There would not be anyone in the world more qualified to talk about the state of our planet than David Attenborough.
Since the legendary documentary maker produced Coelacanth back in 1951, he has mesmerised a global audience with over 100 nature documentaries. Each one features stunning visuals, little known facts and the iconic Attenborough narration.
Attenborough has travelled to every corner of the world and is the only person to have won BAFTA awards for shows filmed in black and white, colour, HD and 3D – highlighting his longevity.
But it is Attenborough’s most recent production that may prove to be his legacy and his most important piece of work. In a world where saving our planet has become hotly debated and politicised, Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet delivers a humanised view from the man who has seen it all with his own two eyes.
Witnessing the destruction of our planet
Ever since Attenborough was a little boy he has been fascinated by animals and has dedicated his life to documenting their quirky traits and behaviours.
But in seven decades of hacking through forests to get to the most remote locations, he has noticed large parts of the wildlife thinning and ultimately disappearing.
“Over the course of my life, I’ve encountered some of the world’s most remarkable species of animals,” is the line Attenborough opens A Life on Our Planet with.
“Only now do I realise just how lucky I’ve been. Many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever. We’re facing a crisis, and one that has consequences for us all. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to control our climate – it even puts us at greater risk of pandemic diseases such as COVID-19.”
A trusted voice
There have been other large scale productions released that plead with humanity to change or risk irreparably damaging the planet.
Would-be American President Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 in a bid to wake up the world to the dangers of climate change and global warming. Social activist Naomi Klein released This Changes Everything in 2016 in a bid to simplify the dangers and what we need to do.
But there are many people who are not receptive to politicians and activists. Attenborough brings the warm, safe voice of truth that people have listened to their entire lives.
It is his profile that could make the difference.
Cause for hope
Unlike other documentaries, shows and movements, Attenborough isn’t trying to paint a picture of destruction and fear. While he outlines that 570 plant species and 700 animal species are gone forever and extinction rates are exponentially higher, he offers hope – not the threat of a post-apocalyptic future. He celebrates major environmental initiatives and victories, he reflects on changing attitudes and he implores others to have a second think about their actions.
It has never been Attenborough’s style to yell, rant and rave. Here, he simply delivers the facts in his trademark tone and they might be the most important words he has ever narrated.