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

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4.52  ·  Rating details ·  22,227 ratings  ·  2,659 reviews
See the world. Then make it better.

I am 94. 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
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing (first published October 1st 2020)
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Benjamin Simonsen Much of the same content, but the book is like a 6 hour version, and the film is something like 90 minutes. Certainly worth reading the book for the e…moreMuch of the same content, but the book is like a 6 hour version, and the film is something like 90 minutes. Certainly worth reading the book for the extra details, and certainly worth watching the Documentary on Netflix for the visuals(less)

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Sean Barrs
Unpopular opinion time: I really do not like David Attenborough and the cognitive dissonance he displays in this book

Now let me tell you why: he does not do enough. Most people will read such a statement and get a little bit angry with me and not quite understand the position from which I write, considering his life and work, so I will do my best to explain myself as best as I can.

This book needs to take a stronger stance on what is the biggest cause for environmental destruction. Attenboro
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Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summary
An award-winning natural historian shares his knowledge he acquired during his last 93 years of life through this book. He is exploring the various threats imposed by humans on our planet that is affecting its biodiversity. This book outlines how to tackle these threats and rectify the problems for a better future.

Three things I learned from this book
1) The importance of biodiversity in civilizations
Mr. Attenborough says that biodiversity is the backbone of civilizations.
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Nataliya
Jul 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is that we must do these things to save ourselves. With or without us, the wild will return.”

Over his ninety-plus years on Earth David Attenborough has seen the world change.

In 1937 he was 11, and at that time the world population was 2.3 billion, atmospheric carbon 280 ppm, and remaining wilderness 66%.

In 2020 he was 93, and things changed quite a bit: population 7.8 billion, atmospheric carbon 415 ppm, and remaining wilderness 35%.

Thi
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Diane S ☔
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-2021
Scariest book I've read lately and it's so true. Love his voice and these dire warnings sure make one aware of how much we have destroyed and where exactly we are going if things don't start changing soon. The statistics are beyond jaw dropping. May be one of the most important books I'll read this year. It's concise, well presented and backed up with facts. Also solutions. Certainly made me much more aware of my carbon footprint and to think of ways to minimize these in my personal life. Though ...more
Jo (The Book Geek)
It's probably fairly old news, but I'd chew off a limb if it meant me sipping coffee and nibbling biscuits with Sir Attenborough. He has always been the figure of reason, the gentle voice that describes animals mating or fighting for survival on Sunday night TV, but most of all, he seen changes that most of us have not lived through in our lifetimes, and I believe that everything he tells us about climate change and the problematic changes to our planet, is entirely true.

Attenborough gives us a
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Colin Baldwin
Jun 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Sir David Attenborough.

This book delivered everything I wished for.

We all know about the ongoing climate debate and, like the author, some of us are willing to accept the indisputable evidence that climate change is seriously affecting our planet. Like him, some of us have witnessed the changes.

The author also acknowledges the powerful (mostly economic) influences that allow scepticism on climate change, and lack of action to combat it, to persist.

Irrespective of where a person is on
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André Oliveira
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was really good. It tells us how the world has been changing since David was born and how it could look like in the future if we keep doing what we are doing today. In the last chapter, he also presents some information on what we can do to improve the lifestyle of all the people around the world, giving some examples that are currently working for some people - we just need to apply what they are doing around the world so we can have a greener future.


Now I have to watch the documentary on
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Dennis
We regard the Earth as our planet, run by humankind for humankind. There is little left for the rest of the living world.


This book is Sir David Attenborough’s witness statement of anthropogenic climate change and biodiversity loss that has happened during his lifetime. In the blink of an eye, from a geological viewpoint, the world has changed drastically.

In the first part of the book he takes us on a journey to revisit some important moments of his life, starting in 1937 when as a young boy he d
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Ingrid
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is so worth reading! I hope everybody does and that it will actually help the earth to recover.
Sir David Attenborough points out that the end of life on our planet might be near, but that there are still possibilities to put a halt to it and continues to inform us how. Ultimately I find this an optimistic book.
Woman Reading
We are just another species on the tree of life.

