On October 4th Netflix released the most waited documentary (perhaps) of the year: a life on our Planet, by David Attenborough.
For those of you who don’t know him, David Attenborough is living legend and monument of environmentalism. He became his television career in the 50s by travelling the world and documenting about wildlife, ecosystems and forgotten communities. He passionately narrated the most extreme weather conditions and reported the most bizarre examples of evolution on Earth. Following the great success of the series “Our Planet” from last year, Netflix decided to produce a new documentary with the legend and his unmistakable voice. This time, Mr Attenborough does not bring us in any particular place but decides to tell us the story and the evolution of the ecosystem we live on as he witnessed during the 93 years he spent living on it.
I often find it hard to find evidence to convince whoever I am talking with about the seriousness of the climate emergency we live on. I think studies and statistics bore people: they are often complicated to decipher, they contain words designed for academic knowledge and the implications of charts and graphs are not always immediate. On the other hand, I often stumble across misleading pictures and videos on the internet, which proved to be much more popular among profanes but unfortunately they do not represent the reality: they just exaggerate a single episode for the sake of clickbait.
This documentary has come as a gift from Heaven: we have now a 90 minutes HD quality documentary which has been built as a perfect tool to deliver an important message.
We start in Chernobyl, known to all for the explosion of the 4th reactor of the nuclear plant. From there, we go on to resume the travels and wonders Mr Attenborough has witnessed and wholeheartedly reported throughout his life. Knowledge being dropped like rain during British winter, we enter the phase of the documentary where we are presented with the scenario we heading to. It is not in a thousand year, or a few centuries: it is happening now and we are likely to lose control by the end of this century. I like the way the catastrophic scenario we are into is shown: no metaphors, no possibilities, no “if”s, just numbers related to the timeline, the first effects to come into action within the next 10 years.
In the end, there is space left to proposals, which in reality are not. We do not have a choice: if we decide not to take any action we will go extinct. This has nothing to do with the Planet itself: there have been 5 mass extinctions so far in 5bln years, but the planet has kept rotating around the Sun, and Nature has always regenerated itself. We will disappear and we will be what dinosaurs are for us today: an element of curiosity and study for few, a cinematic success and business for many.
Actions to be taken IMMEDIATELY are simple and under everyone eyes: we need to change our lifestyle and this means to rethink just about anything we do today. The food we eat, the way we grow it, the way we move around, the way we transform1 and use energy. We desperately need wildlife to go back to where they rightly belonged before we started to eradicate their habitat to plant palms so they can help the various ecosystems to be healthy again. We need to do all these things, and we need to do it now because in case you were still doubtful (or unless you are Donald Trump) time is running out.
As David Attenborough states towards the end: “We need to stop being apart from Nature and be a part of Nature”.
Thank you, Mr Attenborough. The world needs more people like you.
Note1: It is time that we all start to understand a bit more about energy. We don’t produce and consume energy, because the first law of Conservation of Energy states that energy is conserved. Thus we more likely transform energy and use it (inefficiently) throughout any process. We produce electricity to light up a bulb: what we really do is extracting energy from a certain source (coal, oil, gas etc) by burning it and transforming it in electricity to lighten up our streets.