Back to birds, this time the Peregrin Falcon, courtesy of Alex!
They are beautiful photographs of these incredible birds!
Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.
Back to birds, this time the Peregrin Falcon, courtesy of Alex!
They are beautiful photographs of these incredible birds!
A start to a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 4.
Yesterday morning (Oregon time) had me listening to a new series on BBC Sounds. It was Frontlines of Journalism. Here is what the Beeb had to say about it:
Released On: 27 Feb 2023
Available for over a year
In the spring of 2023, twenty years after the Americans, the British and their allies invaded to overthrow Saddam Hussein, BBC International Editor Jeremy Bowen was reporting from Iraq for the BBC. He described the invasion as ‘a catastrophe’. Taking you to some of the most difficult stories Jeremy and other journalists have covered; in this episode – why impartiality is not about trying to get perfect balance, the truth lying somewhere in the middle. Often it does not. Jeremy speaks with: journalist Rana Rahimpour who was born in Iran but left when she was 25 to work for the BBC; former BBC bureau chief Milton Nkosi, who grew up under apartheid in Soweto, South Africa; journalist and environmentalist George Monbiot, and CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour.
Presenter: Jeremy Bowen Producer: Georgia Catt Assistant Producer: Sam Peach Additional research: Rob Byrne Series mixing: Jackie Margerum Series Editor: Philip Sellars.
But in wanting to present a little more to you readers, I did some research on the topic and came across this article published by the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford. I cannot see a warning about not sharing this with you.
Impartiality is still key for news audiences. Here’s how to rethink it for the digital age
Our research shows people still value the ideal of impartial news. A new report offer suggestions to adapt it to a challenging environment.
Tuesday 19 October 2021
Most people agree that news organisations and journalists should reflect all sides of an issue and not push a particular agenda – at least when asked about it in surveys. Our 2021 Digital News Report finds this to be true across countries and age groups.
However, many people feel that the media often fail to live up to this ideal. Our surveys consistently show that committed partisans believe that traditional media coverage is unfair, especially in countries where debates about politics or social justice have become deeply polarised. In recent years we’ve also seen an increase in opinion-led television formats such as Fox News/MSNBC in the United States, GB News in the UK and CNews in France, while many traditional print publications have focussed on distinctive and robust opinion as a way of standing out online.
Together with the growth of partisan websites, YouTubers and podcasters, audiences now have access to a wider range of views than ever before. Against this background, some have questioned traditional approaches to impartiality that try to represent all points of view within a single broadcast or publication. Other critics go further – arguing that impartiality has given extreme or unrepresentative views undue prominence, through its focus on balance, helping to legitimise climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers amongst others.
This all raises the question: how relevant is impartial and objective journalism to audiences today? The Reuters Institute commissioned market research company JV Consulting to carry out qualitative research in four countries – Brazil, Germany, the UK, and the US – with different news markets, traditions of public broadcasting, and systems of media regulation. They conducted a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews on our behalf in February and March 2021 with politically and ethnically diverse groups of older and younger people interested in and engaged with news (52 people in total).
These are some of the key findings of the report:
It is important to recognise that not all news organisations are committed to impartiality: indeed, some make a virtue of creating news and opinion with a clear point of view. But most will want to take note of audience desires for a range of views to be represented and to see clearer labelling of news and opinion. For news organisations that are committed to impartiality, the report highlights the increased dangers in areas where journalism is more informal or accessed in distributed environments. Public media like the BBC have already embarked on updated training and issued new guidelines on these issues. Audiences have also sent a clear signal in this report that they would like much greater transparency over why certain perspectives are included or excluded, however difficult this may be in practice.
Finally, the report notes that given the importance of social media, search and other access points, technology platforms such as Facebook, Google and Apple, will also need to develop clearer guidelines on impartiality – as their own trust levels will depend on fair implementation of policies around inclusion and exclusion, whether by algorithm or human intervention.
Now this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but when one thinks of the enormous amount of news and information one gathers from the television, the radio, the press and a wide variety of online sources then thinking a little more about the truth of what we are being told is crucial to us making wise decisions. including voting where appropriate.
People still value the ideal of impartial news; there is no question about that!
The last day of April, 2023, brings a change in the Picture Parades.
My son, Alex, is a very keen photographer and has taken many beautiful photos of birds. He wants to build his following especially on Instagram (that is a link to Alex’s page) and I was very willing to assist him in his endeavour.
