Netflix's “Our Planet” and that Walrus Scene

This time, it’s uncomfortable. David Attenborough pulls off yet another incredible nature documentary - but beyond the 'wilderness porn', we're finally being shown what we need to see.

Netflix's “Our Planet” and that Walrus Scene

There have been complaints. The producers of Our Planet have been forced to defend themselves. Netflix have subsequently shared time-codes, so that viewers know exactly when to look away.

As you make your way through @OurPlanet, here are some moments animal lovers may want to skip:

— Netflix US (@netflix) April 10, 2019

But this was something that had to be included in the final edit. We cannot hide from the effect we’re having on our planet any longer.

Courtesy of Netflix

WARNING: You might find the below behind the scenes footage distressing, but we encourage you to watch it.


According to David Attenborough’s narration, these gigantic animals are forced to summit an 80-metre cliff out of total desperation. With sea ice in decline, their natural habitat has disappeared, the beaches are overly crowded, and they have nowhere else to go to simply rest.

Once rested, the walruses need to get moving in search of food. And the horror begins. Having put themselves in a precarious position, the walruses attempt their descent, and it doesn’t take long before they tumble to their deaths.

Courtesy of Netflix

Climbing on to rocky, steep cliffs is not what walruses would naturally do, given a choice. It's what they must do to survive. It’s a shocking illustration of the effects of global warming. As Sophie Lanfear, the wildlife documentary producer and director behind the episode, said, “This is the sad reality of climate change. They’d be on the ice if they could.”

For a long time, documentaries have shared beautiful images of wild nature, and perhaps painted a picture of the world that is misleading. Their beautiful images have told us, "wild nature still exists, out there, beyond humanity's touch, and it is there forever". But that is not so. The earth is at threat. And thus, beautiful images are no longer helpful. We instead need to understand the damage that is being done.

It is not just TV documentaries. Most of us are guilty are creating and sharing images of this 'Wilderness Porn' on social networks such as Instagram, painting selective, false and unreal pictures of today's harsh reality. You can read The Outdoor Journal's Wilderness Porn article by clicking the image below.

Courtesy of Netflix

The New York Times ran with an article that read "A Netflix Nature Series Says to Viewers: Don’t Like What You See? Do Something About It". It's an imperative point to make, and organisations such as WWF have tried to harness the increased awareness to achieve exactly that. The Outdoor Journal also recently published Three Things Everyone Can Do to Fight Climate Change Right Now, in addition to 5 petition that you should sign today.

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