The Thin Line Between Life & Death
North America is where we begin episode 6 of Seven Worlds One Planet and it’s the one continent that changes more than any other. From the Northern tips of Canada down to the borders of Mexico, North America is a beautiful region of diversity and as we soon learn across this hour of natural history, it’s also one with plenty of surprises.
After an opening segment featuring Lynx in the snow-covered bleakness of Canada, we head downstream in the Spring to see a humorous segment involving river chub. This leads in nicely to Black Bears where we follow a family scrounging for food down by the shoreline until making a hasty retreat from a large male. All of this keeps up the somewhat lighthearted tone running throughout the episode before a breathtaking display in the ensuing darkness of the forests. This amazing luminescence from fireflies is hijacked by spiders, who use it to their advantage and catch more prey.
After seeing an interesting segment involving prairie dogs and American badgers, the ancient road runner in the desert hunts for prey. It can run up to 20mph too and seeing this infamous creature darting through the desert only reinforces the humour running throughout the episode.
In Florida meanwhile, the warm springs rise allowing manatees to flock and migrate here during the winter months. Unfortunately humanity have threatened this migration thanks to propeller blades on boats ripping into their skin. The scars are plain to see too and it only further reinforces our impact on the planet. Up North in Canada though, polar bears find ingenious ways to catch their new prey – beluga whales. It’s an amazing technique and a game of patience; one that’s explored further and in more detail during the usual “on location” segment.
Given the emphasis on humanity’s impact on the environment and our changing planet this season, especially during the Asia episode, I’m a little surprised the episode doesn’t dive deeper into the issues North America has that affects the world. From mass farming and rising c02 emissions, through to the US exiting the Paris Climate Agreement, there’s a distinct lack of scrutiny toward this region which is a little disappointing. When you compare this week’s episode to the first two, there is a stark difference in tone and given the majority of the episode keeps up a lighthearted tone, I wish we would have seen a lot more of the issues affecting this region beyond the manatees and twisters.
Still, despite these gripes Seven Worlds One Planet continues to deliver the goods with another strong episode. While it may not be the best of the series, there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable watch nonetheless and with Africa to come next week, the ending to this series should end with another strong showing.