So starting today I will be posting the photographs taken by Alex and repeating this every other Sunday. In other words, I shall now be alternating between birds and dogs for as long as is possible.
But first of all here is Alex’s QR code.
Alex uses an Olympus camera, an OM-1, and his lens is an Olympus M zuiko 150-400TC pro. A feature of the camera is the continuous shooting rate of 130 frames per second that Alex uses to good effect; as you can see.
So if you are interested in photography, please go across to this Instagram link and revel in the wonderful pictures featuring wildlife from the UK🇬🇧, mainly in the counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol.
Next Sunday we are back to dogs!
In memory of Gordon Moore.
Gordon Earle Moore (January 3, 1929 – March 24, 2023) was an American businessman, engineer, and the co-founder and emeritus chairman of Intel Corporation.
It was in 1965 that Gordon Moore suggested that every year there would be a doubling of the number of components per integrated circuit. In 1975 he revised his forecast to a doubling every two years; that prediction has become a reliable outcome and became known as Moore’s Law.
Just look at the left-hand scale of that graph above and ponder on the figures. From less than 10,000 in 1971 to more than 10 billion in 2021!
Gordon Earle Moore in 1978. He died on March 24th, 2023 aged 94 years.
What an amazing man!
A fascinating article about the fossilisation of teeth.
Change is a constant! That’s not my saying but it is still a very good one. There are many, many articles online about the pace of change and I am not going to pick a particular one; you can do that yourself if you are interested.
But I am going to republish an article about the fossilisation of teeth. It was published on January 25th, 2023 and it was an article in The Conversation.
Tesla Monson, Western Washington University
Fossilized bones help tell the story of what human beings and our predecessors were doing hundreds of thousands of years ago. But how can you learn about important parts of our ancestors’ life cycle – like pregnancy or gestation – that leave no obvious trace in the fossil record?
The large brains, relative to overall body size, that are a defining characteristic of our species make pregnancy and gestation particularly interesting to paleoanthropologists like me. Homo sapiens’ big skulls contribute to our difficult labor and delivery. But the big brains inside are what let our species really take off.
My colleagues and I especially wanted to know how fast our ancestors’ brains grew before birth. Was it comparable to fetal brain growth today? Investigating when prenatal growth and pregnancy became humanlike can help reveal when and how our ancestors’ brains became more like ours than like our ape relatives’.
To investigate the evolution of prenatal growth rates, we focused on the in-utero development of teeth – which do fossilize. By building a mathematical model using the relative lengths of molar teeth, we were able to track evolutionary changes in prenatal growth rates in the fossil record. Based on our model, it looks as if pregnancy and prenatal growth became more humanlike than chimplike almost 1 million years ago.
Pregnancy and gestation are important periods – they guide future growth and development and set the biological course for life.
But human pregnancy, and particularly labor and delivery, cost a lot of energy and are often dangerous. The large fetal brain requires a lot of nutrients during development. The rate of embryonic growth during gestation, also known as the prenatal growth rate, exacts a metabolic and physiological toll on the gestating parent. And the tight fit of the infant’s head and shoulders through the pelvic canal during delivery can lead to death, for both the mother and child.
As a trade-off to those potential downsides, there must be a really good reason to have such large heads. The justification is all the abilities that come along with having a big human brain. The evolution of our large brain contributed to our species’ dominance and is associated with increased use of technology and tools, creation of art and the ability to survive in diverse landscapes, among other advances.
The timing and sequence of events that led to the evolution of our large brains is entangled with the ability to find and process more resources, through the use of tools and cooperative group work, for example.
By investigating changes in prenatal growth, we are also investigating changes in how parents gathered food resources and distributed them to their offspring. These increasing resources would have also helped drive the evolution of an even bigger brain. Understanding more about when prenatal growth and pregnancy became humanlike at the same time reveals information about when and how our brains did too.
Humans have the highest prenatal growth rate of all primates living today, at 0.41 ounces/day (11.58 grams/day). Gorillas, for example, have a much larger adult body size than humans, but their prenatal growth rate is only 0.29 ounces/day (8.16 grams/day). Because more than a quarter of all human brain growth is completed during gestation, the rate of prenatal growth directly relates to how big an adult brain grows. How and when Homo sapiens‘ high prenatal growth rate evolved has been a mystery, until now.
Researchers have spent centuries investigating variation in fossilized skeletal remains. Unfortunately brains – let alone gestation and prenatal growth rate – don’t fossilize.
