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Documentary Review - The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet - Başak Bozoğlu


In the last weeks of 2021, I would like to talk about a documentary that has recently made a worldwide impact on climate change. 2021 has been published in many documentaries about climate change, extinction, protection, and restoration of nature and ecosystem changes. The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet is the last one organized by a council, including the British royal family.


The documentary consists of five episodes; protect and restore nature, fix our climate, clean our air, revive our oceans and build a waste-free world. The documentary is hosted by Prince William and narrated by David Attenborough. Besides many documentaries broadcast on Netflix, this documentary does not offer you a solution to change the world. Eartshot Prize aims to find solutions for five ambitious challenges until 2030. These challenges demonstrate with the winners’ projects that can be applied for the next ten years to solve each problem. Even though it is the United Kingdom-based Prize, problems, solutions, and projects are open to the whole world. In the Eartshot Prize, one million-pound prize will be awarded each year for the next ten years five times for providing at least 50 solutions to the world's greatest environmental problems by 2030. The aim is to use the prize for funding to support the potential and existing innovations to be a solution for our planet.



Among these five chapters, the one that caught my attention the most was a “Waste-Free World." There is an endless cycle in nature, everything turns into each other, and the order continues in this way. However, today, the consumption rate has increased with technology and rapid production. As human beings increased the use of raw materials, production increased, and people started to leave one thing and have a new one. Therefore, the endless circle in nature has been broken by human hands. This situation creates the problem of excess and non-recyclable waste for most countries. Developed countries can recycle some of their waste but send the rest to underdeveloped countries. One country's garbage becomes another country's problem. Plastic, synthetic fibers, metal, and glass are produced for longevity. However, much more than what is recycled continues to be a problem as waste. For instance, The United States alone ships over half a million tons of plastic overseas, and most of it ends up in countries with poor waste management systems. Turkey imported a total of 659,960 tons of plastic waste from European Union countries and England in 2020. At the same time, some of the imported garbage was destroyed by illegal burning, mixed with rivers, scattered in nature without recycling in Turkey.


Each episode has different nominees from different countries such as Kenya, Mongolia, the United States, and Italy in the documentary. The most helpful information for the fifth part is that the candidates offer the most suitable solution for their region, again according to the conditions of their territory. While someone presents a project to recycle wastewater, someone produces a project to recycle waste food. As nominees offer solutions specific to the region where the problem occurs, this situation creates viable solutions for the people living in the area. Last week, the news highlighted the garbage problem in Rome. The accumulated garbage and non-recycled waste have become a massive problem because they are not collected for long, and a permanent solution is not produced. It has caused political and social difficulties because a suitable solution to the region's problem has not been produced. This example shows that underdeveloped overseas countries and Europe have a waste problem.


The most valuable part of the documentary is where solution-oriented projects are mentioned. The fact that it is not only focused on America and Europe but also includes regions with different waste problems, such as Japan and Kenya, makes the document special. However, the documentary remains relatively superficial with its five episodes. Our Planet, A Life on Our Planet, Blue Planet, made by David Attenborough for the BBC, are much more successful in terms of informing people. The Earthsot Prize: Repairing Our Planet is more like a promotional documentary that could lead to good results on which the royal family puts a cash prize. However, people can watch with pleasure with good visual quality and interviews in different cultures. Also, people can watch it easily because each episode is forty minutes and focus only on one problems varieties in the documentary. As a result, it is a significant production to attract media attention and shows that not only scientists but also citizens can find useful and applicable solutions to real problems.