Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021–#BookReview – Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by Sir David Attenborough by Jemima Pett

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Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.

This is the second post from author Jemima Pett and it is a book review for Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by Sir David Attenborough

post archives 2021

A Life on Our Planet makes the third book published on 1st October I’ve reviewed this month. The publishers offered a small number of copies through NetGalley just before p-day, and I’m very grateful to them for including me.

It’s hard to review a book by a National Treasure, but I’ve done my best.

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future

by David Attenborough

In this scientifically informed account of the changes occurring in the world over the last century, award-winning broadcaster and natural historian shares a lifetime of wisdom and a hopeful vision for the future.

See the world. Then make it better.

I am 93. I’ve had an extraordinary life. It’s only now that I appreciate how extraordinary.

As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world – but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day — the loss of our planet’s wild places, its biodiversity.

I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It 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 one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited.

All we need is the will to do so. [goodreads]

My Review

David Attenborough needs no introduction having been the face of our wild world on television for over fifty years. I even remember Zoo Quest on our tiny black and white television, which stood in a huge box in the corner of the room. It may not have installed a passion for wildlife conservation then, but it was certainly part of my awareness of the wonderful world we live in.

In this book he takes us back to the beginning, skipping rapidly through his past, with reminders of things we know he did, because it was on television, then or later, like his searching for fossils in his local wood, which came out much later. Being reminded of his encounter with the gorillas who came and searched his hair and the baby trying to play with his boots, was just one iconic moment from hundreds of hours of wildlife footage we are familiar with.

But Sir David recounts this in decades, and each starts with a doom-laden set of statistics: wilderness reduction, species reduction, human population growth and the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Each of them is the dreaded hockey stick graph, flat for centuries, then a sharp tick upward as we reach the industrial age, and an accelerating rise that has reached epic proportions since the 1960s. I felt sick as he recounted the examples of how we are destroying, have destroyed, our planet.

Then follows the voice of doom.

What life will be like if we carry on this way? To say it is not worth living is an understatement. And we are not talking about some distant future.  We are talking about 2050.  And I remember in the 1990s when forecasts for climate abnormalities, storms, habitat loss, and epidemics for the 2020s sounded bad. It’s all here, now.

It all got very depressing.  It seemed that nothing had changed in the last twenty years when I studied all this in my Masters Degree. Nobody had taken any notice of all the work we’d been doing… and yet…

Part three showed it doesn’t have to be that way. And it isn’t that difficult to do. Few of these things were new to me, and the scale of application required is scary. Yet many of them are already being done on a countrywide scale in enlightened parts of the world. Some countries are committed to rewilding, to a circular economy, to actual net zero emissions (not parking them on someone else).There is a way out of this mess.

We just need to step up and do it.

And the last quarter of the book is all the reference material you need to support the science, the facts, actions, the data and the scenarios he has put in front of us.

It is up to us

So in his easy-going, magnificent way of making the complex sound simple, Sir David has presented us with a stern warning and the ways we can solve our problem.  It is up to us to do it.

And after reading Humankind in the summer, I know that the doom-laden news is part of what’s holding us back.

I thank my ex-colleague Rod Janssen,for the very timely quote in his newsletter:

Barack Obama (b. 1961), the 44th US President, provides us with some inspiration that we all need this week: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Sir David Attenborough has brought together and presented all the reasons and tools we need to change the course of our history, to get back to living on the only planet we have.

Essential reading for us all.

And after reading Humankind in the summer, I know that the doom-laden news is part of what’s holding us back.

I thank my ex-colleague Rod Janssen,for the very timely quote in his newsletter:

Barack Obama (b. 1961), the 44th US President, provides us with some inspiration that we all need this week: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Sir David Attenborough has brought together and presented all the reasons and tools we need to change the course of our history, to get back to living on the only planet we have.

‘In his easy-going, magnificent way of making the complex sound simple, Sir David has given us a stern warning and the ways we can solve our problem. It is up to us to do it.’ A Life on Our Planet @EburyPublishing #attenborough Click To Tweet

©Jemima Pett 2020

A selection of books by Jemima Pett

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Find out more about Jemima’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Blog:Jemima PettGoodreads:Jemima Pett – Twitter:@jemima_pett –

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Jemima Pett in her own words..I have had a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in my spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… I loved words, loved to learn and to apply my learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so I went back to inventing my own, as I had as a child. First came the Realms, a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism. Jemima now lives in Hampshire with her family of Guinea pigs, who also inhabit her fictional world.

My thanks to Jemima for allowing me to delve into her archives and I hope you head over to discover more.. Thanks Sally

38 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021–#BookReview – Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by Sir David Attenborough by Jemima Pett

  1. Hello Jemima! I think you did very well. 😉 National Treasures can also be asked behind. You certainly have to, in order to be able to stand behind the views, with your own security. Sir Attenborough is truly an exceptional scientist, and person. To my shame, I have to admit, I for the first time saw a series of interviews with him, a few weeks ago. Michael xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Sally. The weightiness of this past year has opened the minds of many if not most. We all need to do our part and you’ve underscored that point today. I loved Jemima’s review. Thank you! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jemima writes such wonderful thoughtful reviews. “The scale of application required is scary” says a lot and can be quite depressing, but humankind is make some steps in the right direction. Will we be on time? I love Obama’s statement, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” That message of hope resounds. Thanks for the review of Attenborough’s book, Jemima. Great choice for a share, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sir David is such an environmental hero, and spoke to us of the need to protect our natural world before we uttered the words “climate change.” I remember those old shows, too, Jemima, and your thoughtful review brought them all back to me, as well as introducing Sir David’s book. Thank you, Sally for bringing this to us.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I remember David Attenborough from when he was young and gangly – which is me admitting I too am old. But now he is venerated as the voice of common sense. Surprisingly recently, they were talking about President Carter and how he was also a visionary, forecasting the straits we find ourselves in through global warming. Thanks Jemima for circulating this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – May 9th – 15th 2021 – 1960s hits, Grief, Green Kitchen, Health, Stories, Poetry, books, reviews and funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  7. What a man…A lovely review with all the warnings clearly stated for those who want to listen…and act…but as others have said it’s big business who need to lead change and they will …but only if there’s a buck or three to be made… a sad fact of life…X

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Carol.. I agree and it is interesting that the UK is bringing back incentives to return plastic bottles for a few pence.. I can remember as a child supplementing my pocket money collecting glass coke bottles etc and returning for a penny or two.. I had quite a thriving scheme going with a few others lol.. Most recycling schemes by the councils are all stick and no carrot and it just does not work..But the craziest thing ever is that they makes us sort out bottles into different colours and then the truck comes along and they just empty them into the back of it all together!! ♥

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