Attenborough acknowledges that he has been fortunate with his career. He had created documentaries for the BBC about a subject dear to his heart - the natural world - thus giving him a front row seat to witness how much the life on earth has changed. He was born in 1926 during one geological period - the holocene - and is now observing another - the anthropocene - the period in which humans are the dominant influence on the climate and
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HBalikov
May 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have come to rely on Attenborough for his insights into nature and his identification of factors that are critical to our planet’s health and diversity. This book is his “sum up” or “witness statement” of all that he has experienced and learned over his 90+ years.

“I had believed from a very early age that the most important knowledge was that which brought an understanding of how the natural world worked. It was not laws invented by human beings that interested me, but the principles that gove
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Carole
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by David Attenborough is written by a 93-year-old man who has seen our planet deteriorate from the beginning of his adulthood until now. Attenborough paints a clear picture of the environment at different decades of his own life. That most of the damage done could be wrought during the length of a human life is astounding. The author also writes about what practices could be brought about to ensure our planet returns to good ...more
Emma
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I can't imagine the changes he has seen up close, the senseless destruction of our planet becoming ever more clear with each documentary series. The depressing transition is detailed here in his 'witness statement' and even though he finishes with suggestions that could bring us hope if we act now, it's hard to believe. What can we, as individuals, do in the face of corporate greed? It won't stop me trying, of course, but the time for optimism seems way past gone.


ARC via Netgalley
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Faith
Dec 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, overdrive
David Attenborough is a treasure. He has lived long enough to witness the devastation of much of the wilderness he has visited and the disappearance of many of the plants and animals that used to thrive there. Still, he remains hopeful. Unlike some books I have read about the sorry state of the world, this book actually offers solutions.

The first part of the book covers the time the author spent at the BBC, and the creation of some of his wonderful nature series. The next part discusses the lik
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Trish
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
We are all people of Pripyat now. We live our comfortable lives in the shadow of a disaster of our own making. That disaster is being brought about by the very things that allow us to live our comfortable lives. And it is quite natural to carry on in this way until there is a convincing reason not to do so and a very good plan for an alternative. That is why I have written this book.
The natural world is fading. The evidence is all around. It has happened during my lifetime. I have seen it wit
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Gary
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sir David Attenborough is someone who makes everything interesting and in this book full of statistics and scientifically described information he still holds my attention where many others would fail.

The book opens with a brief description of how he got into the position he held in the BBC mentioning some of his experiences such as the encounter with the gorillas which is one of my fondest television memories. He then goes on to give his account of the world has changed over the last century, h
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Roy Lotz
Jul 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
You know the climate crisis is getting bad when David Attenborough—a man who epitomizes feel-good, apolitical television—is issuing dire warnings about the future of humankind. By now, we do not even need scientists and their graphs to understand the gravity of our situation. Extreme weather events are becoming commonplace. Consider the record temperatures set last month in, of all places, Canada, with thermometers soaring to nearly 50 C (121 F). Welcome to the new normal.

This book has two sec
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Alan Cotterell
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley, Random House and Sir David Attenborough for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

“We humans, alone on Earth, are powerful enough to create worlds, and then to destroy them.”
This is part memoir, part dire warning about the decline of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity and what we must do to help put it right. A relatively short book, but it is possibly the book we must all read especially world leaders and decision makers. Part one is a run through of what has g
...more
Alice Lippart
As most things Attenborough does, this was very interesting.
Cher
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars = Fantastic and easy to recommend.

We are causing a rate of biodiversity loss that is more than 100 times the average, and only matched in the fossil record during a mass extinction event.

Plastic is invading oceanic food chains and over 90% of seabirds have plastic fragments in their stomachs.

