David Attenborough’s “A Life on Our Planet” starts from Chernobyl, an area that was laid waste following a nuclear disaster in 1986. In the film, Attenborough provides an overview of his life, this includes footage of his career reporting on a wide variety of ecosystems. He highlights the key indicators of how the planet has changed over his lifetime. His career in documentaries began at the BBC in the 1950s. He first visited places such as the African Serengeti, a vast, pristine and unspoilt habitat populated by huge numbers of animals with extensive annual grazing patterns. Over time Attenborough noticed a decline in the wildlife he sought for his documentaries. Polar regions were different to what film crews expected due to ice caps melting, animal migrations altered because of drought and deforestation for agriculture shrunk many niche habitats. The causes of these changes are anthropogenic climate change and biodiversity loss. In other words, human influence on the climate and land use. The film’s key message is that our planet is being pushed towards a sixth mass extinction event over a period of centuries rather than the hundreds of millennia that built up to previous mass extinctions.
Attenborough describes the film as his “witness statement”. He gives foresight into what could happen to our planet over the course of a lifetime beginning in 2020 and lasting as long as his own, were human activity to continue unchanged. The Amazon rainforest could degrade into a savanna; the Arctic could lose all ice during summer; coral reefs could die; overuse of soil could cause food crises. These irreversible events would cause mass extinction and exacerbate climate change further.
However, Attenborough describes actions which could prevent these effects and combat climate change and biodiversity loss. He asserts that the solution has been “staring us in the face all along”. “To restore stability to our planet, we must restore its biodiversity. The very thing that we’ve removed.” He proposes that bringing countries out of poverty, providing universal healthcare and improving girls’ education would make the growing human population stabilise sooner and at a lower level. Renewable energy such as solar, wind, water and geothermal could sustainably power ALL human energy usage.
At Boston Renewables we are passionate about renewable technologies. We believe that any business in the UK that does not currently have renewables as part of, or all of its energy portfolio should adopt these technologies now and contribute to saving our planet. A solar pv array installed today will deliver a supply of green electricity for over 30 years at a 75% discount to the value of grid supplied power. So, it’s a win win for solar pv; it helps to save the planet and unnecessary expense.
No one technology or strand of policy will turn the tide of ecological change, but all of us doing something to help, will. Everyone will benefit from a world where nature is in balance, the technology is here, it exists, so why not invest in it?