A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough is, in his words: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future. It is a lovely read and really interesting, a page turner. I imagine that everybody in UK know who David Attenborough is. He published the book at 94, last year. With an extraordinary life, in his book he talks about what happened to him, how he got in front of the camera instead of being behind it. He talks about his experiences, which are incredible. Naturally, he focuses on Earth and how it changed in his lifetime. I am much younger and I am also 1 of the 3+ billion people born after 1980.

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

Earth is now facing the 6th mass extinction – ours. He is too optimistic in what we can do and this is why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5.  Attenborough is right, of course, if we all move towards green energy, at least towards a mainly plant-based diet, and just stop wasting food, we might avoid killing our futures, or, more accurate, killing the futures of our children and grandchildren. But, in reality, for enough of us to take these measures is not realistic. We could stop throwing away good food because we don’t like the first slice of bread, the carrot is not straight enough, or we want a specific fruit/veggie and not what can be available at the shop (which, in turn, makes the shops buy more so buyers have “options” and this is how we are exhausting our options for the future and in the future). If we had enough empathy, towards animals, wildlife, or each other we would have done this already.

I highly recommend the book. I will also give a couple of quotes from the book. Enjoy.

(65) “We do not have a special place. We are not the preordained and final pinnacle of evolution. We are just another species in the tree of life.”

(153) “These subsidies keep the boats fishing, even when there are too few fish left for the work to be profitable. In effect, public money is being used to empty the open ocean. The worst offenders are China, the EU, the USA, South Korea and Japan, all nations that can afford to end this practice.”

(170) “Beef makes up about a quarter of the meat that we eat, and only 2% of our calories, yet we dedicate 60% of our farmland to raising it.”

(204) “The present habit of throwing everything away, even though, on a finite planet there is of course no such thing as away, is a relatively new thing.

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

Details about the picture: dried flowers are only appropriate for this book
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Witness Book
Year it was published: 2020
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Non-fiction – Memoir or Science, I included in my science tab
Pages: 266

About the author: Sir David Frederick Attenborough is a naturalist and broadcaster, who is most well-known for writing and presenting the nine “Life” series, produced in conjunction with BBC’s Natural History Unit.
The series includes Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), Life in the Freezer (about Antarctica; 1993), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Birds (1998), The Life of Mammals (2002), Life in the Undergrowth (2005), and Life in Cold Blood (2008).
Website & Social Media Links: attenboroughfilm

6 thoughts on “A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough”

    • It is a very good book, especially as he talks about his life. I’ve decided not to include mentions of that because I did not want to give spoilers. 🙂

  • Both David and his brother Richard Attenborough, are both true icons of our British society and I have been following David’s films and books since I was young.
    However, I fear this is another subject which it may be best not to get me started on. Yes! I agree that me going vegetarian or even vegan is going to help in some small way and if we all did it, then clearly that would make a real difference. Recycling 90% of our household waste, which is what we manage to achieve her in parts of Somerset, is impressive and useful. However those are not the real ‘big ticket’ things we could do. We have survived for a year now without managing to jump onto a plane and leave the country and that really has made a difference, so why go back to that way of life again? Most of us have worked perfectly well from home rather than sitting in rush hour traffic with our engines idling, so why go back to that again? Many of us have not spent lockdown online shopping, but have realised that we don’t really need all that ‘stuff’ we buy, so why go back to that again? Those are the things that can make an immediate and tangible difference, but they might be a bit more difficult than not having that steak when we are free to go out for meals again!! Those are the things that need to change, surely? The first quote you shared was probably the most profound and I totally agree with David when he says that we are on a path to self extinction if we don’t act soon. We are the masters of our own demise! There was quite an old ‘cheesy’ film on the other night called ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ but the messaging behind it was really sound … https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970416/ I love that you read so much non-fiction, as there is always scope for a good debate 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you Yvonne xx

      Going vegan or vegetarian would help in a big way, as animal agriculture is responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions (data from 2017, before pandemic when it was less travel). Even that would not be enough, as you said, recycling when we buy, but, even better, to think if we need to buy that thing in the first place. Going on holidays for a couple of weeks instead of “city breaks” which involve lots of air travel for a night or two. Working from home again is great, I’ve been doing it for a decade and it’s so much better than going to the office, like before. But, only making small, gradual changes are not enough. I don’t think is enough to work from home once a month and eat a veggie meal instead of beef once a week, it should be the other way around, the polluting things to be done less.

      It’s quite ironic. Before the pandemic I was asked often what I cooked, because my food is interesting, I was asked where I visited and I haven’t left UK since I moved here 9 years ago and… even more, we usually go camping/with the caravan. But, we do see lots of museums and castles, etc. Our friends were flying to Italy, spending a few days on the beach for the Summer holidays and their stories from holidays were taking less to tell than a random weekend for us. But the following year they were still flying to Italy or Spain and still saying that they didn’t do much, just sleeping and eating.

  • I would say David Attenborough is a name known globally. (or should be) This sounds like a very interesting book. I think we have to find optimism somewhere or it can become overwhelming. I have followed J. Morris Hicks for years and sometimes his articles can be really depressing. (you can look at https://hpjmh.com if you want to know more about him) I’ll look and see if this is available through my library app.
    Kelly recently posted…Dogs with JobsMy Profile

    • Thank you for the link, I will check it. For me, the optimism in the book was a bit too unrealistic. We, as a race, can’t do slow changes hoping that it will make a difference, that was what we could have done maybe 30-40 years ago. I think today we need to do more.
      The book is very interesting, as he talks about his personal experience, which is so fascinating, but I did not want to share about that, not to spoil the book for others.

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