Sir David Attenborough’s documentary series Blue Planet II was the most-watched TV show of 2017. The wonders of the deep blue and its magical ecosystems enchanted viewers right across the UK. However, whilst we remain amazed by the spectacular show that is life on Earth, our actions have meant that we are sat on the brink of its destruction.
Attenborough’s latest documentary, ‘Climate Change – The Facts’, takes the lead from the final sentiment at the end of Blue Planet II: “The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us”. This time however, the approach is much more aggressive, with the facts on climate change being delivered in a way that is hard to ignore. Images of coral reefs teeming with life and monkeys swinging from trees like some real life version of The Jungle Book, are quickly erased from your mind within the first few minutes of the film.
A host of experts and activists from Climate Scientists to University Professors to 16 year old Greta Thunberg, analyse and reaffirm the facts. Rising CO2 levels, melting ice caps, dying species of animals, regions of land submerged underwater – things that scientists and climate change activists have been warning about for years, and that many of us will already be aware of.
These warnings and predictions that were once only made by scientists and climate activists in their reports, are now manifesting themselves into a terrifying reality. Footage of people driving through hell-like burning forests and families scrambling for their lives in freak flash floods are so shocking, that they are reminiscent only of Hollywood blockbuster Thrillers.
One of the most harrowing images in the documentary is that of the thousands of dead Flying Foxes covering the forest floor in Australia. Over 11,000 were surveyed to have died due to an unprecedented increase in temperature last year. Footage like this not only imparts a feeling of sorrow and guilt for the destruction that we are causing to the natural world, but it also creates a sense of anxiety that we may face a similar fate if we do not change our behaviours.
The documentary is successful in highlighting the damage caused by big oil companies and the dangers of ignorance by those in political and institutional power. One quote about climate change from 2015 by the president of the United States, Donald Trump, never ceases to amaze me at how somebody can be so blindly ignorant or self-centred towards their own political and economical agenda: “It’s a hoax, it’s a money making making industry”. Whilst large scale levels of change must be initiated by governments, (and steps are being taken towards this – at the 2015 UN Climate Summit in Paris, for the first time ever nearly every country in the world came to an agreement to hold temperatures below 2 degrees, and try to limit warming by 1.5 degrees) change begins from the bottom up.
There are plenty of steps each of us can take to help the planet. A desire and unresting demand for change from every individual who possesses even an ounce of care for the future of life on Earth, is necessary if we are to halt progression down the dark path we are currently walking. This has been exemplified by the Extinction Rebellion protests that took place in London all of last week. We may not all agree with the radical approach of some of the protests, but they have undoubtedly been successful in bringing Climate Change higher up the political agenda. What is most important now, is that you go and watch the film for yourself, and begin to take action towards change.
Happy Earth Day 2019. Let’s make a difference.