Attenborough returns with stern warning

Sage: The 93-year-old naturalist standing on a black sand beach in Iceland. © BBC

But is he shying away from blaming humanity? The veteran naturalist returns to our screens on Sunday with a new series, delivering his most radical environmental message yet.

For more than 60 years, David Attenborough has brought the wonder and majesty of the natural world into our living rooms.

Now, he is returning to BBC One with a series that is guaranteed to be one of the year’s television events. Premiering on Sunday, Seven Worlds, One Planet will be the nineteenth major series Attenborough has written and presented.

Born in the same year as the Queen, the veteran broadcaster is, according to YouGov, the most popular man in Britain.

But that doesn’t meant that the 93-year-old is immune from attacks. For years, Attenborough and the BBC Natural History unit were criticised for tacking on brief segments about pollution, while avoiding a direct conversation about humanity’s impact on the planet.

Our Planet, earlier this year, was much more open about discussing the climate crisis. Attenborough says, though, that it is not he who has changed, but the public.

“I don’t think I’ve made a series in the last 40 years where I haven’t made at the end an appeal about caring for the natural world,” says Attenborough.

Dying planet?

Do Attenborough and the BBC avoid blaming humanity for Earth’s destruction? Of course not, say Attenborough and his supporters. These programmes have done more to promote the natural world than anything else in our lifetime. As society has woken up to the crisis, Attenborough has bravely put himself at the front of the fight.

But Lucy Jones disagrees. Our Planet was their first series to show “the realities of ecocide, environmental collapse and climate breakdown”, but “it doesn’t explain why, or in whose name, or with what power fossil fuels continue to be burnt”. By failing to take on the giants of fossil fuels, agriculture and plastic manufacturing, Attenborough and the BBC are shying away from the forces driving the crisis.

You Decide

  1. Why is David Attenborough so popular?

Activities

  1. Research and learn five facts about one animal that will feature in the new series.

Some People Say...

“We are a plague on the Earth.”

David Attenborough

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Seven Worlds, One Planet will be broadcast on BBC One at 6.15pm on Sunday evening. It will become available on BBC iPlayer after each episode has aired.
What do we not know?
If the series will be able to replicate the massive impact of 2017’s Blue Planet II, which triggered a huge public debate and a drive to reduce plastic waste.

Word Watch

Returning
Earlier this year, he temporarily moved to Netflix for his last series Our Planet. It was described as a “one-off” defection.
Veteran
A person with years of experience in one field.
YouGov
A British company that conducts public surveys.
Immune
Resistant to; protected from.
Tacking on
Adding something on without much thought.
Ecocide
The destruction of the natural environment. “-Cide” comes from the Latin “-cīda”, meaning “killer”.

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