Tuesday, March 15, 2011

David Attenborough - Climate Change - Part 1

27 years ago, in Life on Earth David Attenborough said:
"the fact remains that man has an unprecedented control over the world and everything in it. And so, whether he likes it or not, what happens next is very largely up to him"
At the time, he had no idea that we were unleashing forces that would change the climate of the earth. Now he does and he had made a great 2-part documentary about it.

Part 1 - "Are We Changing Planet Earth" looks at the changing climate and the evidence that humans have caused it. It covers the obvious effects - dying polar bears, melting glaciers, island nations facing submersion, and more frequent extreme weather events - but also (in typical David Attenborough fashion) includes some amazing footage, facts and science.

The 2003 European heatwave which killed tens of thousands used to be a 1-in-200-year event, now it's a 1-in-100 year event. By 2040 it will be 1-in-2 years, and by 2080 it will be the norm.

When David Attenborough was a boy carbon dioxide concentration was under 300. At the time of the documentary it was 382 - the highest in 600,000 years.

The examination of whether our pollution is the cause of global warming (spoiler alert: yes it is) included this great clip. As David sums up:
We are a flexible and innovative species and we have the ability to adapt and modify our behaviour. Now we most certianly have to do so if we are to deal with climate change. It's the biggest challenge we have yet faced.

[See my review of Part 2]

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