Warming to "Earth" — Disney's cinematic lesson about climate change
Anyone still skeptical of global warming, both as a scientific phenomenon and one in need of human solutions, ought to see "Earth." The Disney movie is for children, but given the rhetoric over global warming, it's age-appropriate for everyone.
I TOOK my 8-year-old son to see "Earth," the cinematic version of the Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" series so he could grasp the threat of global warming even as many adults appear to struggle with the concept.
He did. "Earth" used stunning visuals, adorable animals and poignant narration in the rich baritone of actor James Earl Jones to show my son what his generation must fight for. The phrase "global warming" is never uttered but the link between the warming of the air we breath and the perilous plight of polar bears and other animals is clear, as is the rigorous science behind it.
A polar bear dad, unable to hunt for seals because of melting ice, is forced to attack sea lions armed with razor-sharp teeth. A herd of elephants staggered through the parched African plains in search of water once plentiful.
Nature's circle of life is vicious. But humans add a dose of cruelty by using Earth's resources without giving back.
The movie didn't follow each catastrophe to its grisly end but it showed enough of climate change's impact on the wild to make my son ask me later, "How can we help?"
Disney pledged to plant a tree in the Brazilian rain forest for every ticket sold last week. Disney ought to be held to its promise.
My agenda was education. Kids learn best when the lesson comes to them and not the other way around. My son doesn't care about the political debates between politicians, some who deny global warming; he cares even less about those arguing over greenhouse-gas levels. He's interested in saving the beautiful species he watched cavorting across the screen. He's willing to start small.
— Lynne K. Varner
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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