David Attenborough Warns Our Planet Is ‘Facing A Crisis’
Sir David Attenborough has warned that our planet is 'facing a crisis' as experts predict one million species are now under the threat of extinction - urging people to take action now for a 'better future'.
The 94-year-old presenter returns to screens this evening with a new, hour-long documentary, Extinction: The Facts, which explores the devastating effects human action has had on the natural world.
"We are facing a crisis and one that has consequences for us all," Attenborough says gravely at the start of the programme.
The film shows us horrific scenes of destruction, including a sequence in which monkeys leap from trees and into a river to escape a fire. In another, a koala limps across a road, searching for shelter as its forest home is engulfed in flames.
The footage helps illustrate the nature and scale of the damage to the world's ecosystems - with one expert saying that, of the eight million species on Earth, one million are now threatened with extinction.
Another warns that vertebrae animals - birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians - have declined by 60 percent since 1970.
Attenborough explains that species have always come and gone, as this is how evolution works, but the rate of extinction has been rising dramatically.
In fact, it is believed to now be happening at 100 times the natural evolutionary rate, and it is accelerating.
Attenborough continues: "Over the course of my life I've encountered some of the world's most remarkable species of animals.
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"Only now do I realise just how lucky I've been - many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever."
Elsewhere in the show we meet the world's last two northern white rhinos - which used to be found in their thousands in central Africa.
However, the animals are now on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and hunting.
Wildlife keeper James Mwenda, who looks after the rhinos, says: "Many people think of extinction being this imaginary tale told by conservationists, but I have lived it, I know what it is."
The documentary also looks at the suspected origins of coronavirus, while showing how the pandemic demonstrates the risks of our increasing encroachment into the natural world.
The messages may be daunting, but Attenborough believes something can be done.
"I do truly believe that together we can create a better future," he adds.
"I might not be here to see it but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet's eco systems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.
"What happens next is up to every one of us."
Extinction: The Facts airs on BBC One on Sunday 13 September at 8pm.
Featured Image Credit: BBC