Sunday, August 20, 2023
#232 / David Attenborough's Witness Statement
Sir David Frederick Attenborough (born May 8, 1926) is pictured above, at the age of ninety-three. Attenborough is a British broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series that form "the Life collection," a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth.
In 2020, in collaboration with Netflix, Attenborough wrote, photographed, and presented another film, "A Life On Our Planet." Attenborough called this film his "Witness Statement." In this documentary, Attenborough documents what has happened to Planet Earth since Attenborough began his work as a wildlife documentarian. He tells us what he has "witnessed." It is a heartbreaking story - a story that we know.
Attenborough's story both begins, and ends, in the Ukranian city of Pripyat, adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Attenborough tells us, as he walks through the deserted city, that nature is now reclaiming it. He tells us that what happened at Chernobyl was a miscalculation; it was a "mistake." Attenborough's film documents another such miscalculation and "mistake," one that has involved the entire planet, and that has extended so long that this mistake is now on the brink of making our entire planet uninhabitable for human beings. This is the heartbreaking story that we know - that virtually everyone knows, and doesn't want to talk about because it is too painful to do so, and because we think that, by now, there is nothing we can do.
Attenborough's film, though, is not only a testimony to what he has seen - his "Witness Statement." It is also a film that tells us how we can restore a right balance between our human civilization and the planet upon which we depend, the blue jewel of the Earth. To me, Attenborough's presentation on what we can do was as "solid," and "certain," as the those parts of the film that shows those who watch it what a huge "mistake," indeed, we have made (and continue to make).
I would like strongly to encourage you to watch Attenborough's movie.
If you have Netflix, no problem. Click on this link to "Netflix." I think that should take you to the film. If you do not subscribe to Netflix, I encourage you to seek out another way to watch this film, to stream "A Life On Our Planet" to wherever you are.
Attenborough tells us that the damage that human activities have done to the planet can be reversed within the span of one hundred years - within a lifetime equivalent to the lifetime that Attenborough has spent on Earth. Attenborough includes, specifically, the damage done by human-caused global warming, and he provides specific advice. I think we should believe what he says.
I think we should believe what Attenborough says - and I think we should do what he advises!