A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough [9/10]

Watch this and weep and rage and keen with hope, and then act. David Attenborough’s witness statement, “A Life on Our Planet,” is his crowning achievement over a lifetime of outstanding work. Working through his life chronologically, and injecting every now and then three key metrics – global population, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the percentage of wildlife still existing – in a stark fusillade of factual bullets, the 93-year-old mines his 60-year autobiography to inform and preach. Attenborough is thoroughly honest about his lack of early comprehension about the unfolding climate and biodiversity catastrophe and thoroughly honest about our united culpability. Towards the end, he outlines the obvious ameliorative steps – an urgent shift to zero-carbon energy, a moratorium on land and sea loss, and a program of plant/animal rewilding – with that commanding voice of his, and I swear it, I didn’t know whether to wilt or awaken. Both, probably. A Life on Our Planet is, in my modest estimation, the one 2020 film essential above all others.

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