Species under threat

Submitted by AWL on 30 October, 2019 - 10:58 Author: Steve Allen

David Attenborough returned to our screens on Sunday 27 October with his latest documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet.

The series devotes an episode to each continent and the wildlife they support. In the introduction, Attenborough states that climate change is the most significant event to affect the planet since continental drift began 200 million years ago.

Most of the stories relate to how climate change is affecting the featured animals.

Episode one focuses on Antarctica, 98% of which is covered in ice and largely uninhabitable for humans. We see stunning footage of St Andrew’s Bay on South Georgia, home to half a million King penguins. We witness Gentoo penguins take their first plunge into the icy waters, and albatrosses sheltering their young from bitter storms.

Melting glaciers endanger the Gentoo penguins, and more violent storms threaten the albatross chicks.

Attenborough explains the threat of rising sea levels and warming of the oceans. Antarctica is crucial in maintaining the planet’s equilibrium.

Last year’s Blue Planet II is sometimes credited for changing the public’s attitude to plastic. Perhaps this new series will encourage more climate activism, by reminding us of the wonderful wildlife that could disappear if we don’t act.

The drift is towards seeing climate change as a problem that can be solved by individual lifestyle changes.

Despite that, there is a nod towards international action. The international ban on commercial whale hunting (signed by all nations except Japan, Iceland and Norway) is credited for the recovery in whale populations.

The show ends on a positive note, insisting that catastrophe can still be prevented if we make an effort to maintain our precious ecosystems.

• Seven Worlds, One Planet continues Sunday 3 November on BBC One at 6:15pm. Episode one now available on BBC iPlayer.

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