People around the world, especially environmental advocates, recognise David Attenborough as a national treasure. He is a natural historian and broadcaster known for many nature-based documentaries including the Life collection, the nine-part series constituting a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. Attenborough was born in an era where the world was still largely unexplored and has watched as modern society has changed the landscape of the planet.
Attenborough brings viewers along on his adventures during his 93 years on earth in his latest Netflix original David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. The series explores the beauty of the natural world, but at the same time warns of coming disasters if we humans do not recognise what we are doing to our planet.
The documentary begins with Attenborough speaking in an empty house located in Chernobyl, a Ukrainian city that was abandoned after a nuclear accident in 1986. Attenborough uses this setting as an example of human error and bad planning.
He gives a comprehensive narration of his 70-year career in the film, during which he has visited every continent on the globe, explored the wildest places on the planet and documented the living world in all its variety and wonder. However, he has also seen first-hand the monumental impact that humanity has had, and continues to have on nature. In the second half of the film, the legendary broadcaster gives his prediction for the future and pleads to everyone on earth to help rebuild the environment.
In terms of cinematography, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet is a very captivating and charming natural documentary. The narration given by Attenborough, or what he describes as his “witness statement”, is very clear and emotionally charged, despite him being more than 90 years old. This personal account and retrospective are accompanied by breathtaking footage of nature, oceans, marine life, forest wildlife, humans and their activities, which are very persuasive when coupled with Attenborough’s rhetoric.
The narrator’s message is clear – humanity has brought more changes to the earth’s atmosphere in the last century than nature had done in hundreds of millions of years, and humanity itself must act to save the planet, and themselves. With scientific data and real-life demonstrations backing his claims, Attenborough says it is not too late to correct humans’ errors and bad planning, using the successful reforestation of Costa Rica as an example.
“Just imagine if we achieve this on a global scale,” he says.
Now as you are reading this, we suggest you watch this film and think about how your actions affect the environment. Watch it with your children if you have any because they are going to inherit this world once we are gone.
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