96% of the mass of all the mammals on Earth is made up of our own bodies and those of the animals that we raise to eat...The remainder - all the wild mammals, from mice to elephants and whales - acco
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TS Chan
ARC received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review

Brilliance was what I've expected from Attenborough, and brilliance was exactly what I got.

As a book which I thought was remarkably compact for one on environmental and climate awareness/sciences, A Life on Our Planet was an immensely well-written, concise and insightful narrative. Attenborough's 'Witness Statement', a summarised memoir of sorts, outlined the changes wrought on the planet from the time when he was
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Monika
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Home, a tiny corner (although it is not so tiny, afterall). It is so comforting to us that even in its lack and/or absence, we often find ourselves delving into it. Home is often our first reaction to intense emotions. If I have to express home in brief, it is our everything. However, why is it that when our home is in pain, we are unable to see its bruises and gnashes? Why is it that our home is crying and instead of succumbing to our love for home, we are growing aloof from it? Why is it that ...more
Leo
Jan 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The first adult book I've read in one sitting for this year! I wasn't planning to read it cover to cover, I actually had a pile of books I've was going to switch between, but I was completely hooked. I have to admit that I haven't seen many of the documentarys he has narrated as me and tv have it complicated. This book !Ade me forgot about most things for a while and I was completely engrossed into it. But that being said it wasn't that most easier of reads as it deals with a very important and ...more
Tan Markovic
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
How could I give this man any less?
Hákon Gunnarsson
I've been following the climate change debate for some time now, and a couple of years ago I realised something interesting, or perhaps peculiar is better word for it. In groups where people deny climate change is real, I kept coming across people saying they used to like Attenborough when they were kids, but now he had become all political with his support with the climate change nonsense so they couldn't stand him. Right on the other side of this debate, in groups that are radical in their fig ...more
Dan Graser
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Though citizens of the UK claim David Attenborough as a national treasure, the planet needs to embrace him as an international treasure. No one in my lifetime has done more to educate the public on the miraculous workings of the natural world and as such, no one is a more potent voice about the urgency with which we must address what it is our species has done to this natural marvel in the last century. Even those skeptical of the possibilities of addressing the dramatic changes occurring and bo ...more
Kurt
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can't think of anyone whose life experiences I would be more willing to trade for my own than that of Sir David Attenborough. The work to which he has dedicated his long life has been both thrilling and impactful to the world. So, I was quite excited to read his latest book which he subtitles "My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future."

Like nearly all books that explain the dire circumstances our civilization currently finds itself in, this one dedicates the majority of its pages to des
...more
Alan Cotterell
Thank you to Netgalley, Random House and Sir David Attenborough for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

“We humans, alone on Earth, are powerful enough to create worlds, and then to destroy them.”

This is part memoir, part dire warning about the decline of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity and what we must do to help put it right. A relatively short book, but it is possibly the book we must all read especially world leaders and decision makers. Part one is a run through of what has g
...more
Teodora Petkova
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no words to describe this book.
It touched me really deeply.
It made me realise how connected everything is.
It gives both reasons and solutions for each individual problem our planet experiences.
It gives food for thought what are the businesses of the future and it can even be considered as a great investment advice.
I think everyone should read this book.

Caution! I can be easily inspired and sometimes exaggerate things ... but not this time! :D
Camelia Rose
A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future is exactly what it says in the title--a 94 years old naturalist's witness statement and a vision for the future of our species on earth. Earth is a closed system. The unsustainable growth can't last forever. Something's gotta give. If not ourselves, it will be the ecosystem, but eventually, ourselves.

Ultimately, I find A Life On our Planet an optimistic book.

To those who scream at a lifelong naturalist like David Attenboroug
...more
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Sir David Frederick Attenborough is a naturalist and broadcaster, who is most well-known for writing and presenting the nine "Life" series, produced in conjunction with BBC's Natural History Unit. The series includes Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), Life in the Freezer (about Antarctica; 1993), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Birds (1998), T ...more

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