Earth dies screaming in new Attenborough Netflix film A Life on Our Planet, but there is also hope in her deeply personal witness statement for the world’s future
Could David Attenborough be the most polite and best spoken Cassandra of all time? We live in a time when the end seems closer than ever, the 94-year-old has become a hero and even though he delivers his omens of doom over the perilous state of our planet, his attitude at the bedside still remains impeccable. .
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Holy, he is, but he’s also upbeat and no bullshit. There is a controlled anger in this ancient planetary and his warnings and pleas have become more urgent as he ages. Recently, he joined Instagram to get the message across that there is an emergency on planet Earth, and he’s logged two million followers in the time it takes for a Kardashian to show a butt. And in what can surely pass as the ultimate 21st century accolade, Attenborough even had a cake made in his image during a recent episode of The Great British Cake.
In this new Netflix auteur film, he’s literally ready to save the world. It is a human-made account of life on our planet who has seen more of the natural world than any other. This is his witness statement on global decline, and he is an expert witness on how we turned wonderland into a desert, how we exile ourselves from the Garden of Eden as we keep repeating sin. original to disrespect and destroy our planet.
In the second half of the film, a more upbeat and upbeat Attenborough comes across as a less picky Slartibartfast as he comes up with exciting and financially sound solutions to the myriad problems facing life on earth.
It begins at Chernobyl, the site of the costliest environmental disaster in history. Once a city of 50,000 inhabitants, it is now completely abandoned, the shells of Soviet-era buildings littered with shattered glass and lives left in panic. It’s an apocalyptic scene and Attenborough’s bet that we’re destined to repeat on a global scale if we don’t bring the daily destruction of Earth under control.
Speaking with urgency and not without sadness, he delivers a series of chilling statistics on how our blue and green globe has declined over the next century. We have cut down three trillion trees, 70% of all birds are now domesticated, the ice caps have become 40% depleted in just forty years, and we have managed to accumulate enough damage for another mass extinction in just 200 years. . . Usually you need 10,000. As Attenborough says, it’s a blind assault on the planet.
Most frightening of all, the film displays a counter plotting the world’s population, carbon emissions, and percentage of wilderness remaining, from 1927, the year Attenborough was born, to 2020. It’s a sight to behold. Breathtaking.
As the title suggests, A life on our planet is also autobiographical and Attenborough revisits his first BBC television appearances in the fifties when traveling the world as some kind of anxious patrician in a safari costume, to landmark series like The Ravishing 1979 Life on earth and Blue planet. However, looking back, he realizes that what he’s been exploring all this time is an endangered world, something he noticed as early as the late fifties when he broke through. a path through the descending jungles of Borneo.
Of course, his new movie is beautifully shot and scored, Steven Price’s pumped-up soundtrack gives everything real grandeur, and the scenery is beautiful, which makes it all the more depressing as we destroy it.
It’s hard not to come to the inescapable conclusion that we are the enemy. Not so much Netflix and chill as Netflix and dread, then, but all is not gloomy. In the second half of the film, a more upbeat and optimistic Attenborough comes across as a less picky Slartibartfast as it offers exciting and financially sound solutions to the myriad problems facing life on earth with increasing use of renewable energy and controlling population growth. We have to work with nature and not against it if we are to survive, this is Attenborough’s simple message.
Back in Chernobyl, the forest has invaded the city and wild animals roam the deserted streets. As all signs of human life fade and decay, nature is doing its job. It will prevail. We can not. If you think of the current plague as a reckoning, Mother Nature’s way of getting us back on track, then Attenborough’s urgent film comes at exactly the right time.
It is a time for self-analysis and a time to reassess who and what we are. Obviously, when the Covid passes, we will fall back into greedy greed. After all, this is what we do best.
In the meantime, Attenborough’s deeply personal and deeply moving advocacy is an essential, if not mandatory viewing.
Alan Corr @ CorrAlan2
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet debuts on Netflix on Sunday, October 4