David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

By Dan Clendenin

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020)

Sir David Attenborough is now 94 years old. When he was born in 1937, the world population was 2.3 billion. As the archival film footage in this documentary shows, has spent over seventy years traveling to every corner of our globe in order to document and delight in what he unabashedly calls our (former) “Garden of Eden.” But in his one lifetime, he laments, this Edenic paradise has disappeared. Today the world population is 7.8 billion, and headed toward 11 billion by the year 2100. Rain forests are dying. Species have gone extinct. Glaciers are melting. Oceans are warming. All this because of our “blind assault” on the planet. And, he insists, unless we change our ways, things will definitely get worse. We face a sixth Mass Extinction, and “nothing less than the collapse of the living world.” And so Attenborough calls this film his “witness statement.” But we can change, he insists. In the last half of the film, which is less convincing and almost glib, Attenborough argues that it is “quite straightforward” what we need to do, and “simpler than you might think.” Restore biodiversity. Control population growth. Raise the standard of living for all the world while simultaneously reducing our impact (!). Eat more plants and fewer animals. Whatever the case, this film is a marvelous testament to one of our most passionate and articulate advocates for our little blue planet.

Dan Clendenin: dan@journeywithjesus.net

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