What can we apply right now from the movie ‘A Life on Our Planet’

This is the story of global decline that happened during just one lifetime, through the eyes of a great man - David Attenborough

Natalia Kresic
Whizzk

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Photo by Ethan Dow on Unsplash

Netflix recently aired a new documentary film by David Attenborough, “A Life on our Planet”, that speaks up about climate change.

David Attenborough is a legendary British filmmaker who has dedicated his whole life to exploring and documentation of nature and the world we live in. 93 years is a long time in human eyes, but it is just a glimpse into history and nature.

The documentary “A Life on our Planet” is Sir Attenborough’s lifetime achievement, and he himself calls it his own witness statement and vision of the future. This is the story of global decline that happened during just one lifetime. For comparison, the author brings us facts of a lifetime that awaits a person born this year. For details, I recommend watching a few shots that predict the 2030s, 2050s, 2080s, and 2100s.

Climate change is definitely something we should entertain our minds with while we sit at home. This should not be to profoundly add to our present misery but to ponder our planet’s state consciously and replan our lives accordingly. This is the right moment since we are about to face a restart form once the lockdowns ease and the epidemics begin to retreat.

If you plan to send your child to college to another continent in 5 years, watch this movie.

If you are planning to open a restaurant next to the sea, watch this movie.

If you are forming a family, watch this film. Maybe it might become clearer what our children will be involved in their lives.

If you are planning to move, watch this film. Maybe you will get a clearer vision of where to move or whether to move at all or not.

If you are planning to get married, watch this film, and don’t watch it alone.

If you are, on the other hand, planning to get divorced, also watch this film. It might become clearer how to shift the focus from yourself to yourselves and gratitude.

If you work by any chance in tourism, also make sure you watch this film. Maybe it will finally come to light that tourism is nothing about numbers, but people who bring something and take some things away from the place they visit.

What is David Attenborough’s message?

This documentary has landed on Netflix streaming service in late September and has become like assigned homework for all the masses now confined to their homes and forced to flip over channels.

Do we recognize the irony behind this fact? Maybe someone somewhere has arranged for us to be sitting at this time and only in that way become mindful enough to absorb this kind of content. Let us consider this idea just, for instance.

Contrary to many similar movies, this one does not try to prove the state our planet is in right now. This should already be familiar to everybody by now. It is enough to take a look from almost anybody’s window to witness some changes in our close environment. Imagine then the impact the fragile nature’s habitats are showing when being thoroughly explored.

Here, the author creates his lifetime document in which he shows the biggest human mistake that has laid the foundations for our wrongful human thinking, prosperity, and action. Out of all facts presented wittingly in the film, the last third weighs the most. This part brings an action plan with which it is possible to save us still. It is not the planet that needs saving. It is humankind. Without us, the planet will find its way to rebuild and restore.

Among many simple concepts presented in the film, there is a very straightforward sentence that has been lingering in my mind since I have seen it: Anything that cannot be done or used forever is by definition unsustainable. Imagine, just briefly, our interaction with nature, with our resources concerning overdeveloped tourism areas on the Mediterranean. What is happening with our fish funds? How about the green belt along the coastline? And especially what is going on with the over the construction of shallow third-rate tourist accommodations? What is sustainable in those cases, and for how long?

Therefore, here are the five fundamental steps that can change our (only!) planet’s advanced climate state.

I have tried to make every one of these steps apply to small tourism entrepreneurs and holiday homeowners’ business since we as entrepreneurs are also responsible to make an impact.

1. Phase-out fossil fuels and run the world with renewable energy

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As a first step, it is necessary to become aware that we do not actually have other choices. Solar, geothermal, water, and wind are our only energy solutions for the future. Let me emphasize the sentence quoted above: only what lasts forever can be sustainable, and fossil fuels are not.

Therefore, whoever has recently invested in constructing their house or rental from scratch and did not consider this, has not made good plans or lasting solutions. The adaptation period to these energy sources, i.e., phasing out old practices, makes us hit the wall. We cannot avoid this. The sooner we accept and adopt them, the sooner we will respond successfully to these challenges.

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

This summer, we had a noiseless Tesla park by our house with our guests from France we were expecting to arrive. Their first need was to recharge their car. It could have been done from our house, but in the end, the city garage was the best solution since it had parking places specially designed for this brand. I am saying that we should not be surprised with similar requests in the future, as soon as our business gets back on its feet.

