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Friday, October 23, 2020


His style is wonderfully elegant and easy to read, and he radiates positivity. (Review by Keith Millar)

A Life On Our Planet is Sir David Attenborough’s insightful, if somewhat chilling, witness statement, and his vision for the future of our planet amidst growing global warming and biodiversity loss.

By using the word ‘chilling’ I do not for a moment wish to detract from the wonderful positivity Attenborough displays when discussing his vision and his blueprint for what we would have to do to save our planet.

It is more based on my own cynicism and a feeling of despair at the likelihood of mankind ever working together to the degree which is required for the solution to work.

In the first section of the book, 94 year old Attenborough bears witness to his own personal experiences of how the world’s biodiversity has been negatively impacted.

Using his own experiences as a naturalist and film maker, he shows how - over his career of 70 years - enormous changes have taken place in how we use the planet.

In 1937, the world population was 2.3 billion people, and the remaining wilderness was 66%. In 2020, the population has grown to 7,8 billion people and the remaining wilderness has shrunk to 35%. The United Nations estimates that there could be 12,7 billion people on earth by the year 2100.

This, along with factors such as climate change, biodiversity loss, the acidification of the oceans and air pollution, is committing Earth to failure.

However, Sir David Attenborough offers a solution. We must re-wild the world!

In the second part of the book, he explains his vision of how this could be achieved. He discusses how he feels that this is the only way to turn things around and how this is our last chance to save the world.

He relates many instances where very successful initiatives have already been made on an international scale. These should set the example for everyone else to follow. Of course, these initiatives are good news, so they seldom receive any publicity in our media.

If, like me, you are aware of the problems facing our planet but do not really have the scientific nous to fully understand the impact, and what we as individuals can do to be part of the solution, then A Life On Our Planet is a must for you.

Who better explain the background, the current situation, and the possible solutions to us than the wonderful and revered naturalist, Sir David Attenborough?

His style is wonderfully elegant and easy to read, and he radiates positivity. I found the book to be compelling reading. Difficult to put down, which is unusual for a “scientific” book.

To finish, I quote Sir David Attenborough: “We are the first generation to fully understand the problem – and the last with a chance to do anything about it”.

Jonnie Hughes is credited as co-author of the book. A documentary film which is a companion to this book is available on Netflix.

A Life On Our Planet is published by Witness Books (Part of the Penguin Random House group). The ISBN is 9781529108279. Recommended retail price is R340. – Keith Millar