David Attenborough’s new Netflix film is going to make you cry, but you should watch it anyway

David Attenborough’s new Netflix film is going to make you cry, but you should watch it anyway

Words by Lucinda Colt

If we do not change things, we will be the biggest casualties.

Our beloved, iconic-voiced naturalist and all-round environmental legend is back with his new film A Life on Our Planet.

The documentary is David Attenborough’s witness statement, which addresses the biggest challenges facing life on our planet. At age 94, Sir David has explored the wonders of our wild world, documenting to millions how rich and interconnected our biodiverse environment is. In his lifetime, however, he has also unwittingly borne witness to how our planet and its wild spaces have been destroyed by human activity. And how, if we do not change things, we will be the biggest casualties.

In the trailer, he warns: “The natural world is failing. The evidence is all around. It’s happening in my lifetime. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, it will lead to our destruction.”

Watching the first half of this documentary last week made me sob, feel utterly hopeless, and extremely angry. Sound depressing? Absolutely it was, but that, I think, has galvanised people into action.

I swear, it’s not all sombre and tears the whole way through. Towards the end of this doco, Sir David offers a powerful message of hope for future generations. This had me reaching for my notes app and furiously typing out his every directive.

For your convenience, and the Earth’s, these are the crucial suggestions I noted down that we can all take on board:

1. Put your money where your mouth is
Where you invest, store and spend your money really makes a statement. Most of us are unaware what our banks and super invest our hard-earned dollars in, let alone whether they align with our values and ethics. Fossil fuels are still largely invested in by a range of banks. In a future where we can’t rely on this finite resource, let your money speak for you by finding a bank that invests ethically, for example in renewable energy. I recently switched to Up Banking, but here is a table that shows most banks and their stance on this that you can use to help your decision making: marketforces.org.au/info/compare-bank-table

2. Eat yo’ greens
In the important quest to rewild our planet and build back our biodiversity, the main obstacle in the way is the massive scale of land used for farming purposes. In a world where most of our animals are domesticated, this is an important issue. The way individuals can tackle this issue is by eating a largely plant based diet, with Sir David saying this would half the amount of land used for farming.

3. Protect our remaining forests
As the last pockets of remaining wild and havens for biodiverse pockets of wildlife, our forests need to be protected. Being the lungs of our Earth with their massive supply of oxygen, they are vital to us humans too. We need to halt deforestation everywhere. Use your voice, petitions, letters to parliament, whatever you can think of. Being an activist has never been so important.

4. Waste not, want not
Rethink your consumption of products, especially plastic. There has been a massive push to reduce plastic use, with the rise of biodegradable cups for our smoothies to paper straws. There are a variety of resources such as books to aid you in pursuing a waste-free lifestyle. Buy a metal straw, bring your own bags to the supermarket, buy those shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes. It is now easier than ever to make more environmentally conscious choices.

5. Most importantly, none of this needs to be done perfectly
It doesn’t take every person tackling climate change perfectly to make a difference, but lot’s doing what they can with what resources they have. If that means having Meat-free Monday, bringing your straw in your bag with you, signing petitions, voting consciously, educating yourself and others, all of these seemingly small things can make an impactful change.

So shed those tears while you watch this doco and let’s all make the Bro proud.

A Life on Our Planet is on Netflix now. Check out the trailer below.