hadawada's review

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challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring medium-paced

4.75

davidgilani's review

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4.0

Listen to the audiobook - cause obvs David has a beautiful voice.

What I really liked about this book is that David Attenborough focused this book on the topic for which he really is an expert (biology and species diversity). He didn't go too far into the wider science of climate change (where he's not as much an expert)... he DID focus on how the impact of climate change is effecting animals and species diversity around the world.

The only thing that was slightly frustrating is that a lot of the copy from this book is the same as in the documentary that he released on the same topic. I had watched that previously and so some of the arguments / examples were repetitive.

booksofgayle's review

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hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

4.5

monique3's review

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challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

5.0

"We humans, alone on Earth, are powerful enough to create worlds, and then to destroy them" 

Attenborough’s new book has a deeply moving message. It’s an easy and captivating read along with the addition of sketches from his career and our world and various illustrations. Introducing us to his witness statement and visions for the future, he presents us with Pripyat, a model town that turned into an irreversible tragedy for humanity. He quickly addresses how our greatest mistake is not recognising the signs of danger sooner or ignoring the signs, allowing us to end up here, like the scientists in the reactor. However, he also concludes his work with the hope of opportunity, again explaining how nature and wildlife reclaimed Pripyat, showing there is a chance for us and the world to live together, if we can balance our intake and keep biodiversity alive. It’s sad and scary to read of the scope of what we’ve done throughout the generations and how we ignored, hid, or denied a real issue allowing us to ravish the planet to this moment of time which is now make or break. But despite the distress of the plight, Attenborough’s most important message is hope. We still have a brilliant opportunity, a chance to avoid a disastrous future and I truly hope Attenborough’s message wakes people up, gives them hope he has found. I hope I can start making my own small changes for the future. 
 
Each chapter of his witness statement is headed with a year and the figures of the world population, carbon in the atmosphere and remaining wilderness around the world. Each chapter shows the population rise and as a result, seeing the effect it has on the increasing carbon and the lowering of the wilderness. Through each year he takes us on a personal tour of his career and how as he grew with television and his passion for wildlife and educating, he begins to notice the changes around the world. He demonstrates how he and many others began to bring the awareness of nature and the environment to the people through TV and how such broadcasting adventures led to saving gorillas, whales and other species throughout the years. He discusses how TV has now turned towards acknowledging global warming and building up on various ways to save the planet as they had done throughout history with other campaigns. 

It’s sad to read how our rubbish, domestic animals and everything of human interference takes up 96% of Earth, meaning the wild earth and wildlife remains in the last 4%- that’s so small. We’ve not let the Earth breathe, just kept taking and taking without giving back. We started off as part of the biodiversity and now we’re destroying it. We over-fished, we over-bred our livestock, we over-killed, we over-destroyed, we took more than the Earth could produce. Attenborough takes us through what lies ahead in the next 100 years if we do not change and it’s frightening and closer than we think. But, he also shows we still have the time to turn it around and balance humanity with nature, he gives excitement and relief to know if we all made the effort, us and the Earth can survive.

In his future vision, Attenborough expresses the vital need to protect and bring back biodiversity, to find stability with ourselves and nature again to both thrive. Each chapter gives different points of what we are already doing and what we can start/plan on doing to succeed in bringing biodiversity back and kept safe. It all seems so very possible, but it depends so much not on our own power, but of the higher powers of each country’s government to put these plans into action and support the people, other nations and the planet itself. The lifestyle of the wealthy is also a key change to how we are, this group is the most unsustainable. We all need to live equally and healthily to keep civilisation going and restore our planet. Yes, it all seems very utopian in vision, I know, I scoffed a few times reading this… but he has a point. If we can “rewild” the world, if we can restore it to how it was before our population boom, we could have a better quality of life and allow future generations to live, not watching our own extinction. But as much as there’s hope, it also feels incredibly impossible at this stage, everything feels very hopeless, but good ol’ Attenborough still buries that seed of hope, even me and my miserable self sees his determination for hope for change to win out.

He also leaves an extensive glossary and notes in the back to help readers learn more and participate in their own research using the resources he has also used to help write this book.


Favourite Quotes

"We humans, alone on Earth, are powerful enough to create worlds, and then to destroy them" 

"We live our comfortable lives in the shadow of a disaster of our own making... This book is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake, and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right"

"We have replaced the wild with the tame. We regard the Earth as our planet, run by humankind for humankind. There is little left for the rest of the living world. The truly wild world- that non-human world- has gone. We have overrun the Earth"

"The work of scientists who study the Earth's systems gives us the answer. In fact, it's quite straightforward. It's been staring us in the face all along. Earth may be a sealed dish, but we don't live in it alone! We share it with the living world- the most remarkable life-support system imaginable, constructed over billions od years to refresh and renew food supplies, to absorb and reuse waste, to dampen damage and bring balance at the planetary scale. It is no accident that thw planet's stability has wavered just as its biodiversity has declined- the two things are bound together. To restore stability to our planet, therefore, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing we have removed. It is the only way out of this crisis that we ourselves have created. We must rewild the world!"

"'Sustainability in all things' should be our species philosophy"

"It seems that, however grave our mistakes, nature will be able to overcome them, given the chance"

“Engaging in this project has brought many emotions. The truth of our planet’s current predicament is beyond alarming. Learning the very latest detail of our crisis has troubled me greatly. But, counter to that, it is heart-warming to discover the extent to which brilliant minds are now at work to understand and, further, to solve the problems we face. My great hope is that these minds may soon come together in a position to influence our future. As I have been reminded during the creation of A Life on Our Planet, it is possible to achieve so much more working with others than any one of us can achieve alone”

vratsmoon's review against another edition

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5.0

Make all your friends read it.

readingwithcatherine's review

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5.0

I recommend this book as an excellent primer for someone that doesn't have a science degree and an excess knowledge of ecology and climate change. The first third or so is a summation of different ecological processes that humans are changing and that are affecting global climate. As a scientist, none of this was a surprise to me, in fact I've taught a lot of it to my students. But it's an excellent educational venture and I would recommend the audiobook (David Attenborough reads the whole thing to you) to all adults.

It changes pace after the initial informative section, and reviews what countries are currently doing to work towards a more sustainable planet and gives guides for the future. I'm glad that there was a theme of hope rather than ONLY what we are doing wrong. This is my wheelhouse and I loved it.

ciskavb's review

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4.0

Een confronterende eye- opener!

jennyzee23's review

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5.0

The first part of this book is like a history of how we have gotten to where we are. It's embarrassing. The second part is where we are headed if we don't change course. It's depressing. The third part is what we can do to save ourselves. It is hopeful.

"We often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is we have to do these things to save ourselves. With or without us, the wild will return ..."

vedareadsbooks's review

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4.0

Sir David Attenborough has been an inspiration of mine for many years and I predict that he’ll continue to be, throughout my life. His work has been crucial in the understanding of climate change as well as in helping people gain an appreciation for our natural world. While this book may increase your climate anxiety, it is an essential and informative read. However, I was slightly disappointed with how little was mentioned about the importance of veganism and plant-based diets for the future of the planet (although, the fact that it was mentioned at all is definitely worth appreciating). The argument about fishing less now so we can rely more on seafood in the future, was also quite frustrating to read. (Earthling Ed’s video is a great resource and response to Attenbourough’s documentary + book).

no_dogs_on_the_moon's review

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hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad fast-paced

5.0