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David Attenborough on How to Save Our Planet

posted by Jason Kottke   May 01, 2019

In this short video essay, David Attenborough succinctly describes the main problem of the anthropocene (that modern humans are not living sustainably as they once could as hunter gatherers), explains the effect we’ve had on the planet, and then suggests how we can fix things (italics mine):

The plan for our planet is remarkably simple. Reduce our impact by making sure that everything we do, we can do forever.

Sustainability is such a buzzword these days that I have long since stopped thinking about what it actually means; Attenborough nails it with “making sure that everything we do, we can do forever”. The Earth seems infinite in scope but not with 7, 8, or 9 billion humans hungry for food, thirsty for water, and lusty for status & entertainment.

The simple plan Attenborough describes has four parts:

1. Phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewables.
2. Upgrading to efficient food production and reducing our consumption of meat.
3. Proper worldwide ocean management.
4. Rewilding the world.

As he allows, it’s a bit more complicated than that — check out Paul Hawken’s list for a more detailed list of things we can do to fight climate change.