But my colleagues and I started thinking about how teeth develop very, very early in utero. Your permanent adult teeth started developing long before you were born, when you were just a 20-week-old fetus. Tooth enamel is more than 95% inorganic, and the vast majority of everything we see in the vertebrate fossil record is teeth, or has teeth.
Building off this realization, we decided to investigate the relationship between prenatal growth rate, brain size and the lengths of teeth.
We measured the teeth of 608 recently living primates from skeletal collections all around the world. We compared those measurements to rates of prenatal growth that we calculated from average gestation length and mass at birth for each species. We also looked at endocranial volume – essentially how much space is inside the skull – as a proxy for brain size.
We found that the rate of prenatal growth is significantly correlated with both adult brain size and relative tooth lengths, across apes and monkeys.
Because prenatal growth is so tightly correlated with relative molar lengths, we were able to use this statistical relationship to generate a mathematical equation that predicts prenatal growth rate from teeth alone. With this equation, we can take a few molar teeth from an extinct fossil species and reconstruct exactly how fast their offspring grew during gestation.
Using our new method, we then reconstructed prenatal growth rates for 13 fossil species, building a timeline of changes over the past 6 million years of human and hominid evolution. “Hominid” describes all the species on the human side of the family tree after the split about 6 million to 8 million years ago from the common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees. From our new research, we now know that prenatal growth rates increased throughout hominid evolution, reaching a humanlike rate that exceeds what we see in all other apes less than 1 million years ago.
A fully human prenatal growth rate appeared with the evolution of our species Homo sapiens only around 200,000 years ago. But other hominid species living in the past 200,000 years, such as Neanderthals, also had “human” prenatal growth rates. Which genes were involved in these changes in growth rate remains to be investigated.
Even with only a few teeth and some of the jaw, a trained expert can tell countless things about an extinct individual – what species it was, what kind of diet it ate, whether it competed for mates through fighting, how old it was when it died, whether or not it had any serious health issues and more.
Now, for the first time, we can add to that list knowing what pregnancy and gestation were like for that individual and other members of its species. Teeth can even indirectly hint at the emergence of human consciousness, via evolving brain size.
Interestingly, our model suggests that prenatal growth rates started increasing well before the emergence of our Homo sapiens species. We can hypothesize that having a fast prenatal growth rate was necessary for growing that big brain and evolving human consciousness and cognitive abilities.
These are the sorts of big-picture questions this research lets us start to formulate now – all from just a few teeth.
Tesla Monson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Western Washington University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Tesla Monson is the Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Western Washington University.
This may not make the daily headlines but, personally, I think that is a shame. The discovery has all sorts of implications for life, including ancient life, on this planet. And speaking of life let us bear a thought for the carnage that is happening in Turkey at this present time. A BBC headline:
A rescue operation is under way across much of southern Turkey and northern Syria following a huge earthquake that has killed more than 2,300 people
Finding one that really works.
Whatever age we are and in many different cultures the New Year holds out so much hope. It seems an opportunity to start anew, to put the habits of last year behind us, to embrace a new start. Yet all the evidence is that a New Year’s Resolution will not make it through to February.
That is why I picked up on a recent article in The Conversation, that they kindly allow to be republished.
Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Penn State. Published: January 3, 2023.
The late Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh leading a meditation walk. Steve Cray/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
The start of another year can feel magical to many of us. Even though the days remain short and dark, the flip of the calendar can make it seem new beginnings with new resolutions are possible.
Mindfulness scholars and teachers like me call resolutions “habit breakers,” as they can overcome patterns that no longer serve individuals. However, research suggests that many resolutions fail by the end of January.
But a key to ensuring that resolutions stick is to choose one that will make a meaningful difference in your life. Seeing a real, tangible benefit can provide inspiration to keep going when all of life is telling us to let things go back to how they were before.
Living more mindfully is a common New Year’s resolution. This year, try gifting it to others.
Mindfulness has been shown to have a number of meaningful health benefits – it can help reduce anxiety and promote healing in those suffering from long-term chronic illness.
The practice is based on an insight first described by ancient Buddhist texts that human beings have the capacity to observe experience without being caught up in it. This means, simply and wonderfully, that it is possible to observe ourselves having a craving, or a happy thought, or even a scary emotion, without reacting in the moment in a way that amplifies the feeling or sends the mind spiraling off into thinking about old memories or anticipating events.
This practice can help calm the mind and the body as we learn not to react to experience with likes and dislikes or judgments of good and bad. It does not make us cold or apathetic but more fully present.
