Once again Earth Day is upon us and, once again, Disneynature chooses to honor the occasion with the release of a nature documentary, the Bears movie. While Earth Day activities like watching the Disneynature Bears movie are one way to mark the occasion and celebrate Mother Nature, on what is basically her worldwide holiday, do these anthropomorphized tales of animals actually increase interest and research on Earth Day and the environment? And what are some other ways to celebrate Mother Nature?
Earth Day via Bears movie
If you prefer to experience Mother Nature indoors, then the Bears movie from Disneynature may be right for you. The nature documentary tells of a new mother bear and her two cubs.
The film follows Disneynature’s proven method found in other Earth Day films such as Chimpanzee and African Cats—where animals are represented as human-like, with names and feelings, all couched in educational information and gorgeous imagery.
Sandie Angulo Chen offered her take in “‘Bears’ movie review: A real-life struggle to survive” in the April 17, 2014, Washington Post. She described the film as “more reality show than peer-reviewed research.” She also notes that the film doesn’t go into the detail that previous nature documentaries have from Disneynature about the animals’ lives. For that, she suggests people “take advantage of the film’s extensive interactive guides and activity sheets online.”
Mother Nature uncovered
But do movies like the ones created by Disneynature do a disservice to Earth Day and Mother Nature? Danny Heitman wrote “Why We’re Disappointed with Nature” in the February 8, 2008, issue of The Christian Science Monitor to look at that question.
Citing a study from The Nature Conservancy that indicated people around the world weren’t spending as much time outdoors, Heitman discussed that to get people more interested in nature, it has to be acknowledged that nature is often boring. Time-lapse videos in TV and films have conditioned us to expect the natural world to move quickly, with a compelling narrative. But this is not always the case. Heitman wrote, “nature isn’t an amusement ride of guaranteed spectacles. It operates on its own schedule, answering impulses that usually have little to do with our personal agendas and desires.”
Other Earth Day activities
Already seen the Bears movie? Or are you simply looking for other ways to honor Mother Nature on Earth Day? Ann-Marie Alcántara posted “From Selfies to Thunderclaps: 7 Ways to Pump Up Your Earth Day Celebrations” on Mashable April 18, 2014, with some suggestions.
First some facts. Earth Day began in 1970 on April 22. Since its inception over 40 years ago, some one billion people in 190 countries now celebrate Earth Day with any number of outdoor activities or action events.
Here are Alcántara’s suggestions for Earth Day activities to honor Mother Nature this year:
1. NASA’s Global Selfie—NASA is asking people to take photos of themselves outdoors, share them with the hashtag #GlobalSelfie and NASA will reassemble them into a mosaic of the iconic “Blue Marble” Earth photo.
2. National Park Week—Enjoy two free entrance days on April 19 and April 20 at all of the nation’s national parks. The celebration runs from April 19 to April 27.
3. Get Out Photo—The Sierra Club is also asking people to submit photos of their favorite way to get outdoors to win a Grand Canyon Trip.
4. Nature Selfie—Can’t get enough of the selfie? Tag your nature photo with #SelfiesInNature and ICF International will plant a tree with the help of the Arbor Day Foundation.
5. Community Clean Up—The World Wildlife Foundation is asking people to join together for a clean up day in their own neighborhoods.
6. Thunderclap—The EPA and Climate Reality are both hoping people will use Thunderclap, a social media tool that sends out timed messages based on how many people support a campaign. All you have to do is click on which social media platform you’d like to Thunderclap on, customize the message, and your support is added.
7. Other ideas—Check out your local community for Earth Day activities, write a letter to your local government representative or check out Earth Day Network’s website for ideas.
What will you do this Earth Day? See Disneynature’s Bears movie or do some local activity to honor Mother Nature? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.