Danish Mahmood (Kingsford Community School) reviews David Attenborough's 'A Life On Our Planet'

David Attenborough, in his eye-opening book A Life on Our Planet, My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future, explores the indispensable existence of biodiversity, emphasising the need to deal with the rapid decline of not only diversity in species but also ecosystem diversity.

The multi-award-winning natural historian recalls his extraordinary life, detailing experiences he has gathered over the course of his existence. In this book, he introduces educational content in the form of several ‘parts’, all covering a plethora of areas; a brief introduction highlighting the mistakes of the Homo sapiens is followed by David Attenborough’s handful of escapades - the author also introduces possible methods that will result in a sustainable existence, which is ‘our only option’, as worded by Attenborough.

The writer relies on statistics as his primary source of evidence - this is because the arguments presented can only be cemented with statistical evidence. The dependence on such proof does aid Attenborough in arguing his belief as the listing of, for example, percentages and numbers, adapt to the role of acting as informative ‘eye-openers’. However, an abundance of corroborations can sometimes give a piece of writing an overall monotonous tone, which may not be enjoyable when it comes to reading. Regardless of this possible concern, the writer's writing style enables readers to grasp onto complex ideas easily whilst also making reading enjoyable.

In my opinion, this book was very insightful and extremely impactful as it was able to force me into re-evaluating the choices I make every day and whether or not these actions contribute to saving endangered wildlife. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to dive deeper into the consequences their life can have on the world and to anyone who would want to understand how they can improve their ways.

Something I agreed with in this book was…

The idea that humans are more dependent on nature than nature is on us; Attenborough states that ‘we often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is we have to do these things to save ourselves. With or without us, the wild will return.’

Something I disagreed with in this book was…

The writer’s idea that humans are violent by nature - this was when he was talking about the nature of gorillas and how humans have this idea that the mentioned specie, the gorillas, are violent when in his opinion, humans are. I disagree with this because anthropology disregards the common statement that humans are instinctively violent or evil.

Something I learnt from reading this book that I didn’t know about this subject before was…

The model of Demographic Transition - a term used by geographers to describe the path that nations move along during the nation’s economic developing period.