UP to ten days ago, when I became incapable of stringing more than half a dozen words together without barking like a seal, I’d recount to anyone who’d listen entire sequences from David Attenborough’s brilliant Frozen Planet series.
The beauty: the monochrome flash of a school of killer whales rising from water of deep navy blue, sun glare on expanses of white, snowflakes and icycles forming, unimaginable life-forms under the ice-locked ocean.
The humour: a penguin gathers and lays rocks for his nest one by one unaware that his neighbour’s nicking the decor every time he turns his back.
The cruelty: wolves and bears picking off the weak and young, driven to take risks and enter bloody battles by the cries of their own hungry cubs.
The endurance: those male Emperor penguins nursing an egg apiece on their feet huddled together with no food for months with Antarctic gales burying them in snow and ice.
The polar bears: massive kings of the frozen wastes, the males fighting almost to the death (more blood on the snow) for the right to pass on their DNA by mating with a lone female.
The climate change: the final episodes demonstrating there can be no doubt that human activity planet-wide is already having devastating impact on both landscape and wildlife at the Poles.
This week Russian scientists have revealed that the methane gas locked beneath the Arctic permafrost has started to escape straight into the atmosphere at unprecedented levels.
Also this week after a ground-breaking worldwide climate change agreement in Durban, Canada coolly walked away from its Kyoto obligations, invoking its right to continue criminal pollution of the far north by extracting oil from the tar sands (as seen in last year’s brilliant BBC documentary, Arctic).
And European company bosses have dropped climate change from second in their list of concerns last year to eighth in 2011, in terms of strategy and investment decisions.
In the face of all that, why exactly is the Arctic story everyone’s talking about the unfair and ludicrous claim that Frozen Planet’s a fake because a few minutes out of hours of brilliant footage were filmed in a German wildlife park?