When Sir David Attenborough talks, it’s only right that his subjects (us) should listen.
The voice of Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and basically every other brilliant nature documentary from the past 50 years has issued a heartfelt plea for us to start looking after our planet better, for the good of future humankind.
In a column for the Radio Times, Attenborough wrote about the heartbreaking scene in last week’s episode of Blue Planet II, in which a baby albatross is killed after eating a plastic toothpick which its mother thought was food.
Eight millions tonnes of plastic a dumped into the sea every single year, and it’s responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of sea mammals and turtles, and more than a million birds. A million.
“Never before have we been so aware of what we are doing to our planet – and never before have we had such power to do something about it,” Sir David writes.
“Surely we have a responsibility to care for the planet on which we live? The future of humanity, and indeed of all life on Earth, now depends on us doing so.”
He continues: “Plastic is now found everywhere in the ocean, from its surface to its greatest depths. There are fragments of nets so big they entangle the heads of fish, birds and turtles, and slowly strangle them.
“Other pieces of plastic are so small that they are mistaken for food and eaten, accumulating in fishes’ stomachs, leaving them undernourished.”
But he added that “all is not lost”, and there is responsibility on all of us to “reduce the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives.”
Attenborough also took aim at President Trump and his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement - a commitment that nations make to reduce waste and look after the planet.
“Let us hope that Trump will eventually recognise that the Paris Agreement was not about Pittsburgh, or even Paris, but the entire planet,” Attenborough writes.
Last night’s Blue Planet II saw Attenborough focus on coasts, and included a flock of penguins trying to avoid some very angry elephant walruses, a crab making its treacherous journey across eel-infested shallows, and an adorable puffin family feeding its baby puffling (yes, that’s really what they’re called).
Next week’s episode is the last in the season, and will focus on the impact humans have has on the oceans. It sounds like it’ll be fun fun than the previous episodes, but even more important. We would tell you to tune in, but it’s not like you need convincing.