Earth: The Biography

Earth: The Biography
Sure to incite hostility with both the kooky Creationist, pitchfork-carrying posse and the tinfoil-hat wearing Roswell crew, Earth: The Biography examines the likely source of our planet and all of the factors that have gone into creating the complex living organisms we know today, as well as the fragile, ever-changing state of what we know as life. It’s a well-produced and frequently engaging documentary despite the repetitive nature and the amusingly solipsistic inclusion of the "Rare Earth” theory, which proposes the unlikelihood of other complex life in the galaxy based on the level of complexity and circumstance that has allowed human life to flourish. This paradigm is all fine and well within a very specific and singular ideological construct but doesn’t consider the possibility of existence beyond that of our own conceptualisation. Hosted by Dr. Iain Stewart and divided into five parts (volcanoes, ice, atmosphere, oceans and "rare earth”), the biography is set up episodically and structured like a formal essay with thesis statement, examples and conclusion. It covers everything from the meteoric collisions that likely constructed the Earth’s core to the essential function of the oldest living life on the planet, stromatolites (basically, slimy cellular organisms that live on rocks) to the drying up of the Mediterranean Sea and how that impacted life to the effects of carbon dioxide on the ocean that absorbs it. The implication that modern pollution and human destruction will only mildly impede the planet (which will eventually recover) but wipe out the plague of mankind is both enjoyable and pragmatic in its logic and could easily spark debate amongst the idealistic and "green” peace-loving crowd. Much of the content offered in Earth is debatable if served to the right group, but is undoubtedly well researched, thoughtful and presented in an accessible and easily comprehendible manner. One could do much worse for educational content and if inclined, should add this above-average doc to their roster of informational titles. (BBC/Warner)