Have you ever watched a documentary presented by David Attenborough? if you have and you love nature, you would probably agree his programs are usually quite amazing, but if you haven’t, then my goal today is to persuade you to give it a go.
Initially in this post, I just wanted to recommend you guys a documentary I recently watched, but as I started writing, it quickly morphed into something else. My recommendation is still included below, but I felt inclined to highlight something I’ve noticed and that perhaps reflects the urgency of what’s going on in our planet.
I must admit that I didn’t know him until I moved to Australia, for some reason when I lived in Venezuela, I never heard about him or perhaps if I watched a documentary I wasn’t aware of who he was.
When I was introduced to his documentaries and his work, I immediately felt drawn to them. In the past years, I have watched at least a dozen of his films and they always amaze me.
I think it is about having the possibility, even through our little screen, to explore these remote places and to some extent experience the majesty of nature in a way you and me would not be able to do so. And year after year, they’ve become better, as technology advances, they have been able to show incredible events, some so rare/unique that had never been recorded in camera before.
If you asked me one of those hypothetical questions: if you could meet anyone you admire today, Who would it be? I would probably say Sir Attenborough. I admire his work, dedication and passion for nature. Do you know how old is he today? 94 and according to Wikipedia, he has been active since 1951. That’s whooping 69 years travelling and filming the living world around the planet and I think he has truly done a wonderful job.
His programs have always been about showing the wonders of the natural world and inspiring viewers to love it. However, in recent years, I have noticed a shift: he has been way more vocal about the environmental challenges the planet is experiencing and not only that, about how human activity is driving many of these issues.
I must say, the first time I heard him talking so bluntly about these topics (I can’t even remember which documentary it was), it caught me by surprise, my brain was not expecting that. I was so used to his calmed narrative, almost soothing voice and the mesmerising images from nature, that when I heard words like overfishing, forest/habitat lost, farming destroying forests, species at the brink of extinction, climate change it was shocking. They were not part of the stories in these documentaries as far as I could remember.
When I think about it, he has had the privilege to see first hand the wonders of the natural world for so many years, that it must be truly depressing and terrifying seeing how things have changed in the past decades. We usually don’t have a way to compare how things have changed in nature, he does!
Perhaps things are getting so bad, that he felt he had to address it, or maybe at his age, he wants to do as much as as he can to raise awareness. Regardless of the reason, I am glad he’s doing that because coming from someone as respected as David Attenborough, people may be getting the message. I was surprised when I recently read that he opened an Instagram account (the producers really) for one of his documentaries and he broke a Guinness world record gaining 1 million followers in just 4 hours and 44 minutes, that says something about this popularity.
Seven Worlds, One planet
The most recent documentary I watched was Seven Worlds, One Planet, and wow it did not disappoint, it is truly amazing. On top of showing the beauty of nature (which it had plenty including amazing shots from Angel Falls in Venezuela which made me sigh), the message was clear: this is happening, the natural world is declining and we are part of the problem.
For instance, he bluntly tells us:
- How in the past big whales were freely killed to use the oil in products like margarine and soaps.
- How the rain forest in Indonesia is disappearing due deforestation and the palm industry which oil ends up in most products we buy in the supermarket and that we can make better choices buying products which are at least certified/sustainable.
- How climate change is causing so many challenges for many species around the world, reducing their population and causing these to be at the brink of extinction.
Since I started noticing the trend about him being more clear and open about the state of the environment, I think this is one of the best so far, because without reservation he shares the sense of urgency, it highlights our responsibility to act and it reminds us how our actions will define the destiny of the planet.
Something I really liked is that they also presented some positive stories about how conservation efforts (e.g. regulations, protected species) around the world have been able to bring some species back even when they were at the brink of extinction.
A Life On Our Planet
As I started writing this post, I realised Netflix is about to release this new documentary (and book) which again seems to be precisely about what I am describing above. In his own words:
“This film is my witness statement and my vision for the future“.
I certainly look forward to watch this in the coming days.
Watch and spread the message
If you are reading this post, it probably means you are informed about all these environmental issues, but still so many people out there to reach out. These are perfect documentaries to watch and share with friends and family. I truly wish everyone could watch them.
I have written before the story about how Al Gore documentary “The Inconvenient Truth”, had a big impact on my interest and awareness about the environment years ago. Documentaries are powerful, they can ignite change in a way that other media can’t.
Let’s listen to Sir Attenborough and his call to action. We all have a role to play.
“How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew what was happening to the world and did nothing.”- David Attenborough
Have you watched Sir Attenborough Documentaries? What’s your favourite? Please let me know in the comments below, I usually get to connect with people in social media, but not so much through my blog. Don’t be shy, say hi and share your thoughts ;).