What does a sense of space and place bring to the interpretation of a literary text such as Pigs by Les Murray? What does an English subject perspective add to work in geography on documentary texts such as the BBC wildlife series Planet Earth? This article is an outcome of our collaboration as teacher educators involved in the initial training of English and geography teachers. We start with Planet Earth because we want to highlight a popular text worth viewing from different subject perspectives. In many ways the process reflects the type of interdisciplinary understanding required to address ecological issues. We take the examples of English and geography, tracing the etymologies of these separate disciplines and considering the common ground between them. The potential of this approach for subject development is modelled through analysis of Pigs, a poem by Les Murray.