Rewilding the World

A Life On Our Planet - David Attenborough's Witness Statement

Taking a closer look at the meaning of "Rewilding the World"
by Kerry Greener - Director Easy Vegan Limited & TopEco Home Limited
Monday 5th october 2020

Moved to Action

After watching the impressive, and in places severely heart-wrenching film, 'A Life On Our Planet' by David Attenborough, I was moved to writing this article with the hope of reaching those that perhaps have not yet had the notion of watching it.

It's effortless after all to turn a blind eye. Especially when somewhere deep-down, we believe our way of life may be uncomfortably affected by something new we may learn.

Is Rewilding the World Possible?

A 93-year-old Sir David spends the first half of the film revisiting the many places on the globe he has visited in all its variety and wonder. But this time he reflects upon the defining moments of his life as a naturalist and the devastating changes he has seen in a considerably short space of time.

The emphasis of urgency in the message is evident. Sir David explains in an honest, revealing yet friendly way, a powerful first-hand account of humanity's influence on the natural world and a word of hope for future generations.

"To restore stability to our planet, we must restore its biodiversity." 

Sir David Attenborough,
Broadcaster, Naturalist and Presenter.

Sir David's Witness Statement

The film serves as Attenborough's witness statement for the world. A film, I believe, should be compulsory viewing for every human being on this planet. 

Evidence of a Crime Taking Place

What exactly is a witness statement?

A witness statement is a document made by a witness to set out evidence to prove facts and satisfy the burden of proof, on the balance of probabilities. Witness statements are also an official way to receive evidence. These statements are usually supported by a statement of truth verifying that there is an unquestionable belief that the facts stated in the document are true and accurate. 

Attenborough shows that there is a crime going on under our noses. A crime against nature. A miscarriage of justice taking place on every animal, fish, plant and insect on the planet. 

How Do We Start Rewilding the World?

Sir Attenborough's words are not finger-pointing but instead serve as a record of where we are now. He goes on to explain that all is not lost. There are ways in which every one of us can stop and even reverse the devastating effects our activities have caused to date. We can all take steps towards rewilding the world.

Let Nature Do Its Job at Rewilding the World 

Sir David goes on to explain that the world cannot operate without healthy oceans and forests, and neither can we. In dramatic scenes on a grand scale, the film shows how critical the wilderness is to the natural world.

It becomes clear that wildlife is a vital ally in reducing carbon in the atmosphere and thus rewilding the world. It's nature's job. The more diverse the flora and fauna are in this world, then the better nature is at doing that job. 

"We must establish life on our planet in balance with nature. In other words, we must learn to thrive again. We must find ways to harvest our forests and ocean sustainably and work with nature rather than against it. We do this not just to save our planet but to save ourselves. Living sustainably is the only option. We have to move from being apart from nature to being a part of nature." 

Sir David Attenborough

Rewilding the World is Relatively Easy

Rewilding the world is more straightforward than one might think to benefit us and future generations. 

Population Control for Rewilding the World

The natural world, which Sir David has spent a lifetime explaining and defending, is under unbearable pressure from population activities. Scientists believe we are now undergoing the Sixth Mass Extinction. Species are becoming extinct one hundred times faster than they would without human influences.

Wild animal numbers have more than halved since 1970, while the human population has doubled. In our planet's history, species and biodiversity loss to this extent has only happened five times before. The fifth time was when the dinosaurs were wiped out. 

The human population enterprises and actions have made changes that are taking a heavy toll on the natural world.  Therefore we must all understand the impact we have had and are still having, on the planet on which we all live.

Power is generated from fossil fuels and nuclear power. These energy resources are entirely non-renewable and are not sustainable in any way. Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of living organisms millions of years ago and when burned release heat energy. However, once ignited, they can never be replaced; hence they are non-sustainable.

"We can stop population growth and give each and every person a better standard of living at the same time. History shows that the growth rate slows down when the standard of living rises. The trick is to raise the standard of living around the world without increasing our impact upon the earth." 

Sir David Attenborough

Rewilding the World with Climate Change

With critical climate change decisions being made by world leaders recently, there was never a more significant moment for Sir David to share his own story and reflections. David's moving speech about the importance of rewilding the world in Poland 2018 at the United Nations-sponsored climate talks moved everyone most significantly.

The consequent imagery of walrus's falling to their deaths due to the lack of land available to support their existence was a moving, tear-jerking point in the film. When we see the 'crime' being committed against the living world in front of our eyes, it becomes tortuously real. Perhaps it is then that we realise full un-disclosed knowledge of precisely what is going on in the world is the key to lasting and complete change. 

