“At last nations are coming together and recognising we all live on the same planet. All these seven worlds are actually one and we are dependent on it for every mouthful of food we eat and every breath of air we take. We have it in our hands and we’ve made a tragic, desperate mess of it so far.”
As Sir David Attenborough launches his latest, and perhaps most ambitious, series to date, Seven Worlds, One Planet, his words ring out not only as a warning, but as an incentive for us to work together to save our planet. Sir David, who perhaps more than anyone is worthy of the old cliche, a “British Treasure”, said the new seven-part series, filmed across the seven continents, puts the message of looking after the planet “at the heart” of each episode. He has widely spoken of this tragic, desperate mess human beings have made of the planet – and we can only hope that with the screening of this series more people will not only change their convictions, but also their lifestyles, as a contribution to the effort to combat climate change.
Sir David is one of the country’s most recognisable and dearly loved people across all age groups. He walked on to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this year to deafening applause and thanked everyone for not drinking out of plastic bottles. Yet, as he himself admits, there can be very few people under the age of 75 who can remember a time when his distinct voice didn’t grace the airwaves, as he brought the natural world into the homes of millions. And this new series, which begins airing on 27th October on BBC1, affirms his passionate plea to take heed of all the warnings before it is too late.
The series took four years to complete, and the incredible footage is the result of some truly remarkable filming feats. The team behind the series described how they took drones over “volcanoes, waterfalls, icebergs and underground into caves” to shoot heart-wrenching animal dramas. It also involved underwater filming, with some stunning footage of marine life.
Sir David, who presents the series, is clear about the message it intends to voice. “Look after the natural world, the animals in it and the plants in it too. This is their planet as well as ours. Don’t waste.” He goes on to say, “We are now universal, our influence is everywhere. We have it in our hands, and we made a tragic, des[perate mess of it so far.” When asked how we are able to save the planet, Sir David’s message was clear. “Don’t waste things, Don’t waste electricity, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food – live the way you want to live, but just don’t waste.” And as we have seen, the young are the ones carrying the environmental torch. And quite right – they have the most to lose and the most to gain.
The Isle of Bute, the glorious Scottish Island on which our company is based, is a real microcosm of life, with all the issues that you find in wider society. But we are proud that we are cognisant of the needs of our world, and the small local population do all they can to protect the environment in which they live. We have Beachwatch Bute, with full-time workers and volunteers, who work tirelessly to keep out beaches free from litter, mostly washed up from the sea, and to look out for dangers to wildlife. The local museum, visitor centre, photographers and guides all encourage locals and visitors alike to experience our wonderful wildlife – but to do it responsibly. Our island is beautiful – “Bute is Beautiful” as you will see on hundreds of bumper stickers around the island – and we are doing all we can to keep it that way.
We are playing our part as best we can. Please watch Sir David’s latest series, enjoy it’s glorious photography and soak up the message it puts across. And most important – act on it.
My photograph shows St Ninian’s Bay on the Isle of Bute, looking out towards the craggy peaks of the Isle of Arran.