David Attenborough and his emotional call to action
David Attenborough has got to be one of the most-loved people in the world, and he’s part of the fabric of our lives. So his new Netflix film, A Life on Our Planet, comes at just the right time. Just when we think we’re finished, Attenborough delivers the good news that it’s not too late if we act now. He has a vision. And it’s not that complicated. We must halt the growth in the world’s population. We must intensify efforts to create no-fishing zones. We must change our meat-eating obsession. For it’s no longer ‘just’ about saving the planet, it’s about saving humanity.
So what can we do to act upon David Attenborough’s vision?
Thankfully, since he has so clearly communicated the three key actions we can take as a species, there are ways for you to act.
Stop human population growth
We must call out the Catholic Church, and we must persist with challenging its dangerous, often insane, stories. We all know that the Catholic Church hates women, wanting females to be nothing more than baby-producing machines. The Roman Catholic Church’s insistence that contraception is ‘sinful’, and that women are lesser humans than men, is no longer simply crazy, it’s dangerous. With 1.3 billion Catholics listening to the never-ending bullshit being preached at them by the Pope, and from their local pulpit every Sunday, we need to call it out. We need to challenge its patriarchy, demand that it end its ban on contraception. We could go down the tax route to force change. Or consider banning the Church entirely, take its wealth, properties and lands and use them to educate the world’s women, and provide free, universal healthcare. Including free contraception.
What you can do: If you’re a Catholic, question its stories, renounce it, drop out, stop supporting and funding the cult. And, when people criticise other religions as being a danger to the world, remind them of the Catholic Church and its 1.3 billion followers who are not allowed to use contraception. Ask your political representatives why this religion is allowed to espouse crazy, Bronze Age ideas and to do it almost entirely tax-free. And if you have more than two or three kids, prove to us why your genes are sooo important. When you fail, tie a fucking knot in it.
The UN is working towards a targeted 20-30% of the oceans being designated as areas of no extractive activity, which mainly means no-fishing. Currently, only 1% of the oceans have this status. International waters are under no country’s control, so vast fishing fleets from China, Russia, Spain and many other countries travel to the ends of the Earth to extract fish on a mind-numbing scale. The UN getting everyone to agree on protecting international waters is like trying to herd cats, so we need to push this cause in our own countries.
What you can do: Find out how much of the seas around your country are protected. Ireland’s sea area is more than ten times our land area. We’ve been suckered by oil and gas companies (see Shell to Sea) and have little to show for our stewardship to date. Put pressure on national governments to protect vast areas of our seas and these will soon add up.
Stop eating meat
Our meat obsession is not entirely our fault. The meat and dairy industries are massively subsidised by, for example, the European Union, which also spends millions encouraging us to consume meat and dairy. It’s quite a shitty little racket that European farmers have going for themselves.
Of all kinds of meat, beef has the highest carbon footprint, followed by meat from other ruminants like sheep. A 2014 study on the consumption of animal products in the EU said that eating 50% less meat, dairy products and eggs would decrease Europe’s agriculture-linked greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40%.
Promoting meat and dairy products clearly has an impact on global warming. The European Union allocated around €71.5m from 2015-2018 on programmes promoting European meat, and allocated at least €63m in the same period promoting European dairy and cheese products (Source: European Commission). in 2019, Greenpeace published a report which concluded that between €28.5bn and €32.6bn of CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) subsidies for farmers end up supporting the livestock sector.
What you can do: Check out our meat emissions calculator tool and see how much of an impact on climate change you can make by going vegetarian/vegan for even one meal a week. Start small! And stop drinking cows’ milk. It’s disgusting. When you think about it, adult cows drink… water. Any of the growing selection of meat and milk substitutes are better for you, better for the planet, and less… eww.
David Attenborough packs an emotional punch
So watch A Life on Our Planet now. But be warned, the orangutan and walrus scenes will break your heart. David Attenborough was clearly affected when filming, and the film’s producers don’t hold back. They want this film to affect us emotionally.
If our heads don’t make us want to change, maybe our hearts will.
Wikipedia on David Attenborough: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Attenborough
Wikipedia on Marine Protected Areas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_protected_area
Ireland’s abysmal record in giving away marine resources (fossil fuels, argh!) to international oil companies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_to_Sea
Read our post on the horrors of European farming.
Sea map of Ireland, Irish Marine Institute: https://www.marine.ie/Home/site-area/irelands-marine-resource/real-map-ireland
GIFs from Giphy.com
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