In the world that we live in today, with all of our bustling cities, urban highways, and mile-high skyscrapers, it’s hard to imagine a time when the world was completely untouched by men. But as unfathomable as it may seem, there is in fact one part of the world that has never felt the touch of mankind: Patagonia. Covering more than half-a-million square miles of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is the last true wilderness.
National Geographic takes us to this uninhabited landscape in its 2008 documentary Eden at the End of the World. Narrated by the rich British tenor of Academy Award winning actor Jeremy Irons (The Borgias, Beautiful Creatures), Eden at the End of the World transports us to this isolated place, and exposes us to the various forms of life that live there.
Patagonia is as beautiful as it is dangerous, which National Geographic reflects through the portrayals of various and diverse life forms that call Patagonia home. Jeremy Irons narrates over the flittering wings of beautiful green and yellow parrots, the barks of large brown sea lions, and the funny human-like qualities of the island’s local penguins. But in all this beauty, there is also pain and danger: helpless little parrot chicks are stolen and eaten by menacing hawks, tiny sea lion pups become the latest meal for a hungry orca, and penguin chicks lie dead on the beach, waiting for the parents that will never come. But we also see that hawks and orcas aren’t Patagonia’s only predators; men have begun to join those ranks as well. We see small, delicate camels impaled by man-made fences, sea lions trapped in fishing nets, and populations of beautiful squid and fish that have been diminished greatly by local fishermen.
But vivid images and beautiful landscapes aside, Eden at the End of the World’s true strength lies in the message that lies just beneath the beautiful waters and lush forests of Patagonia: look what the world once was, and look at what we have done to it. This film is a case study into the harm that man can do to the environment, and what beautiful, lush places can become when man becomes careless.
Anyone who believes that we have no effect on the world should see this film, I promise it will leave you thinking, and questioning what you can do to make a difference.