Considering that we spend most of our TV-watching time indoors, it's ironic that one of the most popular genres of nonfiction TV programming has always been focused on the outdoors and the natural world. We like our technology, and we like to be comfortable, but we're also endlessly fascinated by the workings of the world and the things that live in it.
Even in the old days, when American TV viewers had only three broadcast networks and PBS to choose from, there was a significant of nature on the airwaves. "Nature" and "Cosmos" on PBS and programs like "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" elsewhere on the dial brought the natural world into the living from, on a scale ranging from the universal to the microscopic.
The rise of cable channels in the 1980s brought a plethora of channels devoted exclusively to nature-themed programming. The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the National Geographic Channel and others filled their schedules with series about the natural world. These days, those channels have mostly given up their more serious and educational programming, but even on contemporary cable, nature is still well represented, even if it's in the guise of reality shows about survivalists, hunters and fishermen.