Two hours are enough to sum up what we have done to our planet in the last seventy years and who better than the English broadcaster David Attenborough to be the voice of this heartbreaking journey on how humans destroyed Earth.
Climate change and wild conservation are some of the most discussed topics of the past few years. Yet with sustainability being the center of debates and conventions across the globe, the remaining wilderness on our planet has still halved in less than seventy years.
Throughout the documentary, Attenborough expresses the pain and bitterness of a man who spent his entire lifetime around the globe documenting the living life in all its variety and magnificence. In fact, this film reveals how humanity’s selfishness took the percentage of wilderness inhabiting the globe from 64 percent in 1954, to 35 percent in 2020. What better way to show the world what we have done to it than a combination of black-and-white footage and coloured film gathered by the natural historian during his sixty years of travelling around the globe.
Produced by Silverback Films and WWF and available on Netflix from the 28 September, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet is not a melancholic documentary about Mother Earth. Rather, it is an encouraging snapshot of how forests and animals can start populating our earth once again. This documentary is David Attenborough’s witness statement for the natural world.
As we watch whales swimming freely in the ocean and leopards running in the savannah, something heartbreaking happens. Suddenly, the forests are replaced by intensive farming systems and malls. The glaciers disappear and many animals rapidly become extinct. We shortly start to realize that only four percent of all mammals on the planet, from bats to killer whales, are wild and that so-called untouched nature, which we as humans are claiming to protect, is just an illusion. Indeed, with the excuse of making the world a better place to live in for ourselves, we haven’t just ruined it, we destroyed it.
However, towards the end of the movie, we see a glimmer of hope. David Attenborough starts explaining the solutions that need to be taken to save our planet. By creating a fish zone equivalent to over a third of the coastal area, we will be able to have enough fish for everyone while protecting our ocean. By investing in renewable energy, we will produce the energy that we need and we will never run out.
When the movie ends, we are left with nothing but a terrible burn on our hearts. We claim to be the smartest animals that have ever populated the globe, but are we? Our hunger for power led us to destroy everything we found on our way. We are guided by the idea that global warming is inevitable to give a decent life to all the 7.6 billion people inhabiting the world. In reality, Mother Earth has always provided us with all the necessities we need before our very eyes. Is a world with more plastics in the ocean than fish, or one where lions can only be seen at the zoo really worth more than one where we can buy a polyester t shirt for £5?