EARTH A New Wild is hosted by conservation scientist M. Sanjayan, who argues that conservation should be about finding a balance between people and nature.
For years the prevailing attitude towards conservation was that it was a question of people versus nature, but Sanjayan takes viewers to 29 different countries, showing them how living in harmony with nature can lead to greater productivity. Brian Clark Howard of National Geographic spoke to David Allen, executive producer of the series.
Bringing nature back into our consciousness
One important point throughout the series is the idea that people and nature should be reconnected by changing our attitudes towards wilderness; we should no longer think of nature and people as separate.
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One example of this changing attitude is the segment in which viewers are shown how New York City officials are implementing a conservation strategy of regenerating their bay using oysters, bringing nature right into the heart of a metropolis, not romanticizing it as something which exists elsewhere.
Another theme throughout the series is the idea that nature and human activity can in fact be mutually beneficial. For example a farmer who gives up some of his arable land to plant a forest actually sees an increase in productivity.
Working in conjunction with nature
Another controversial conservation theory suggests that the presence of predators increases the productivity of ranches, with ranch animals that are herded regularly encouraging grasslands to grow. This idea is just another way in which the documentary illustrates how we can harness the power of nature in order to improve human activities.
As well as improving productivity, we can also help to maintain nature with seemingly small but well-targeted actions. One example is the growth of a lion population which lives alongside the Maasai in Kenya, which goes to show that the relationship works both ways.
For those of you interested in seeing the documentary for yourself, EARTH A New Wild will be on air on PBS on Wednesdays throughout February in the U.S., and international viewers will be able to catch it on Nat Geo Wild.