Local environmental consultancy business Natura Pacific is committed to spreading awareness about the Australian environment, and its short documentary series ‘Back from the Brink’, does just that.
‘Back from the Brink’ began in 2017, tackling the topic of endangered species in South East Queensland, from giant orchids to hammerhead sharks.
We had the opportunity to talk to creator and producer of ‘Back from the Brink’ and Senior Environmental Consultant at Natura Pacific, Dr. Mark Runkovski, about the series.
“It’s a series of documentaries that celebrates biodiversity, and then goes into the stories, species by species, of the most threatened animals and plants to allow people to understand, at our local community level, what’s happening to them and why it’s happening and then provide them with a list of tangible actions to be able to do something about it.”
This sort of information is critical for people to know, considering its impacts on our unique and fragile Australian environment. Mark says the purpose of the series is really to try and make people understand that extinction isn’t some kind of exotic problem that only happens to species overseas.
“We have the worst mammal extinction rate on the planet, far greater than any other country or continent,” he states.
In 2016, Mark wrote an article called ‘Extinction is Forever’ which looked at Australian extinction rates based on the surrounding countries. He and his researchers found that since 2000, Australia has declared 98 species extinct and over 1700 species have been declared nearly extinct.
“Those numbers are obviously staggering, knowing that each of those species is a jigsaw puzzle piece in our ecosystems and the way we use the environment to survive as humans,” Mark continues.
“So, what we want to achieve is that education of awareness, so having people understand that this is a problem that is happening in our own backyards, and then moving onto the achievement of people wanting to take action.”
’Back from the Brink’ is the first aired series dedicated to providing a local context to conservation, and information about what species need our help and how the public can help them as individuals.
As for creating these videos, Mark says it’s a very long process with many steps involved. This includes research towards the information, deciding upon story structures, and then, of course, the filming and editing before release.
“The whole process, from start to finish, probably takes about three months, and we do five a year.”
Something that is crucial to spreading awareness is knowing how to engage your audience so that they want to be involved.
“Keeping people’s attention is important, so we keep the documentaries to be less than 10 minutes, trying to focus between five and eight minutes.” Mark explains.
With so much to share and such a great cause, the next important step is getting this to an audience.
“You can have really good resources and really good information, and a lot of people who are keen to make something really useful but if nobody’s watching it then nobody’s going to take action. So, I think, the more we get this out to people the higher the likelihood that a percentage of those people are going to take action, says Mark.”
You can find more info about Natura Pacific and the ‘Back from the Brink’ series here.
IMAGE (c) Anders Zimny