Science

This is now our planet

‘A Life On Our Planet’ documents the beloved naturalist’s, Sir David Attenborough, 94 years on our planet. From playing in the woods as a child, to exploring untouched wildernesses as a young man and, later, communicating the wonders of nature to millions of viewers. Although this may sound like a celebration, ‘A Life On Our Planet’ is anything but that. It’s shot with a profound sense of sadness, and grief at the destruction of the wildernesses Attenborough used to explore. This is Attenborough’s ‘witness statement’, contrasting dazzling footage of his earlier animal encounters with a countdown clock to extinction. The stats flash up throughout the documentary, each more terrifying than the last – they chart the biodiversity loss of the last 100 years in a damning portrayal of our ecocide. Hwowever, Attenborough does pose solutions; displaying his political work as an environmental advocate and envisaging a future of renewable energy and plant-based eating. 10/10. Get your reusable hankies out. 

‘Extinction: The Facts’ provides a brutally honest account of our planet’s condition, following centuries of human industrialisation, capitalist consumption and environmental destruction. The documentary states our reality plainly. We are entering a sixth mass extinction event, with one eighth of species at risk of total extinction. ‘Extinction: The Facts’ draws heavily on interviews with experts, from a sombre conversation with James Mwenda, keeper of the last two northern white rhinos, to footage of environmentalist activist Severn Suzuki confronting politicians at the UN 1992 Earth Summit, an eerie parallel to Greta Thunberg’s recent speech to the UN. Attenborough illustrates how little has changed in our bids to prevent climate change. He also clearly presents that consumption in wealthy countries is a key cause of environmental destruction. The documentary urges viewers to live simpler lives; flying less, buying less, reusing more, eating more plant-based diets and lessening the strain we place on our planet. 10/10. Why not head to your local mending cafe after watching? 

24/11/2020

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Meg Watts


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