It should probably be no surprise to find that the natural world is often at its best when humanity simply leaves it to its own devices, but rarely do we have a chance to illustrate that particular point on a massive scale. The past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has done exactly that—with humanity confined indoors during large periods of the year, and less likely to travel and engage in various activities that encroach on the natural world, we’ve seen animals and plants thrive in a way that hasn’t been witnessed in recent memory. Apple TV+’s new documentary The Year Earth Changed documents some of the remarkable sights observed during this period, narrated by none other than the incomparable David Attenborough, the voice of countless other nature documentaries such as Netflix’s Our Planet. You can see the first trailer below for the film, which appropriately hits Apple TV+ on Earth Day, April 16, 2021.
The Year Earth Changed was produced by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, and is filled with haunting footage of animals from deer to leopards prowling abandoned city streets, looking like scenes from a post-apocalyptic blockbuster. But the point of the documentary isn’t a eulogy for a lost year—rather, it’s an examination of how even a far more subtle hands-off approach from humanity can lead to the repair of our natural world. As the documentary describes it:
Narrated by David Attenborough, this timely documentary special takes a look at nature’s extraordinary response to a year of global lockdown. This love letter to planet Earth will take you from hearing birdsong in deserted cities for the first time in decades, to witnessing whales communicating in ways never before seen. This Earth Day, find out how changes in human behavior—reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to co-exist—can have a profound impact on nature and give us hope for the future.
Check out the full trailer for The Year Earth Changed below.