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Publisher's Summary

In this scientifically informed account of the changes occurring in the world over the last century, award-winning broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough shares a lifetime of wisdom and a hopeful vision for the future.

See the world. Then make it better.

I am 93. 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, its biodiversity. I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake - and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right.

We have one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited.

All we need is the will to do so. 

©2020 Sir David Attenborough and Jonnie Hughes (P)2020 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"The eminent traveler and naturalist delivers a combination of memoir and manifesto, the first leisurely, the second earnest....Recognizing that we are at a tipping point, Attenborough is refreshingly optimistic, noting that one thing humans do well is solve problems. Anyone concerned with the planet's ecological future will want to spend time with this excellent book." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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What listeners say about A Life on Our Planet

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  • Overall
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Engaging, powerful, hopeful, visionary.

I just finished listening to A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future - and then promptly watched the 1 1/2 hour companion documentary on Netflix. Listening to or reading the book is well worth the effort. At 93 and having circled the globe many times over, Sir David Attenborough’s engaging witness statement of man’s changes to our environment is very powerful. He narrates, through his life story, how he has witnessed all of our earth systems, ocean, land and animals, changed by us over time (and not for the better). These earth systems are explained in a clear, understandable and succinct manner - how we have damaged them and how we can fix things, concluding with a hopeful vision for the future. The research behind all of this is blended into the story, the story of our earth. This book SHOULD be required reading for everyone.
The documentary is a more visual illustration of his message, perhaps an ‘abridged’ version of the book. But don’t just watch the documentary. The book is so well written and engaging and succinct but says so much. Both are worth the time, they complement each other.

49 people found this helpful

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So important.

94(!) year old Attenborough does not narrate his new book, rather, he presents it as if you're watching "Our Planet" or another one of his amazing documentaries. I so wish portions of this book were mandated science curriculum for all students . . .and adults, somehow. Especially Americans, who constantly bury their heads in the sand and pretend that humans are not directly responsible for depleting the Earth's resources and much-needed biodiversity at a newly stunning rate that far exceeds the planet's ability to regenerate those resources and necessary wildlife therein. Absolutely heartbreaking. Such an important book. I just ordered the Hardcover version to have it at hand and to tag the facts and staggering numbers it presents.

40 people found this helpful

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A farewell and a message of hope

This, Sir David Attenborough’s farewell, is an incredible look at the world that Attenborough has lovingly shared with us for decades. You can feel his heart break as he pleads for us to take care of this planet that he loves so dearly.

28 people found this helpful

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Timely, scary, visionary

Highly recommend this book, and even more so implementing some, if not all, of his recommendations in your daily life.

13 people found this helpful

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A pessimistic view of the future of humankind.

This work by Attenborough is less about the natural world and more about how you and I need to give up our private property to the government so that it can be rewilded, how we must pay higher taxes and prices for goods to offset carbon usage, how his perfect view of humankind is us as tribal people that produce and consume little. If you are a pessimist and hate yourself you will find this a good read on your amazon kindle that was produced from a free capitalist, carbon creating corporation.

9 people found this helpful

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Beginning is a amazing

1st half: After a dizzingly astounding career spanning the better part of a century, this is an amazing analysis of history, geology, and biology with a grim prognosis by a naturalist at the top of his game.

2nd half: world’s longest TED talk

8 people found this helpful

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End of days

We all know it's true. Why waste time crying over the promise. We can't run effectively a government. A Planet...not at all.
It won't end like a book...people will survive.
Just not like a plan...but randomly in pockets.
Leave or die. In the looking glass....

8 people found this helpful

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a cautionary tale ending with hope and optomism

A will presented explanation of climatic and ennvironmental challenges that humans are facing. While human environmental impact has been very hard on many large animal groups the biggest threat will be to humans and the human niche. Many reasonable sounding corrections are suggested.
Population growth has played an important role in creating the problem but he suggests peak human population may occur this century. Rewilding tracts of land and large areas of ocean will help sustain or niche and even make the world a more pleasant place to live.
He does warm we need to do this without resorting to war.

4 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyed this book.

Sir David Attenborough is an outstanding narrator and author and I really enjoyed this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Lets Make The Planet Green

A Life on Our Planet is an apocalyptic look at global warming. David Attenborough starts the book giving his witness statement to change from 1937 to 2020. What he seems to hit most is ghe technological and technological industrial advances. One that he takes up in 1968 is msn going to outer space. And he talk a lot about how we saw our earth for the first time and the impact it had on mankind. He quickly moves into the eco system and the destruction for the rain forest and how it will lead to the destruction of most of the wildlife. In turn will lead to the melting of ice caps then to global warming on a scale that will make much of the world uninhabitable with temperature rising to 45 degrees Celsius / 113 degrees Fahrenheit. He states that this is a 4 degree celsius / 8 degrees Fahrenheit increase. He estimates by 2050 that the earth would be almost uninhabitable and that humans would have to resort to a different food source as opposed to meat. The third part of his book he dedicates to replenishing the earth through zone ocean water that fishing can be done in international water because the seafood will not sustain at the rate that humanity over-fishes and destroys the ocean eco system. He has many other ideas related to saving the planet that may or may not be logistically feasible for the survival of earth or really the survive of life on earth. The book touches on Biodiversity, which requires logging at the rate of nature regeneration of forest as opposed to over logging. It gets local communities involved which have a need to make the best of their local environments. He ties everything to mass extinction as he sees Repopulating the sea and forest with wildlife a way of avoiding it. He considers soy an major alternative to beef. The book mentions many times how out carbon footprint is depleting the ozone. He looks at Kenya, who has the lowest of percentage of meat eaters of any country, and discusses how they through Safari lodges have reestablish grasslands and the animal population. He talks about agroforestry where crops are planted under the trees and Wind turbines could stand over the forest to produce clean energy. He states that rich countries, who have increased meat eaters, will need to change the most. They will need to adopt a model where in the natural pattern of the environment animals fertilize the ground and clean the land of overgrowth. He sites in England, a new idea that is emerging called wild land farms where animals have improved the environment. He use Zebra, who eat tougher grasses, and Wildebeest, who eat the softer grasses, as part of yhe natural way that animals work together in harmony to create a better planet. He says the the return of of the trees could reduce the carbon emissions by two-thirds. He talks about the need for the reduction of the human population, and says it needs to mimic the animal population, the which is stable based on the its local environment.

3 people found this helpful