Better late than never to post on this… This week has brought a rather major environmental communication event, the broadcast on PBS of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This series, directed by Ken Burns, has received quite a bit of publicity in the US. One episode of the six-part, twelve hour series is being broadcast each night this week and there are frequent rebroadcasts happening, so if you are in the US or Canada, you should still be able to catch the whole series. The episodes are also available to watch online for another ten days or so I believe. You can also get it on DVD.
Here is an extended preview:
I’m certainly interested in learning about the parks, so the series demands my attention for that reason alone. But I’m also interested in the viewpoints and arguments presented in the series. And so far, it has done a good job of representing the ecocentric motivations and perspectives of folks like John Muir and the native peoples. It has also brought out some good stories of peoples’ experiences of unity with Nature that can take place in the parks and how Nature and the parks in particular help shape peoples’ identities, both national and personal. We don’t often get such perspectives on mainstream television, so it’s worth a watch if you have a few hours. As usual with PBS, there are lesson plans and other resources for educators online.