“When Everything Moves Everywhere, What Will Survive?”
National Geographic’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth” captures the intensity, immediacy, and growing problems that are stemming from the spread of invasive species. With visual stimuli, harsh realities of destroyed environments presented, and the impact that individual actions can have to help this growing problem, this film effectively draws in the audience and forces us to face the seriousness of this epidemic. James Carlton emphasizes this by saying, “If we change our lenses a little, you can start to see the drastic changes of our world.”
The film highlights that plants and animals are being found in areas that they once were not found. In fact, over ninety-nine percent of marine life in the San Francisco bay area originated from another place in the world. The cause of this problem correlates with the acceleration of transportation, and with that, a surplus of invasive species that are contributing to “extinction on an epic scale” (National Geographic).
From red fire ants in America to the Brown Tree snake in Guam, invasive species are clearly identified in most parts of the world. While some may not be initially harmful, others threaten ecosystems and pose serious health issues. For example, an invasive termite invaded the New Orleans area, destroying homes, structures, and overall communities in its path. Crates made of local wood were sent to New Orleans at the end of the Vietnam War, and it soon became evident that the wood was responsible for carrying terminates across waters to their new home. The heat and surplus of wood, along with the fact that native termites prefer to live underground rather than above ground, are among the few reasons for the drastic incline and infestation.
As a result of these examples, I began to recognize and respect the magnitude of this problem. The movie ended by asking the audience to think about what will survive when everything moves everywhere. This idea is both shocking and disturbing. The more occurrences of invasive species taking over habitats, the less likely are native plants to survive. Our world is slowly becoming less and less diverse. And with constant changes of climate, technology, and society, we are putting our environment and ourselves at larger risks of disease and undesired consequences. I enjoyed this film because it not only thoroughly discussed invasive species, but it also brought in a personal appeal to the individual and the effects that our progression and actions have on our world.
I completely agree. It was interesting to hear the discussion in the film about how, assuming the entire world was comprised of a single continent, said continent would be able to support significantly less species than the current state of things. Both individual action and large-scale government action is required to ensure that the species that would have “lost” in a single-continent struggle for existence continue to thrive in their rightful environment.
Another thing that really struck me was the imagery of the WW2 soldiers returning with termite infested wooden crates. Its strange to think that something that started out as a small detail can have such serious consequences on our environment and well being.