oleksandr's review against another edition

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3.0

This is a part autobiography and part biography of our planet as well as a prediction/warning of things to come. I read is as a part of monthly reading for March 2021 at Non Fiction Book Club group. The book won Goodreads Choice Award for Science & Technology in 2020.

There are two parts: in the Part I the author, whom a lot of TV watchers around the globe know as a person, who wanders across our planet and shows all the beauty of it, tells about his career at BBC, their initial documentaries including ones on a wild life. As a background he gives a list statistics for a given year (Population, Carbon in atmosphere and Remaining wilderness) from 1937, when he was born to 2019 as well as major steps in awareness about a fragility of our world, e.g. the first TV translation of the Earth image from Apollo 8 or a united action to stop whale hunting.

In the Part II he shows how this or that environment or species are deteriorated / in danger and more importantly describes what is suggested or already done to improve the situation. While most of the projects can be read elsewhere, he has a great way of depicting them with words. Alas, in promoting some solutions, he doesn’t dwell on their downsides. Some of the topics:
- Replacement of meat, esp. beef to lower pollution
- Restoration of forests as carbon binding tech, with importance of diversity
- Shift from economy of growth to sustainable development
- Ocean forestry, overfishing, creating of no-fishing zones with examples of past successes
- Rewilding of territories, with several examples
A nice overview of both problems and solutions, touching and not very technical.

ayushpokh's review against another edition

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dark hopeful informative medium-paced

4.5

lulunyx's review against another edition

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hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

5.0

I am very biased, as other then Steve Backshall and deadly 60, Attenborough's documentaries were my first introduction into seeing the extraordinary world we live in which ultimately shaped my decision to study conservation biology and ecology at university. 

The book has the eloquence with which Attenborough always portrays his views and is able to take you through first the crushing sense of doom that often hangs over thoughts of environmental change and global warming, before inspiring hope that change is happening and all is not lost. It is powerful, awe inspiring and enthralling reading about his life and it only enhances the admiration and love I have for him and his work.  

voidslantern's review against another edition

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hopeful informative inspiring sad fast-paced

5.0

adr94's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective fast-paced

4.25

artiiichoke's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad medium-paced

5.0


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crazytourists_books's review against another edition

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emotional informative inspiring sad fast-paced

5.0

Yesterday was my one year anniversary as a vegetarian. After watching the film seaspiracy, I realised that the way we live and eat is not sustainable. I had already started making small changes in my family's everyday life, and it was time to change my approach towards food. 
Yesterday, I needed a book to spend the waiting time before a blood test appointment and I thought this one would be a good choice. And it was. It made me feel the same way I felt after watching seaspiracy. 
The first part made cry and the second part left me heartbroken. I wish I could share Sir Attenborough's optimism that we can avoid complete destruction, but I don't. And I am sorry for that. 
I liked the book, it is nicely written, vivid, direct, interesting. I couldn't put it down and finished it in only two days.

elisabethjordan's review against another edition

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5.0

I have always loved Attenborough and am so glad that I got to read about all of his observations and thoughts about our planet in this book. Because we all grew up watching the films he narrated, reading the books he wrote, and listening to him talk, he has SUCH strong credibility in the public eye. I do not think he wasted that credibility in tackling his mission statement. Many people, including myself, hold what he says regarding nature quite highly, so I’m glad he shared his story in this way.

I’ve seen most of his documentaries, including the one made for this book, and have followed him for a long time. This book reflects upon Attenborough’s life, what he’s seen, and how that affects people now. And it’s quite uncomfortable to read about. He first goes through the beauty he saw in his young life and how corrupted that beauty already was, and he chronicles the earth’s demise from there on, even going into our future with backed up the likely projection for the next hundred years. Then he backs up and describes in great detail the path that people can take to avoid the horrible mistakes that are projected to occur if people do not adapt.

Attenborough maintains an understanding for the human geography of the earth too. He is very self aware of the varying levels of privilege in the world, along with cultures that were made out of practices that need to fade away for the good of nature. He approaches these things respectfully and practically, offering options with proven examples on how change is possible— and even quite beneficial— for the people affected.

On many occasions, he also looks at other cultures and sees the great things they are doing, and the bad things they are doing, and suggests ways we can all help each-other. One of the most powerful points that Attenborough made (after describing why the birthing rate needs to be going down—I’ll let you read to find out why), was that women in developing countries often have more children because they do not get as many opportunities as women in first world countries. It was found that women in first world countries were more likely to have less children. After describing this, he simply said that there needs to be much stronger efforts in supporting women in those developing countries in order to naturally reduce the global birth rate.

Attenborough’s greatest strength in this book was his maintenance of hope while sharing dire news. Without his hope, I could easily see how the reader may have gone left discouraged with nothing to take away but “wow that was depressing—what is even the point in trying.” Attenborough showed us HOW to fix the problems that he laid out.

His other strength was the pure earnestness of this book. I listened to the audiobook (because it was narrated by DAVID ATTENBOROUGH duh) and it shone through even more there. The reader can really tell that he believes with his whole heart what he is saying. He believes that people CAN make a change, given the knowledge and time to do so, and he wanted to make that possible by offering us his witness statement of his life where he got to see a lot more than many ever will.

I think this is a great first book to dive into and learn about what is going on in our natural world on a global scale, and it really humbles you as a person. We are the stewards of these ecosystems, and we have the power for destruction, or restoration.

furiousd's review against another edition

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informative medium-paced

4.5

cindykt's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad fast-paced

5.0