So, if you are in the process of setting up the parking spots around your house or estate, or organizing your outdoor installations, make sure you have this in mind. Of course, this is being one of the many similar shifts to consider in our near future.

Another strong topic is solar energy and its availability. Many still lack a real considerable amount of solar panels either on roofs or generally outdoors, with some countries’ exceptions. So, if you still have not placed some of the solar panels, take time this winter to gather offers, inform about current subsidies, and when ready, invest in this project. Real estate always needs adaptation and care, as well as constant investments, so let this one be high on your priority list. It will save you money shortly and, more importantly, make you more confident in your energy access.

2. Restore fish funds

Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash

Special attention was brought to this topic in the movie. There is so much pure life that comes out of this point for all of us. This dependency cycle is explained well by the author. The same goes for the fish funds in the oceans far from the funds and us in the seas closer to our home.

The scarcity of fish has become a major issue in coastal areas. There is a need for a plan, the one that we can act upon quickly. Let the expertise decide, while we on our local level need to give them support. It is time to let go of old practices because the old sea/ocean does not exist anymore. New rules must apply. The alternative is NO fish at all.

3. Change of human diet to largely plant-based

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Historically, not so long ago, meat was a luxury. Even though this is today a memory of poverty and limited resources, it seems better it stayed that way. This might sound a little harsh, but the fact that a man of today who eats meat in almost every meal has led to sabotage our own future directly!

The big meat production industries have wasted so much space to plant cattle food that this seriously has taken over the world’s wilderness along with its biodiversity! This is an ongoing tragedy. Only decreased market demand can reverse this situation.

Not every individual needs to switch over to eating vegetarian food, but larger amounts of non-meat meals should occur in personal choices and restaurants. If you own a restaurant, cook for your guests, or even recommend places to eat, bear in mind the increased demand for non-meat. Also, this is not to be considered as a trend or abstract belief. In many cases, it is exactly this: care of an individual for this staggering issue climate-wise.

This winter is perfect timing for exploring new recipes and playing in the kitchen. Maybe your restaurant brings on new exciting menus when it reopens.

4. Halt deforestation and restore forests

Photo by Janusz Maniak on Unsplash

When we mention deforestation, maybe we first think about the Amazon rainforest, since the recent news on its fires. However, here in Europe, we have so many forests destroyed by wildfires. There is so much we need to do about it.

There is a very successful Croatian project called BORANKA. It is an example of replanting deforested terrain. It attracted international attention because of its continuous success. This is one of the positive examples used by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in its certification educations. The project was also given several marketing awards as it was recognized to deliver real results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYAf64DarwY

We can also contribute to this sort of project ourselves — we can introduce one in our own community, enroll our children in the local scout’s team to get acquainted with these issues from an early age.

We can also protect our forests by monitoring our guests’ behavior in the area and act accordingly, reducing waste and, if we are by any chance a forest owner, preserving it by recognizing its greater significance for our microclimate, fight against pollution as well as our psychological peace.

5. Replanting native trees

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

This is my favorite point. I have decided to act upon it already next spring. I think that everybody can do something about it. Let’s plant trees and plants. Let us not be fooled by the looks of the plants, but its function and maintenance. Take care that they do not need watering if possible. Authentic native sorts are the best remedy for every zone. However, the climate has already done some serious shifts in microclimate, that it is not anymore surprising to see figs and banana trees growing in continental Europe (!).

Generally, when choosing an appropriate tree seedling, it is important to have in mind the ability of a certain sort to absorb CO2 — the more, the better. It is also good to consider other heat-fighting characteristics like a shadow and which tree can be a good “insect hotel” and home to other tiny species.

Take a look at your house, summerhouse, or your vacation rental.

Does it provide space for at least one tree?

Plant it right now, for your own personal peace. Watch it prosper and grow, and let it be just the first step in the process. Your climate change fighter trees can get their own names. Make these names nice and visible, and tell this story to your guests. Maybe in this way, you succeed in spreading the word, as well as action.

At the very end, Sir Attenborough gives us the final principle, the one that overrides everything:
Just do what nature has always done: nothing can thrive if the life around it does not thrive.

We, ourselves alone, cannot thrive while our surrounding suffers and diminishes.

The original of this text can be found at www.whizzk.com.

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Natalia Kresic
Whizzk
Editor for

Educated and worked in tourism, certified in sustainable tourism, an explorer of positive future options concerning environment, society and culture.