By Valerie Milano
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/4/20 – Deep into the excavating journey to the hidden pockets and far reaches of the world, nationally renowned station PBS brings us Polar Extremes! Viewers are taken through eclectic journeys from the golden brown flat land terrains of Death Valley, to the mountainous icebergs of the arctic. Narrated and led by famous Paleontologist Kirk Johnson, this group of scientists dig deep into the earth for commonalities, differences, hidden treasures, and road map for planet earth’s fate.
As a self proclaimed PBS kid, I welcome any educational program on this nostalgic network with open arms and mind; as expected, Polar Extremes did not disappoint. We are first taken on an astounding journey through the Arctic and Antarctic whose residents are only polar bears, glaciers and magnificent ice caves. While climate change has dramatically depleted the amount of ice found in this part of the world, the Arctic still remains a wonder. Kirk Johnson expresses, “Most people have not experienced the high Arctic or the high Antarctic, and they are remarkable places. And what happens is they’re changing from being nice places to being non nice places now. So you can watch that happening. See, ice has retreated quite dramatically from the time I took my last trip there in 1992. And we’re losing mass off all the big ice sheets. But since most people have never been to the Arctic, when you say the cinematography of the Arctic, you’re seeing lots of ice and polar bears. And what we tried to do with this show is give you a surprising view of the Arctic.”
Beyond the beautiful and miraculous shots and visuals captured, the story told of warmer climates in our north and south poles is nothing short of mind boggling and curious. As humanity stares climate tragedy in the face, the extensive scientific work that uncovers how much warmer the world was in the past can surprisingly act as a guide for our future. Johnson goes on to suggest, “I think one of the big take home things is that even though things happened millions of years ago, they are relevant to what is going to happen in the next few decades. So the fossil record gives us a menu of future planets to choose from, and we can see things that have happened in the past that are things that will happen in the future. And, really, the question is not if, but how long is it going to take and how dramatic it’s going to be.”
In spite of this, let’s not get to somber! Climate change is such a giant, looming topic; one that seems to always suggest inevitable demise. However, there is, and always will be, hope toward slowing the future overheating of our precious earth. “Political action can slow [climate change]. I mean, we’re at the point now where we actually have an understanding of the climate system, and we know what needs to be done. It’s really a matter now for the politicians to get to work. Science has painted the picture pretty clearly” Kirk Johnson describes in his seeming call-to-action of our governments.
This show has my vote! Not only visually pleasing and captivating, but extremely truthful and powerful in its approach to educate viewers of planet earth’s past to create more understanding of our future, and preserving work that desperately needs to be done. Polar extremes digs deep to the truest and continuous love story ever told: the story of Mother Nature and all of the gems that she has to offer humanity now and for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that you catch Polar Extremes on PBS tomorrow night February 5th! (Check local listings for showtimes)