National Geographic's 'Wild Life' chronicles love, hope and dedication to the planet

The story of pioneers and conservationists Kris and Doug Tompkins is highlighted.

ByGina Sirico OTRC logo
Thursday, May 25, 2023
National Geographic's 'Wild Life' shows couple's dedication to nature
National Geographic's 'Wild Life' is a story of love, hope and dedication to saving our planet.

LOS ANGELES -- Commit first, then figure it out.

That was one of the mantras of conservationist Doug Tompkins and his wife Kris. Their story, including the highs and lows of their biggest project, is chronicled in the National Geographic documentary, "Wild Life."

"It's very exciting," director and producer Jimmy Chin told On The Red Carpet. "We've been working on this film for six or seven years. I think it's a timely film and an inspirational film."

Kris was a CEO at the outdoor brand, Patagonia. Doug was the founder of The North Face clothing brand and co-founded Esprit. But they had another calling, to help protect their first love: nature.

Doug and Kris sought out to protect millions of acres of land in Argentina and Chile. Their plan was to buy the land, create national parks and then gift it back to the people. They committed, then figured out how they could make it actually happen.

When Doug died in a kayaking accident in 2015, Kris wondered if their dream could be fully realized.

"It was a complicated film, it spanned so many years with so many interesting people involved in it. But we had to find the beating heart and that was Kris Tompkins," said director and producer Chai Vasarhelyi.

In the film, you see Kris' tireless work to get the parks created and approved. It's a story of love, hope, dedication and achieving the impossible, with an eye on taking care of our environment.

"I'm 72 years old and I would say that 60 of those years have been really extraordinary. I'm fortunate. I'm grateful for a wild life," Tompkins said.

"Wild Life" airs on National Geographic tonight. It'll stream on Disney+ and Hulu beginning Friday, May 25.