David Attenborough's “testament”: “It is no longer about saving the planet, but about saving ourselves”

David Attenborough's “testament”: “It is no longer about saving the planet, but about saving ourselves”

The famous British naturalist presents a new book and documentary on Netflix, coinciding with the celebration of the UN Biodiversity Summit, in which Pedro Sánchez participates today

David Attenborough's

Today, Wednesday, the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity is held, in which the Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, among other leaders, plans to intervene by videoconference. The occasion is a perfect excuse to attend the teachings of one of the personalities who has done the most in the world to publicize nature and the dangers that loom over it, starting with the climate crisis.

At 94, David Attenborough has seen almost everything on this planet. Until the last decade, with series such as 'Planet Earth' and 'Blue Planet', he spread his amazement at the natural world to young and old. Lately, his telluric voice has turned grim, as he delves into the “facts” of climate change and the sixth mass extinction for the BBC .

The revered British naturalist is now presenting his definitive “testament” to Netflix in book and documentary form : 'A life in our planet' ('A life on our planet'). Throughout his 60-year professional life, he has witnessed the “withdrawal from the natural world and the relentless advancement of the human species,” and now is the time to tell it before an imaginary tribunal.

Their mission consisted for a long time to ” document the paradise on Earth that has been the period we know as the Holocene .” But we are already in what a group of geologists has renamed the Anthropocene, and Attenborough embraces that concept: “All animals modify their environment to a greater or lesser extent. But no species has ever done what we are doing. by altering the planet, we are destroying it. “

The British naturalist maintains that the question “is no longer to save the planet, but to save ourselves . And the big problem is not only the climate crisis, but also the loss of biodiversity caused by the destruction of ecosystems, which in his opinion is at the origins of the pandemic: “Our future will not change if we do not change our relationship with animals” .

“The newspapers only talk about the virus, and that's okay because we all want to know,” Attenborough mumbled. “The problem is that climate change has disappeared from the headlines because it is perceived as a distant future … Earth's temperature has risen one degree since I was born, and it may rise three to four degrees this century if we don't change on the way. Climate change is here: young people do well to remind us of it. “

The success of Attenborough among the youngsters is attested by the fact that he has become, this week, the person who has more quickly surpassed one million followers on Instagram at the time of its premiere. “The message that I want to give worries me so much that I am going to take advantage of all the means at my disposal. I believe in this young generation that is getting involved in the face of climate change. It is their world and it is their tomorrow, we cannot waste any more time.”

In 'A Life on Our Planet', Attenborough travels his youth in the English countryside, as a budding fossil collector. Little did he suspect then that, over time, and thanks to his worldwide recognition, he would end up lending his surname to a prehistoric relative of the lion that lived 18 million years ago and whose fossil was found a few years ago in Australia: the Microleo attenboroughi .

First expeditions

The film recalls his first expeditions to places such as the Serengeti Park or the island of Borneo, with the unfathomable gaze of the orangutans as witnesses of the cutting down of the tropical forest and the irruption of palm plantations. Attenborough travels the world over five decades and, in parallel, we are witnessing the population boom (from 2,500 to more than 7,000 million), the increase in particles per million of CO2 (from 300 to more than 400 ) and the decline of intact areas of nature (from more than 60% of the earth's surface to just a third).

The naturalist recreates his first trips to the Arctic and highlights how, in 2030, we can experience the first summers without ice at the North Pole and, a decade later, suffer the true effects of the melting of pemafrost, with the release of huge amounts of methane that can accelerate warming. Despite the criticism received at the time, Attenborough does not hesitate to rescue the images of walruses jumping off the cliffs on the islands to the north of Russia due to the disappearance of ice and the lack of living space on the beaches.

The documentary starts and ends in Pripyat, the “atomic” city evacuated during the Chernobyl accident in 1986, as a metaphor for “miscalculations and uncontrolled actions.” In the landscape of the end of the world , however, the animals in the wild and the overflowing nature have opened, as in the old cities of the Mayans.

Solutions that are already here

“Humanity is at a crossroads, the natural world is seriously threatened and the consequences can be apocalyptic “, warns Attenborough, who nevertheless dedicates the last half hour of projection to the solutions that are already here: from urban agriculture to renewable energies, from the fishing exclusion zones in the oceans to the drastic reduction in meat consumption, from renaturation projects to the total reuse of resources.

The word residue is immoral, ” he testifies. “The imperative in the 21st century must be to work with nature, and not against nature, which is what we have been doing for too long.”

As an epilogue to the projection, David Attenborough invites us to a conversation with former Monty Python Michael Palin , reviewing everything that happened in this dangerously lived year. Palin asks him about the lessons of the coronavirus, and Attenborough responds without hesitation: “One thing we have learned is that we are all in the same boat, and if we want to survive we have to cooperate. The time for nationalism is over. It is time. for a new internationalism and for greater equality among the nations of the world. The West has already taken too much; perhaps the time has come to give. “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *