David Attenborough’s life lesson to children: Reside life, simply don’t waste

Seven Worlds, One Planet, David Attenborough’s gorgeous celebration of Earth’s biodiversity, prepares a brand new technology to avoid wasting a good looking world


25 October 2019

Humpback whales blow “nets” of bubbles as they spiral inwards on their catch of krill.


The ground of St Andrew’s Bay in South Georgia is suffering from sea anemones, starfish and three-metre-long nematode worms. Large jellyfish are solely occasional guests to the bay, however one occurred by throughout the filming of Antarctica, the primary episode of the BBC’s new pure historical past flagship sequence, Seven Worlds One Planet, with David Attenborough fronting the present.

It had strayed into the bay from the open ocean, and rapidly regretted it. “You assume it’s the enormous jellyfish that’s going to be consuming the ocean anemones,” explains Fredi Devas, Antarctica’s producer, “nevertheless it’s the ocean anemones which can be reeling it in. They only seize maintain of the jellyfish’s tentacles and devour it.”

This is likely one of the extra ugly, visually spectacular and technically demanding sequences assembled from 80 expeditions in 41 nations by a 1500-strong crew, lots of whom have devoted three years of their lives to the sequence.


David Attenborough, in fact, is there to elucidate what we’re seeing, in what have to be his most formidable try and deal with the world’s biodiversity and selection.

Through the first screening of the present, he had some inexperienced life classes for the world’s kids, as Indian and South African children have been video-linked into the occasion. Once they requested him what they might do to assist animals and save the planet, he had a message of hope, saying that the older they obtained, the extra they might do.

However his most pressing message was that whereas they need to reside the best way they wished, the trick was “simply don’t waste”: take care of the pure world, and its animals and crops as a result of it’s their planet too. Seven Planets, One World is a part of an formidable plan by the BBC Studios Pure Historical past Unit to launch a serious, conservation-minded sequence yearly till 2023.

The business logic for that is clear: Blue Planet 2 was watched by round 750 million folks. However there are different motivations: the local weather disaster, and the gathering tempo of extinctions; and the need to use a stream of recent applied sciences, together with quieter drones, higher batteries, lighter cameras, and improved low mild efficiency. “The upshot is we are able to inform tales as one would with a scripted drama,” says govt producer Jonny Keeling.

Organized by continent, and reflecting the range of life that emerged on every huge landmass as soon as the supercontinent of Pangaea broke up 200 million years in the past, Seven Worlds combines geology, local weather and pure historical past to spotlight our extraordinary current. It’s a time by which a single species — people — finds itself having to fret in regards to the dwelling methods of the whole planet.

It’s not all dangerous information. Within the Antarctica episode, eerily lit pictures of deserted whaling stations, whose actions introduced a number of species to the brink of extinction, mark a darkish second in our ecological story. However whale numbers are recovering, and to show the purpose, the episode additionally reveals the most important aggregation of nice whales ever filmed, as 150 animals unfold spiralling nets of bubbles to assemble a harvest of krill.

Nevertheless it’s the extra intimate tales that profit most from the movie business’s suite of recent and fast-improving applied sciences. A slim, probe-like lens was used to strategy the nest of a grey-headed albatross on South Georgia, and afforded us essentially the most shifting, and disconcerting picture of the movie.

New Scientist Default Image
A gray-headed albatross chick struggles to stay in its nest throughout a storm

The extraordinary factor is, albatross mother and father don’t acknowledge their chicks outdoors the nest they’ve constructed for them. Now storms whose energy is being massively exacerbated by local weather change are blowing the chicks out of their nests. It’s the principle motive why albatross numbers have halved within the final 15 years.

Watching the plight of a single chick, at dying’s door, unable to draw the eye of its mum or dad, is actually an emotive second, nevertheless it’s additionally an vital demonstration of what the Baltic German biologist Jakob Johann von Uexküll, in 1909, dubbed the “Umwelt”.

Each animal has an Umwelt, an setting by which it exists and evolves its personal world of which means. The remainder of the world goes by nearly unnoticed. People discover extra of the world than many different animals. Certainly, it’s vanishingly unlikely that another species on the planet notices as a lot as we do.

However we nonetheless don’t discover every part. And that’s the reason a TV present like Seven Worlds, coming after so many earlier ground-breaking reveals, can nonetheless make us catch our breath. The world actually continues to be filled with surprises.

Seven Worlds One Planet, BBC 2, 6:15pm BST, Sunday 27 October

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