At the beginning of Sir David Attenborough’s film on Netflix, A Life on Our Planet, he stands within the area of devastation after the Chernobyl explosion and radioactive pollution, surrounded by nature as it recovers. Nature is very strong, flexible and enduring. He sees this as a reason why humans can repair the planet after years of abuse. He says that back in 1954 when he started on his illustrious journey as a wildlife presenter he didn’t realise that humans could exterminate whole species. He didn’t realise that iconic species such as the rhinoceros could be threatened with extinction by humans. At that time it would have seemed unbelievable but of course, now, it is highly believable. He reminds us that the natural world has been degraded and in some parts it has vanished around us.
Another disaster, the coronavirus pandemic, has enlightened many people to the importance of nature and that we should be sensitive towards it and protect it. Attenborough says that “More have found solace in the natural world. We have ceased to be quite so urban as we were”.
He wants humankind to truly live in harmony with nature which is going to take a paradigms shift in the cultures of the world. For centuries humankind has abused and used nature, ignored sustainability and disregarded the long-term damage that it is doing to the planet. He hopes that a dramatic change will take place. It will take a dramatic change in attitude by humankind to live in harmony with nature. It is not a concept that comes readily to mind to humankind as a whole. Of course, there are hundreds of millions people who are totally tuned in to Sir David Attenborough’s thoughts. But there are far too many, the majority currently, who, you could argue, never have these thoughts. It hasn’t crossed their minds that they are destroying the planet, the very thing that keeps them alive.