Having watched what Sir David describes as his ‘Witness Statement’, we couldn’t have asked for a more fitting recommended ‘Movie of the Month’ than his first feature film, “A Life on our Planet.”
We are incredibly fortunate to have the experience, knowledge and passion of a man who has spent nearly 5 decades in the natural world, documenting and bringing amazing stories and imagery to all of us at home in our living rooms. He describes feeling a responsibility to have made this film for us, and we in turn felt a heightened sense of responsibility to step up and act on his visionary words – of living sustainably and in closer harmony with the natural world.
Encouragingly, his message – although urgent – is to act while we still have time to change course. We need to restore the planet’s biodiversity, re-wild natural areas, halt deforestation and replant forests as they are fundamental to the planet’s recovery and essential to Carbon capture and species biodiversity.
He highlights the challenge of an accelerating human population, noting that every species’ population eventually maxes out. As we improve the standard of living of all our people, encourage girls in particular to stay at school longer, (which often leads to having fewer children) we will find that we can sustain a large population without threatening the planet we all depend upon.
Sir David also highlights the importance of restoring and maintaining healthy oceans as essential to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and the consequent rising global temperatures. Our oceans are also a vital source of food and it has already been demonstrated that creating no-fishing zones for periods of time allows the ecosystem to restore balance and quickly replenish the species which have been overfished.
Food consumption is also addressed and here Sir David takes a very balanced approach. He does not suggest that we all need to eat only a plant-based diet, but he suggests that by simply reducing the amount of meat we eat, we would significantly reduce the amount of land used for farming which directly competes with the natural world. Technology can be used as is done in the Netherlands – one of the most densely populated areas of the world – where they have worked out how to produce significantly increased volumes of food without a corresponding increase in land use. As quoted in a 2017 National Geographic article, “Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the rallying cry “Twice as much food using half as many resources.” Since 2000, van den Borne and many of his fellow farmers have reduced dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90 percent. They’ve almost completely eliminated the use of chemical pesticides on plants in greenhouses, and since 2009 Dutch poultry and livestock producers have cut their use of antibiotics by as much as 60 percent.”
Sir David concludes this powerful film with a message of hope and reminds us that nature is our biggest ally and inspiration – “She provides everything we need to thrive!”
“If we take care of nature she will take care of us – We need to be ‘a part of nature’ rather than ‘apart’ from nature – We require more than intelligence – We require wisdom.”
In summary, this is a profound message to us all from a man who is well placed to not only see the changes that have taken place over his many decades of direct experience and interaction with the natural world, but who truly understands that with our support, cooperation and immediate action on all of our parts, our planet is amazingly resilient and can be helped by the positive actions we take everyday!
We are immensely grateful to Sir David Attenborough for bringing his message to us all. It’s now up to us to act on this guidance!
We strongly encourage you to watch this film and then let us know which part made the strongest impact on you?