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David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet


David Attenborough created this film as his “Witness Statement” for the state of our world. He does site some grim statistics, but he does give hope. He outlines actions statements that can be taken to make a difference to the planet and to our lives.

Key Message

Loss of biodiversity will have catastrophic results if we do not take steps to reverse this loss.

The Cold, Hard Facts

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so I have plotted out the cold, hard facts that David shared. In 1937, the world’s population was at 2.3 Billion. In 2020, we reached 7.8 Billion people on this planet.

In 1937, the Carbon in the atmosphere was reported to be 280 Parts per Million. In 2020, it had reached 415 Parts per Million.

In 1937 the remaining wilderness was 66%. In 2020, it had decreased significantly to only 35%.

If we continue on this same trajectory:

In 2030, the Amazon rainforest will become a desert. The Artic will become ice free in the summer and this will speed the increase of global warming.

In 2040, methane will start to be released into the atmosphere.

In 2050, as the ocean heats, coral reefs will die and fish populations will crash.

In 2080, the soil will become exhausted from overuse which will effect food crops and pollinating insects.

In 2100, the planet will be 4 degrees warmer and 11 billion people are expected to be living on the planet.

We are currently heading for the 6th mass extinction of our planet.

What can we do?

We need to restore the biodiversity on the planet – the very thing we have removed as humans. We must Re-Wild the world. It is much simpler than you might think. By acting now, we will benefit ourselves and generations to come.

How do we do this?

We need to:

  1. Raise standard of living throughout the world without increasing impact on it. We need to ensure healthcare access to all and education for all girls.
  2. Phase out fossil fuels and use sunlight, wind, water and geothermal (renewable resources)
  3. We need to fish “right”. Have no fish zones to allow reefs to recover. Palau did this in their area and not only did the no fish zones come back, but the extra fish ended up moving into the fish zones. If we applied No Fish zones, 1/3 of our seas would give us enough fish to eat.
  4. We need to radically reduce farming land use by changing our diets. The planet cannot support billions of meat eaters. If we went plant based, we would only use 1/2 of the land that we use at the moment. In the Netherlands, they are producing goods indoors in cities as well as its oceans (kelp) . This video highlights this practice:
  5. Halt Deforestation – Forests are the best technology nature has for locking away carbon and being centres for biodiversity. Costa Rica is a good example of this. They have replanted native trees and the forest has grown to covering 1/2 of the country from only 1/4. It previously was 3/4 covered by forests.

Concluding Thoughts

Nature is our ally and greatest inspiration. It worked out the secret of life long ago. A species can only thrive when everything else around it thrives too. If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. Let’s be in balance with nature so that all can thrive.

We need to rediscover and move from being apart from nature to being a part of nature again. We need to help rather than hinder wilderness. We need ways to fish seas to have them come back to life. We need ways to harvest forests sustainably. We need to work with nature instead of against it.

It is not about saving our planet. It is about saving ourselves. With our without us, the nature world will rebuild. It has been over 30 years since the evacuation of Chernobyl from the nuclear reaction explosion and the wild has reclaimed the space. Nature will ultimately overcome our mistakes. We require more than intelligence. We require wisdom.

It is not all doom and gloom. We have an opportunity to make amends. We just need the will to do so. This is David Attenborough’s “Witness Statement”.

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