David is looking you full in the eye. Do not look away.
You know me a little by now. I am, fundamentally, just like you. I love my family beyond words. I need and appreciate community. Living a loving, sustaining life, what I have left means the world to me. I cannot, and will not, remove myself from the sensory miracle of nature. More, I am lost without it.
And yet, as with everyone with a mind to figure and a voice to shout and a capacity to make choices, I struggle to look my children in the eye.
There is a seemingly impossible amount to be done in such a precious short amount of time. I test myself every dawn. It is a conscious effort. I say to myself, I am not powerless. I must consider my every action, I must fight for the ground on which we stand.
The natural world is dying. The eco-system, our life support, is shutting down. We are directly and rapidly tilting the delicate balance towards irreversible mass extinction. It is stunningly obvious, unless we choose to look away, that we must fundamentally re-evaluate the meaning of life, what our core responsibilities are. And we must change.
Evidence? Who can we look to for reason, logic, the hard truth? Where is the leadership? We are in desperate need for a witness, a qualified, calm voice of reason; someone to look us in the eye.
His name is David Attenborough, the 94-year-old ecologist and broadcaster, and he has just issued an imperative statement that is as clear, concise and compelling a portent as we are every likely to get. There is nothing in it you cannot understand. It is harrowing and yet defines hope. It is a testament to our destruction of nature, our direct responsibility for climate change, and it is a practical guide to stopping it in its tracks before it is too late.
Entitled A Life On Our Planet – a documentary and a book – the science-based statement is also deeply personal and engaging, delivered by one of the most familiar faces in the world, with softly spoken, pragmatic candour. He tells us what we need to know, what we have no choice but to face. Please listen to him. Commit to do it now.
There is, bizarrely, a glimpse of Catalonia within it, but nation is profoundly not the point. This transcends borders and is about all of humanity and how, when we put our minds to it, we can achieve, if we bond together.
Life is NOT, contrary to how we all can feel, locked into a pattern beyond our control. No. Say no, to yourself and to those in power. The name Goliath, that of the giant Philistine warrior slain 3,000 years ago, has become synonymous with institutional power and technology in opposition to decent, sustaining lives for all.
Make choices, on what you buy, what you eat, how you get from A to B, how much you truly need in the material sense; recycle, share, tread softly, and support those who are actively countering climate change, who are re-wilding our Catalonia, Iberia, Europe, the World.
Incrementally, from today, we all can change. The smallest deeds can make a world of difference and the smallest seeds can quickly grow into a belief we can turn this around. David Attenborough’s dire message is simple and direct, as is his answer as to how we counter catastrophe. It is within the power of each and everyone one of us. We just need to face the facts.
“The living world will endure, we humans cannot presume the same.”
“Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.”
David’s witness statement documentary, made in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund, is available on Netflix. See www.wwf.org.uk. Take direct action.