David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

Daniel Ketchelos- Staff Writer

Contributed Photo

 The world is a magnificent place. From the snow-white polar bears that roam the Arctic Circle, to the vibrant coral reefs that fill the oceans, our planet is a beautiful place. Renowned nature documentarist, David Attenborough, recounts his lifelong exploration of this wild world in his most recent Netflix release, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet. 

Focusing on the decrease of Earth’s natural habitat and the increase of global temperatures, Attenborough released this piece as his witness statement. He recounts his exploration of the unreached world throughout his career while urging viewers to be mindful of how their actions affect the planet. 

“If we continue on our current course, the damage that has been the defining feature of my lifetime will be eclipsed by the damage coming in the next,” Attenborough said about the planet’s decrease in biodiversity. 

Attenborough’s key point was the importance of creating a sustainable future. He emphasizes that by changing the actions of the world now, the wild can be preserved for generations to come. 

This documentary is a typical Attenborough film with a twist. The first half explores Attenborough’s years of field experience exploring uncharted territories in the wild. Then, a quick switch occurs, and he explains the impending danger the world faces if changes are not made.

 “That is my witness statement. A story of global decline during a single lifetime,” Attenborough said. 

Attenborough aims to emphasize the importance of returning biodiversity to the wild, but some of his methods for doing so are questionable. One of his suggestions, for example, included limiting the expanse of the human population to allow for a greater availability of resources. To achieve this, he encourages families to have fewer children. Some may see this as unethical and the request stands as quite a tall one for Attenborough to make. 

He also suggests the switch to renewable energy, but without presenting the dangers that the change also presents. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric power are praised in the film as holding the ability to solve all of humanity’s energy issues, but the documentarians avoid presenting the negative effects these energy sources also carry. 

Despite its shortcomings, A Life on Our Planet features a strong story that pushes audiences towards environmental mindfulness. Comparing carbon levels in the air and the remaining wilderness over the last 100 years helped visualize the globalization of this issue. The contrast between individual ecosystems when Attenborough first explored them to their current state drove home the problem of shrinking biodiversity. 

Overall, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet features an intimate narration by the legend of nature documentaries while also compelling individuals to take care of their planet. While some questionable methods for achieving a secure future for the planet persist, the overall film achieves its goal of starting a conversation. My rating is 7.5/10 for impactful facts and visualization, while also endorsing some, in my opinion, unsupported methods for solving environmental problems. 

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