One of the challenges of practicing mindfulness in our contemporary world is that there has been a profound transformation in human attention. The artist Jenny Odell argues that in our “attention economy” human attention has been transformed into a commodity that big corporations buy and sell. This economy rests on a technological revolution of mobile phones and social media that makes it possible for corporations to reach us with content that can capture and monetize our focus, at every moment, every day, and no matter where we may be.
The constant need to be checking our phones keeps us from being fully present. Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The needy little devices most people carry in their pockets and wear on their wrists, incessantly beeping and buzzing and chirping, are a perpetual diversion from the present moment. The result is that it can feel as though our ability to focus, and be fully present, has been stolen.
But mindfulness can help us resist the attention economy and savor the things that make life special, like being together with those we love.
While most mindfulness research focuses on the individual benefits of the practice, scholars like me argue that we not only practice mindfulness for ourselves but that we can also practice it for others. It can help us build stronger, healthier relationships.
The sad truth is that living in the attention economy, most of us have become bad listeners. However, just as it is possible to watch ourselves having an experience without reacting, it’s possible to watch another person have an experience without getting tied up in reactivity and judgment. It’s possible simply to be present.
The gift of mindfulness is a practice of listening with compassion to another person describe their experiences. To give this gift means putting away your phone, turning off social media, and setting aside other common distractions. It means practicing being fully present in another person’s presence and listening to them with complete attention, without reacting with judgment, while resisting the urge to make the interaction about you.
If we judge the value of gifts based on how much they cost, this gift may seem worthless. But in a distracted world, I argue, it is a precious one.
It is not a gift that you will wrap, or put inside a card; it’s not one you will have to name as a gift or draw attention to. It’s something you can do right now.
Professor David Engels is spot on. The number of people who are wedded to their cell phone, especially the younger ones of us, is frightening. Many years ago I was fortunate to have a counsellor who was into mindfulness and some of the good practices have stayed with me.
So, please, if you are thinking that your use of a cell phone is intrusive, even slightly, then let this New Year present a new you!
Belinda sent in the following attached to one of her comments. It’s perfect! Thank you, Belinda!
And while we are on the subject of New Year’s Resolutions try this one. It is not a long video but it is extremely important; it concerns our diet and our health!
But an important one!
From the 21st November until the 23rd Sunshine Solar installed a solar panel system. But we were then told to wait until Pacific Power had come to the house to put in a new electricity meter. Last Thursday, 1st December, Brent from Pacific Power called by and replaced our electricity meter. He replaced it with a bi-directional meter that when we were producing more power than we are consuming then the surplus would be ‘banked’ to be used at times when we required the surplus.
This was the result of us investing in a ground-mounted solar system.
We purchased the system from Solar Sunshine after doing a great deal of research. Indeed Brent said that they were a great company.
The other thing that we had no choice over was to install a ground-mounted system some 120 feet from the house. Because neither the house nor the roof face East and therefore are no use for solar. But as Brent pointed out last Thursday the ground-mounted system, despite being more expensive, was a good alternative to the roof system because new roof tiles were irrelevant.
The system consists of 30 individual panels capable of producing a maximum output of 65 amps at 240 volts; in other words 15,600 watts!
Yesterday, Cory and Brandon (sp?) came out to the system and checked that it was alright. Plus they gave us an digital application so we could see how much power we were generating, plus more, and they also took some photographs, that I offer you now.
This last photograph was one taken by yours truly with Cory on the left and Brandon on the right with Jeannie in the middle.
Finally, the ‘app’ is going to be very useful.
Already it shows that last Saturday the array produced 29 kilowatts and then yesterday, the 4th December, the array produced 22.9 kilowatts and these were by no means sunlit days all the time. That brings the total for all 5 days in December, in other words since the system went live, to 91.1 kilowatts as of 15:27 PT on the 5th.
We are most pleased with the company and the installation.
About the 2022 Artic Summer Sea Ice.
There’s no way to make this pleasant; the Arctic Summer Sea Ice tied for the tenth lowest on record.
According to satellite observations, Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent (lowest amount of ice for the year) on Sept. 18, 2022. The ice cover shrank to an area of 4.67 million square kilometers (1.80 million square miles) this year, roughly 1.55 million square kilometers (598,000 square miles) below the 1981-2010 average minimum of 6.22 million square kilometers (2.40 million square miles).
The average September minimum extent record shows significant declines since satellites began measuring consistently in 1978. The last 15 years (2007 to 2021) are the lowest 15 minimum extents in the 43-year satellite record.