Change Carbon Emissions for Rewilding the World

In a recent COP (Conference of the Parties) report, a goal was set on a limit of global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) stated that to keep to the 1.5C plan, governments would have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030. However, a recent study showed that CO2 emissions are on the rise again after stalling for four years. Many countries such as Poland, England, Russia, Germany and America are behind on their commitments to reduce carbon emissions meaning rewilding the world to s significant extent is a long way away for now.

Countries that rely on fossil fuels, (coal and oil) are adding exponentially to the greenhouse effect, with the very high carbon dioxide released when these fossil fuels burn. This, in turn, increases global warming. Of the three fossil fuels, (coal, oil and natural gas) for a given amount of energy released, coal produces the most carbon dioxide. Coal and petroleum oil also release sulfur dioxide gas when they burn, which cause terrible breathing problems for living creatures and also contributes to acid rain.

"It is crazy that our banks and our pensions are investing in fossil fuels when these are the very things that are jeopardising the future that we are saving for." 

Sir David Attenborough

Renewable Energy for Rewilding the World

Power is generated from fossil fuels and nuclear power. These energy resources are entirely non-renewable and are not sustainable in any way. Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of living organisms millions of years ago and when burned release heat energy. However, once ignited, they can never be replaced; hence they are non-sustainable.

Sir David's film about rewilding the world may have the solution to rising carbon emissions. By using natural power instead of burning fossil fuels. This raw power is in abundance all around us. It's what nature has been operating with for millions of years. The boundless energy of nature can be found in sunlight, wind, water and geothermal sub-surface heat. 

"The overriding principle is that nature is our biggest ally and our greatest inspiration... We have to do what nature has always done. A species can only thrive when everything around it thrives too. If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us." 

Sir David Attenborough

Rewilding the World With Diversity

Forests are a fundamental component of our planet's recovery; they are the best technology nature has for locking away carbon, and they are the centre of biodiversity. These two features work together. The wilder and more diverse forests are the more effective they are at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

When trees are cut down and burned or allowed to rot, their stored carbon is released into the air as carbon dioxide. This is how deforestation and forest degradation contribute to global warming.

Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world and interventions are urgently needed to prevent a large-scale, irreversible ecological disaster.Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world and interventions are urgently needed to prevent a large-scale, irreversible ecological disaster. WWF estimates that 27% of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues.

Rewilding the world is everyone's responsibility.
Here's Five Ways You Can Help the Amazon Right Now...

"We must immediately halt deforestation everywhere. Then the returning trees would absorb as much as two-thirds of the carbon emissions already pumped into the atmosphere by our activities to date." 

Sir David Attenborough

Changing Our Diet for Rewilding the World

It is shockingly clear farming must be radically reduced. The areas we use to farm food and livestock need to decrease to make space for returning wilderness. The best way for us to do that is for us to change our diet. 

Research tells us eating meat impacts greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and deforestation and is an unmitigated environmental disaster.Research tells us eating meat impacts greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and deforestation and is an unmitigated environmental disaster.

Human meat-eaters will argue until the metaphorical cows come home that man was always a big meat-eater, on top of the food chain, but this is simply not true.

Historically and scientifically, humans have always been near the bottom of the food chain. Natural carnivores and omnivores eat an animal's eyes, nose, face, toes, tail, anus, inner organs, blood, brain, skin and fur uncooked. Humans have to cook parts of an animal to make them edible and for us not to be ill. That makes us artificial carnivores and fake omnivores.

It means that before tools, weapons and fire, there was no meat-eating at all. Humans were vegans long before we started hunting and consuming corpses. When the Ice Age ended, we should have gone back to the gathering lifestyle that kept us connected to, and part of, the natural world.

Carnivores Need Vast Land Resources

Large carnivores are rare in nature because it takes many prey animals to support each of them. One predator needs more than 100 prey creatures for it to survive. Whenever we eat meat, we are demanding a massive expanse of space, with every portion of animal flesh, the land resources needed to support that meal are enormous.

The simple fact is, despite a meat-based diet being incredibly bad for our health, the planet can not sustain billions of large meat-eaters. If we all had a mostly plant-based diet, we would need only half of the land we use at the moment. By doing this, we increase the yield of the earth. High-tech solutions such as vertical indoor farming and hydroponics will produce more food with less land. 

Go Meatless for the Environment

As human beings in a world of choice and convenience, we have the option to choose a diet that avoids animal cruelty, drastically reduces our environmental impact, and is much better for our health.

Eating a plant-based diet also tastes better, with flavours coming from worldwide herbs and spices. A vegan diet, especially one that revolves mostly around whole plant foods, is really the most compassionate, sustainable, and healthy choice for us today.

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