Slowly but surely, I’ve been working my way through the BBC’s Planet Earth series. I tend to watch an episode while I’m on my NordicTrack elliptical cross trainer. Although it may be dreary winter outside, I can spend an hour getting my heart rate up in the jungle or on the great plains or in caves or shallow seas. Even the Arctic—though it doesn’t psychologically warm me—feels more scenic than the now–soot-ridden snow along our roadside.
One thing I love about this series is all the types of animals filmed—animals I will likely never see in my lifetime, and ones I should never see if their habitat is to have any chance of survival. Most animals have bodies that are incredibly different from mine. The way bodies have evolved to succeed in their environments fascinates me.
At its heart, of course, this series is a brutal record of who-eats-whom.
Watching Planet Earth reminds me of how alike all we animated beings are, as everything for all of us is based on three things: food, territory, and sex. When push comes to shove (and it will), this is all any of us cares about. If we claim to care about other things, it’s only because somehow these three have sorted themselves out—and likely any of those “other things” we care about has roots in one of these three.
In other words, I know that I’m an animal. And I know that you are, too.