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Exclusive – Breaking Boundaries’ Johan Rockström hopes viewers “feel a bit uncomfortable” watching the climate change documentary

The Swedish sustainability scientist features in Sir David Attenborough's upcoming Netflix documentary Breaking Boundaries.

Johan Rockstrom - Breaking Boundaries
Edward Felton
Published: Wednesday, 2nd June 2021 at 2:41 pm

Environmental academic Johan Rockström, the star of David Attenborough's documentary Breaking Boundaries, has said he hopes the Netflix film makes viewers feel "a bit uncomfortable" when confronted by the urgency of the Earth's climate change crisis.


The upcoming documentary, which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough, examines how the human race has pushed the planet past its natural thresholds and what we need to do in the next 20 years if we're to secure our future on Earth.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with, the Swedish scientist said that those who watch the documentary should be "frustrated, a bit upset [and] a bit shaken".

Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough in Breaking Boundaries Netflix

"I really hope that viewers actually feel a bit uncomfortable by... you know, when you put all the cards on the table, oh my God, are we really putting the state of the planet on the line?

"But then also they should feel this mixture of being frustrated, a bit upset, a bit shaken with also enthusiasm and a sense of feeling truly that I've come upon a new story. The new story of the future. The story of how we reconnect with the planet and not only do we do it for a sense of environmental responsibility, we do it because we want to go into the next level of modernity.

"The story starts saying, 'OK, sustainability is not about protecting the planet only. It's really about us and the best possible future for our kids and their kids.' And that is what we're talking about."


Rockström added: "We're talking about taking the next step in a positive improvement of human evolution. And of course, that's a big ask but I think that that's where this format is perfectly crafted because that story can never come across just through an academic paper or a book or a text. You need to reach both brain and heart at the same time."

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet will be released on Netflix on Friday 4th June. Check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide. Also visit our dedicated Documentaries hub for more news.

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