Fare well planet Earth

Wildscreen's photograph of David Attenborough at ARKive's launch in Bristol, England © May 2003 [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Wildscreen’s photograph of David Attenborough at ARKive’s launch in Bristol, England © May 2003, via Wikimedia Commons
Planet Earth 2 ended last night with a programme on urban wildlife – it was brilliant, as we have come to expect. Leopards catching pigs in the city at night – wow!  Pigeons getting eaten by Catfish and Peregrines – wow! And it allowed some messages about how our species lives with other species on our shared home to be inserted in a less clumsy (‘…and here is the preachy bit’) way than usual.

As one looked over Sir David’s shoulder, down the river to Whitehall, I didn’t see any light bulbs going on in our own seat of power. Not much space for wildlife between our decision makers’ ears even if Andrea Leadsom’s daughter is a fan of Sir David.

And Claudia Frangapane met her own extinction in Strictly leaving Danny Mac, Ore Oduba and Louise Redknapp in the running, skipping and hopping around contest.

As our species struggles up the beach of life in search of the Glitterball trophy we must look to any neutral observer like Hawksbill turtles who have spotted the wrong light on the horizon.



7 Replies to “Fare well planet Earth”

  1. I watched the Singapre segment with all those fabulous green buildings and giant parks on top of skyscrapers, and all I could think was “Imagine the shit fit that the planners and the tabloids would pitch if they suggested that in the UK”. Nodnol cannot even get a bridge with a few plants on it approved without a fight by the timid and terrified of change. Anything which is not 100% familiar and completely middle class dull is rejected out of hand for being too different.

    I wish we could do more to green our cities and towns. No building without at least some portion of green roof, strong enough to support at least a couple of small trees or large shrubs, should be allowed for a start and work up to awe inspiring works of art in building form. I would strongly support a scheme to release pine martens into the heart of London and other cities (plenty of food for them, and habitat too), not to mention that Hen Harrier brood meddling should be allowed only if there are buildings with heather roofing on them the birds could be rehoused onto. Imagine urban hen harriers, something we actually could see from our windows.

    I’d suggest a few leopards released into London too, but I’m afraid the Essex set would just skin them for sofa coverings and miniskirts.

    1. Staying in a cottage in County Clare some years back we experienced sharing with a pine marten. He/she would return to their attic lair at an ungodly hour even earlier than WE wanted to get up. So much racket, scratching and settling down just above our bed……….I don’t recommend it as a permanent arragement!

  2. I thought the series has been great, but two moments in particular have really touched me: the howler monkey dad rescuing his daughter and the second was the mother raccoon showing the kit how to climb the gate rather than just picking it up by the scruff of its neck. I think it might be to do with me having two small children, but in both cases I felt very strong empathy for the parent.

    There were other moments throughout that were just brilliant, those peregrines, wow.

    1. Was anyone else touched by the mutual empathy displayed in India by both primates and humans when the “rations” were being shared out. Sublime, I thought.

  3. Hmmm! Sorry, I don’t share your unqualified support. Unless the people who manage the light-switches in Whitehall are hit with a huge wave of public opinion then the lights will stay dim and Attenborough’s contribution will remain as a beautifully crafted and exquisitely filmed piece of light entertainment. For me Mark, I’d rather watch you poking them in the eye. Otherwise it’ll be, “Farewell planet Earth” and not just, farewell ‘Planet Earth’.

    1. “For me Mark, I’d rather watch you poking them in the eye.”

      This seems to imply that the two things are mutually exclusive. Of course we need people to kick and scream about the dire situation the environment is in but it is also sane and healthy to take the time to appreciate the wonder and beauty of that environment and the myriads of extraordinary plants and animals that live in it. Attenborough’s programmes show that there is something wonderful to give a shit about. It is worth bearing in mind that (in contrast to the typical reader of this blog, perhaps) most people have very little direct contact with nature and so seeing it on tv at least creates a possibility that they will recognize that the extinction of species really matters. When it is just words and statistics it will leave many people unmoved but almost anyone can be touched by footage of, say, an elephant with her calf.

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