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Parents' Guide to

The Year Earth Changed

By Polly Conway, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Vivid, intense docu shows wildlife changes during pandemic.

Movie NR 2021 48 minutes
The Year Earth Changed Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 8+

Just in time for Earth Day

This is a positive, inspirational and education film that we should all watch! They do a great job presenting stories from around the world of what could be if we acted to coexist with nature. It leaves you inspired and hopeful for the future.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

There are opportunities in nature where animals and people can not just coexist but thrive.

This is the first time I can remember seeing a nature film from the animal's point of view and depicted, in such a gentle way. I found this film to be funny, highly family oriented, all during the first year of covid19 lockdown. One of the segments, showed in, I think it was in India, a town of 300-400 decided to restrict an area, to prevent elephants from destroying their harvest, every year and offered the elephants their own fields and a different kind of rice which they preferred.(It grew better nearer the safety of shaded wooded areas.It worked great! I was inspired. The town made it available to neighbors in other villages. Five may be a smidge too high but it's darn close. The photography is a definite 5. Beautiful!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

We're very lucky to still have Attenborough's trademark voice to guide us through this unique time in natural and human history. Throughout The Year Earth Changed, he drops a lot of stats and numbers, but it's the images that truly tell the story; jackals in parks, hippos visiting gas stations, and a menagerie of jungle animals taking over a safari hotel's grounds. Kids will find it fun to watch as the world's animals take over spaces usually reserved for humans, and all of their journeys are beautifully filmed and narrated clearly. In one of the more arresting sequences, African jackass penguins rule the empty streets of Cape Town (and somehow even pass by the Penguino Cafe!). The stories are amazing, but there's a deeper, troubling message that repeats: animals thrive without humans around.

It's amazing to witness how quick and large the changes were for many species during lockdown, but alarming to think about the future, especially with humans' less-than-great track record. However, Attenborough wisely states that even small changes can be vital for human and wildlife coexistence, and the docu ends with scientists and city planners sharing how they plan to integrate these changes into their communities. Thanks to this extra focus on the positive, this is a great whole-family watch that can create some powerful conversations.

Movie Details

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