Review copy received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review
A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Non-fiction, auto-biography, environmental/climate awareness & science
Published: 1st October 2020 by Ebury Press (Random House UK) and 6th October 2020 by Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book)
Brilliance was what I’ve expected from Attenborough, and brilliance was exactly what I got.
As a book which I thought was remarkably compact for one on environmental and climate awareness/science, A Life on Our Planet was an immensely well-written, concise and insightful narrative. Attenborough’s ‘Witness Statement’, a summarised memoir of sorts, outlined the changes wrought on the planet from the time when he was just eleven and through the intervening years of his illustrious career as a broadcaster, natural historian and writer, up until 2020. With just three statistical numbers – world population, carbon in atmosphere, and remaining wilderness – he was able to portray such a shockingly drastic deterioration of life on our planet that occurred just within the span of a human life. The world’s population has more than tripled, carbon in the atmosphere increased by almost 50% and remaining wilderness almost halved. The picture is thoroughly depressing.
The next two sections talk about what lies ahead of us if we continue living as we do in the present and his vision for the future with proper and sustainable efforts to re-wild the world. Biodiversity is what keeps Earth stable and balanced, with its resources constantly renewable to sustain life on the planet. However, the demands of the human race have far outstripped Earth’s capacity to renew. As depressing as it may all appear to be, it is heartening to note that there have been progress made in certain sectors or countries, with notable impact in the targeted areas. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to awareness of what is happening and the impact of our choices in our daily lives on the planet that we live in. What truly infuriates is when some seem to be deliberately ignorant or obtuse about environmental or climate issues, and I’ve definitely come across such behaviour from personal experience.
I certainly will recommend this book as an authoritative, and easily digestible narrative to raise environmental awareness for everyone. There’s also the excellent audiobook read by the author himself, as well as a new documentary available on Netflix for those less inclined to read.