Watch: 3x Grammy Award Winner Barack Obama Narrates The Stunning ‘Our Great National Parks’ On Netflix


Following the path of Sir David Attenborough, former U.S. president Barack Obama guides us through a breathtaking new Netflix documentary series, Our Great National Parks (releasing April 13).

This five-part series, narrated by Obama, takes you on a journey through five continents to see the unique wildlife that inhabits these national parks around the world, the first of which was actually Yellowstone in the U.S., with now over 4,000 national parks globally.

Hanauma Bay Beach, Island Of Oahu, Hawaii

The series starts with Obama at Hanauma Bay in Hawaii, one of his favorite spots in the world.

“My mom used to tell me that when she was pregnant she would come and sit, and listen to the ocean and look out at the waves lapping over the coral reefs,” Obama said. “She used to joke that, that was the reason I was so calm. I had spent a lot of time here even before I arrived in the world.”

“My love of the natural world began here. When I was growing up, wild spaces and everyday spaces, were one and the same, an essential part of our lives.”

It’s that last statement that really epitomizes what the series is about, showcasing that everything is interconnected, humans with animals, plants, and water, and protecting each of these things helps us all. Currently, about 15 percent of the world’s lands and eight percent of oceans have been protected.

Many of the locations featured in Our Great National Parks have a link to Obama personally,

Former U.S. President Barack Obama in Our Great National Parks. (Pete Souza/Netflix)

like Hawaii, in addition to the former U.S. president reminiscing about a trip to Chilean Patagonia with his family, meeting his father’s side of his family in Kenya, and his mother moving the family to Indonesia.

In the first episode alone, impressive close-ups of animals and sweeping shots of these unique landscapes grab your attention, but it’s also why we recommend watching this on the biggest screen you have.

In the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar, we see Decken’s sifaka, a type of endangered lemur, leaping through this unique labyrinth of rocks, including an eight-week-old with its mother.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar. “Our Great National Parks” on Netflix. (Netflix)

In order to actually capture the footage to feature this national park, the crew had to get up the massive, but precarious and sharp, rock to the summit, resulting in these incredible images of the limestone peaks, with the forest below.

It was actually in Madagascar, filming for this series, that the crew captured the first-ever footage of a recently discovered rock iguana.

“The more isolated the national park, the more unusual its creatures and the more extraordinary their behaviors, which makes [these parks] especially important to protect,” Obama says.

‘The accelerating pace of climate change is having a devastating impact’

Barack Obama guiding you through this journey, learning about animals you’ve never seen before, or at least have never seen like this, is certainly enjoyable. As you may expect, Obama adds his own character and humor to the narrative, which easily moves you from a space where you’re just taking in what these remote areas look like, to the harsh realities of the impacts of climate change and why we have to preserve these special areas of our planet.

“Our world is changing fast,” Obama says. “Today, the accelerating pace of climate change is having a devastating impact.”

Raine Island, in the area of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. “Our Great National Parks” on Netflix. (Netflix)

“It’s been said that we’re the first generation to feel the impact of global warming and the last that can do something about it.”

Looking at Raine Island, in the area of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the series explains that up to one million turtle eggs are laid in the sand every season. But the sex of a hatchling is determined by the temperature inside its nest, so the hotter sands have now caused 99 percent of eggs that hatch to be female.

Additionally, as Earth gets warmer and waters to rise, the nest sites can flood and drown the eggs.

“Our parks, like the rest of the planet, are now threatened by extreme weather, escalating pollution and biodiversity and habitat loss,” Obama says.

“Some of it is the result of the choices we all make in our daily lives. We risk our own well-being and that of future generations, but we’re not powerless. We can turn things around if we act now.”

Ultimately, it’s truly a treat that we are able to take this journey around the world, while still being in our homes, and hopefully, everyone will think a bit more deeply about preserving wilderness for future generations.