This Netflix original series, Down to Earth, produced and hosted by Zac Efron is filmed as a buddy-documentary of sorts taking you around the globe over 8 episodes. Joining this journey is Darin Olien, a food guru who practices and promotes healthy living and wrote Superlife, a book on superfoods. While Zac and Darin can be a humorous and silly duo, they also work well together and combine their energy to provide insightful commentary throughout the show. You can see that both are very hopeful, upbeat, easygoing, and yes, down to earth guys who really care about the environment, people, and locations they visit. Zac mentions numerous times that he feels he is done with the Hollywood lifestyle and wants to use his star-power for something more. This series is certainly that; a way to enlighten viewers of the inefficiencies and issues taking place in our world and how solutions can be put in place right now by those willing to accept change.
The series starts in Iceland where they visit a geo-thermal plant that converts the heat coming from the land’s tectonic plates into energy, enough to power 45,000 homes. Turns out this process is incredibly involved but is ultimately safe for the environment. Iceland does not rely on using any fossil fuels, whereas in the U.S. we use a staggering 63%. Iceland also has 14 hydro power plants creating 75% of the electricity for the whole country; an example of how to leave a low carbon footprint on our planet. Another example in a later episode, shows how Paris treats and provides sparkling water to its citizens. They test for more than 300,000 contaminants and use a “polishing” process that is extremely effective, more so than using chlorine as used in the U.S. Another episode set in Costa Rica, focuses on the idea and practice of a self-sustaining community built using the environment around them; specifically the food, resources, and energy used are all locally grown or renewed. Among other things later episodes cover topics such as why people in Sardinia, Italy, are living longer than in other parts of the world (nutrition and lifestyle are a big factor). How Peru is one of many locations to have a seed vault preserving plant life (in case of natural or man-made disaster). How hurricanes caused by climate change (yes it’s real) and the lack of recovery have affected people in Puerto Rico. How London deals with practical solutions to pollution and nutrition. And the efficacy of various useful medicinal plants found near the Amazon River. Rounding out the duo's downtime in the series are highlights and activities; exploring cities, sandboarding, celebrating Darin's birthday, cooking, and eating exotic foods.
Down to Earth is all about showcasing perspectives and solutions to current problems. Though maybe not as informative as a traditional documentary, it is indeed eye-opening and helps the viewer rethink their way of living. When is enough? If you take away anything from this it is to hopefully get you thinking differently about your life, the world and realize there are better ways to do things. Live in the present the best you can. The hardest thing about change is taking that first step. We can clearly see that the planet is changing and humans have no natural enemies other than ourselves. This reality is heartbreaking, overwhelming, and our time here is short too. I admire what Zac, Darin, and the crew set out to do with this short series and commend them for delivering a powerful message with it.
July 10, 2020
When is enough? If you take away anything from this it is to hopefully get you thinking differently about your life, the world and realize there are better ways to do things. Live in the present the best you can. The hardest thing about change is taking that first step.