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Over the past year, Apple’s Apple TV+ streaming service has been starting to gain steam, with big box office hits like Tom Hanks’ Greyhound, some prominent holiday specials, landmark award wins, and legendary filmmaker deals.
One of the things that still sets Apple TV+ apart from the competition, however, is Apple’s tendency to break new ground in using the streaming service as a vehicle to promote and celebrate different cultural ideas and events. Whether that’s Oprah’s Book Club and groundbreaking documentary projects, or conversations for Black History Month, Apple doesn’t seem content to just sit on the sidelines of world events. Rather, it’s determined to try to be a force for change.
As a result, Apple will be celebrating Earth Day this year with the release of a special wildlife documentary that takes a look at the events of the past year from a unique perspective. Narrated by none other than the famous David Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed is described as “love letter to the planet during the global lockdown.”
Essentially, the film takes a look at how the natural world has changed as humanity’s impact has diminished, showcasing uplifting stories of the resiliency of animal life and nature in the face of the pandemic.
During this most difficult year, many people have reappraised the value and beauty of the natural world and taken great comfort from it. But the lockdown also created a unique experiment that has thrown light on the impact we have on the natural world. The stories of how wildlife responded have shown that making even small changes to what we do can make a big difference.David Attenborough
The documentary includes exclusive footage from all over the world shot over the past year, showing how as humans hunkered down in social isolation, the environment flourished, and how many people had the opportunity to engage with nature in ways that they never had before, “from hearing birdsong in deserted cities, to witnessing whales communicating in new ways, to encountering capybaras in South American suburbs.”
Beyond simply showing the changes over the past year, the documentary also discusses what we can learn from the experience — how changes in human behaviour can positively impact nature and find “more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to co-exist.”
The Year Earth Changed is produced by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, directed by Tom Beard, and executive produced by Mike Gunton and Alice Keens-Soper. It will be premiere globally on Apple TV+ on April 16, 2021, just in time for Earth Day 2021, which is on April 22.
Also Coming for Earth Day
In addition to the headline documentary, Apple is also marking Earth Day with the debut of Season 2 of the Tiny World documentary series. Narrated and executive produced by Paul Rudd, Tiny World takes a close look at an area of nature that most of us take for granted — the ingenuity and resilience of all the smaller creatures that make up the world.
Season 2 of Tiny World will feature six more episodes, including anemone shrimp captured on film for the first time, along with fang blend fish, and Etruscan shrews.
Another original Apple series, Earth At Night In Color, will also be making its Season 2 premiere, with six new episodes narrated by Tom Hiddleston. This nature documentary offers a unique and rare look into “nature’s nocturnal wonders” showing the behaviours of animals after dark. Season 2 will feature elephants battling hyenas around starlit waterholes and kangaroos embracing under the cover of darkness to find a mate, along with pumas, polar bears, manta rays, and tiny planktonic life at night in the ocean.
To highlight these two new seasons, along with other Earth Day themed documentaries, Apple will be creating a special Apple TV+ “Earth Day room” on the streaming service. In this section, viewers will also be able to find the debut Apple TV+ documentary, The Elephant Queen, along with last year’s 50th Anniversary Earth Day special, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, narrated by Meryl Streep. All the Earth Day content will go live on April 16, 2021.