Attenborough: ‘Yes we CAN save the planet’

National treasure: Sir David Attenborough was voted the UK’s most popular person in 2018. © BBC

Can a film save the world? Sir David Attenborough hopes it can. In his new documentary, A Life on Our Planet, he predicts a terrifying future for Earth unless we all act now.

What’s happening

When the 28-year-old David Attenborough started his job at the BBC, he had only seen one TV programme.

He learnt quickly. Soon, he had his own show. Zoo Quest was the first time that wild animals had been filmed on location. Now aged 94, the naturalist is still making life-changing films.

Find out more

A Life on Our Planet was released yesterday on Netflix. In the 90-minute film, Sir David Attenborough looks at how the world has changed in the time he has been making TV programmes.

There are beautiful highlights from many of his programmes from Zoo Quest to Blue Planet II.

Attenborough reflects on the important moments he has filmed and looks at the damage that has been done to the planet during his lifetime. He includes coral bleaching and melting ice caps.

Even though the film is scary at times, it ends with a hopeful message. Attenborough tells us that we can stop further destruction if we change now.

“We need to learn how to work with nature, rather than against it. I am going to tell you how,” he says.

Can a film save the world?

Some say…

Yes! David Attenborough is very popular. When he joined Instagram, he gained one million followers faster than anyone else. His films have already succeeded in changing our minds. In 2018, 88% who saw Blue Planet II said they stopped using plastic straws. Millions of people will see this film. It has the power to make a big difference.

Others think…

The film may be inspiring, but it cannot save the world alone. Many people cannot change their lifestyles easily. Others don't want to. The only way to help the planet is for everyone to use green energy such as solar and wind power. It also means protecting endangered animals, rainforests and ice caps. We need governments to help save the world.

You Decide

  1. Should everyone have to watch A Life on our Planet in school?

Activities

  1. With some friends, write a play that tells people about something you have seen in nature. It could be a tree outside, a pet or even a plant pot indoors. If you have a camera, film your play and make a documentary.

Some People Say...

“If we [humans] disappeared overnight, the world would probably be better off.”

David Attenborough

What do you think?

Word Watch

Zoo Quest
A nature series that ran from 1954 to 1963. It was very popular because it brought the wonders of the natural world into people’s homes for the first time.
On location
When a film is made where the story is based, instead of on a movie set. In this case, it means that the animals were filmed in their natural homes rather than in zoos.
Naturalist
Somebody who is an expert in natural history – the study of animals, plants and their natural environments.
Blue Planet II
A sequel to a popular programme, The Blue Planet. This programme had lots of beautiful scenes from the world’s oceans, but it also raised awareness about the problem of plastic in the sea.
Coral bleaching
A process where the plants living inside corals – called algae – die. The corals lose their colour and eventually die, too. This happens when the oceans rise in temperature dramatically.
Ice caps
Huge areas of ice in the North and South Poles. They are melting due to global warming and affecting oceans around the world.
Destruction
When something is destroyed. In other words, when so much damage is done to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.

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