day special for the celebrated animated series “Sago Mini Friends”; new docuseries “Big Beasts,” narrated by Tom Hiddleston, featuring the most massive species on earth; and new kids and family series “Frog and Toad,” based on the beloved Caldecott and Newbery Award-winning books.
The Idaho Press also picks:
Premiere date: Friday
From the Apple TV+ award-winning docuseries team who made “Tiny World” comes “Big Beasts.” Filmed over two years, circle the globe, from freezing poles to tropical rainforests, to meet nature’s most interesting giants.
“Big Beasts” is narrated by Tom Hiddleston and covers filmed moments from 17 countries, including the gray whale, elephant seal, giant otter, gorilla, hippo, brown bear, ostrich, orangutan, tiger and polar bear. Being big in nature is not easy. Often times they face greater challenges. This series captures rare and first-ever footage using specialized equipment and next-generation filming techniques. Trailer:youtube.com/watch?v=j51ZxCP1_dI
“Frog and Toad”
Premiere date: April 28
This animated kids and family series is based on the beloved Caldecott and Newbery Award-winning four-book series by Arnold Lobel. Frog is a frog. Toad is a toad. They are different, and the same often time; Frog and Toad are best friends who embrace the things that make you different. Since our differences are what makes us special, Frog and Toad celebrate their unique bonds.
The talented voice cast includes Academy Award winner Nat Faxon and Emmy Award nominee Kevin Michael Richardson as Frog and Toad, as well as appearances by Ron Funches, Fortune Feimster Cole Escola, Aparna Nancherla, John Hodgman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Stephen Tobolowsky, Tom Kenny, Selene Luna, Margaret Cho and Betsy Sodaro.
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“The Elephant Queen”
“The Elephant Queen” is a genre-crossing wildlife documentary that is character-driven. Its enduring theme of authenticity is from filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone’s 60 years of collective experience in the tradition of wildlife documentary filmmaking and production. Deeble and Stone, who are Emmy and Peabody Award winners, spent 25 years living in the East African bush, preparing them for the unforgettable odyssey of “The Elephant Queen.”
The Elephant Queen is Athena, a majestic elephant matriarch who leads her family across unforgiving, cinematic natural landscapes. From a toenail height perspective, the elephants share their home with a cast of supporting character species who provide texture and richness to the elephants’ ecosystem. Athena, as leader of her herd, anticipates the coming dry season and knows there are lean times ahead. As the water holes dry up, she has no choice but to take her family on a treacherous journey.
“Earth at Night in Color”
A landmark natural history series narrated by Tom Hiddleston, “Earth At Night In Color” uses next-generation cameras to reveal the nocturnal lives of animals, in color, for the first time ever. Filmed across six continents, from the Arctic Circle to the African grasslands, this pioneering series follows the moonlit dramas of animals at night, revealing new insights and never-before-seen behaviors. “Earth At Night In Color” is produced by Offspring Films. The series is executive produced by Alex Williamson and Isla Robertson, and produced by Sam Hodgson.
From executive producers Jon Favreau and Tim Gunton, BBC Studios Natural History Unit (“Planet Earth”), and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, “Prehistoric Planet” transports viewers 66 million years in the past to discover our world — and the dinosaurs that roamed it — all in stunning detail and set to an original score by multiple Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. The groundbreaking series combines award-winning wildlife filmmaking, the latest paleontological learning and state-of-the-art technology to unveil prehistoric Earth's spectacular habitats and inhabitants for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience.
“Stillwater” — Earth Day special
In “One Drop Makes an Ocean,” Stillwater shows the kids his worm farm and other things he does to live green, which inspires them to come up with more ways to help Earth.
Peabody and Daytime Emmy Award-winning series “Stillwater” centers on siblings Karl, Addy and Michael, who encounter everyday challenges — big and small — which sometimes feel insurmountable. Fortunately for these three, they have Stillwater, a wise panda, as their next-door neighbor. Through his example, stories and gentle humor, Stillwater gives the children a deeper understanding of their feelings and tools to help them face their daily challenges.
Narrated by Paul Rudd, “Tiny World” explores the ingenuity and resilience of the smallest animals on the planet. Brand new camera technology allows us, for the first time, to see the world through the eyes of the tiniest creatures and witness the extraordinary things they do to survive.
“Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth”
“Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth” is based on the New York Times bestselling and TIME Best Book of the Year by Oliver Jeffers. The animated short film features a notable voice cast including Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning Meryl Streep, Emmy Award-winning and BAFTA-nominated Chris O'Dowd, SAG Award nominee and Critics’ Choice Award-winning Jacob Tremblay and Oscar nominee Ruth Negga.
This animated family film follows a precocious 7-year-old (voiced by Tremblay) who learns about the wonders of the planet from his parents (voiced by O’Dowd and Negga) — and from a mysterious exhibit at the aptly titled Museum of Everything. Meryl Streep narrates.
“The Year Earth Changed”
Showcasing footage from around the world after an unprecedented year, “The Year Earth Changed” takes a new approach to the global lockdown and its stories. From hearing birdsong in deserted cities and seeing whales in Glacier Bay to meeting capybaras in suburbs across South America, people worldwide have had the chance to engage with nature like never before. In this documentary special, viewers will see how the smallest changes in human behavior — reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, and identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to coexist — can profoundly impact nature. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, is a love letter to planet Earth.