This visualization, created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, shows data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument aboard JAXA’s Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water “SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1) satellite.
Music: “Celestial Vault” from Universal Production Music
Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Kathleen Gaeta (GSFC AIMMS): Lead Producer
Trent L. Schindler (USRA): Lead Animator
Roberto Molar (KBR): Lead Writer
As I said, a sorry tale for which there is no good news. I wish there were!
As in we humans living on this planet.
Next Saturday I am giving a talk to our local Freethinkers and Humanists group on climate change. As a result of this I was doing some research on the subject and I thought that I would share what I found with you.
But first may I say that the new King of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, may not have ages and ages on the throne but he is a committed environmentalist. In a recent VoA article the Prince of Wales, as he was then, reported that when Charles opened the COP26 climate summit, held in Scotland last year, and gave the opening speech, urging world leaders seated in front of him to redouble their efforts to confront global warming, he warned: “Time has quite literally run out.”
It is us!
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicked off its 2021 report with the following statement: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.”
A little later the article says: It took a while, but climate modelling is now refined enough to predict how things would go without human influence, within a margin of error. What we are observing today, however, is beyond that margin of error, therefore proving that we have driven the change.
It is getting hot
The last decade was the hottest in 125,000 years. There are a number of graphs to support this. Here is one:
One of the facts of having a water world, 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water, is that a 2019 study found that oceans had sucked up 90% of the heat gained by the planet between 1971 and 2010. Another found that it absorbed 20 sextillion joules of heat in 2020 – equivalent to two Hiroshima bombs per second.
In fact CO2 levels are now the highest that they have been in 2 million years. Today, they stand at close to 420 parts per million (ppm). To put that into context pre-industrial levels, before 1750, had CO2 levels around 280 parts per million.
We are losing ice big time
I can do no better than to quote from Earth.org: Since the mid-1990s, we’ve lost around 28 trillion tons of ice, with today’s melt rate standing at 1.2 trillion tons a year. To help put that into perspective, the combined weight of all human-made things is 1.1 trillion tons. That’s about the same weight as all living things on earth.
I repeat: Every single year we are losing 1,200,000,000,000 tons of ice!
We can now attribute natural disasters to human-driven climate change with certainty. We can now say with precision how much likelier we made things like the North American summer 2021 heatwave, which the World Weather Attribution says was “virtually impossible” without climate change as well as the Indian heatwave, which experts believe it was made 30 times more likely because of climate change.
Climate change mitigation
There is a long and comprehensive article on the above subject on WikiPedia. I will quote from the paragraph Needed emissions cuts.
If emissions remain on the current level of 42 GtCO2, the carbon budget for 1.5 °C could be exhausted in 2028. (That’s 42 gigatones, as in 1 gigaton is a unit of explosive force equal to one billion (109) tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT).
In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report on climate change, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030, in order to likely limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, clarified that for this “Main emitters must drastically cut emissions starting this year”.
Then just before that paragraph WikiPedia reports that: The UNFCCC aims to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems can adapt naturally to climate change, food production is not threatened, and economic development can proceed in a sustainable fashion. Currently human activities are adding CO2 to the atmosphere faster than natural processes can remove it.
We need to act now, otherwise…
… it will be too late for billions of us.
This may be the most catastrophic of our climate change facts. As of now, only 0.8% of the planet’s land surface has mean annual temperatures above 29°C, mostly in the Sahara desert and Saudi Arabia (solid black in the map below).
A study by Xu et al. (2020) called “Future of the Human Niche” found that by 2070, under a high emissions scenario, these unbearable temperatures could expand to affect up to 3 billion people (dark brown areas).
Doing nothing is much worse than doing something
On the current path, climate change could end up costing us 11 to 14% of the global GDP by mid-century. Regression into a high emissions scenario would mean an 18% loss, while staying below 2°C would reduce the damage to only 4%.
It has been proposed that ending climate change would take between $300 billion and $50 trillion over the next two decades. Even if $50 trillion is the price tag, that comes down to $2.5 trillion a year, or just over 3% of the global GDP.
Climate change is an incredibly complex phenomenon, and there are many other things happening that were not covered above.
These are the facts. There is no disputing them. Jean and I are relatively immune from the effects, because of our ages, but not entirely so. The last few weeks with the imminent risk of our property being damaged by wildfires is one example. The last three winters being below average rainfall is another. But it is the youngsters I fear most for. On a personal note, my daughter and husband have a son and he is now 12. What sort of world is he growing up in?
So here is a view of the global population of young people.
Just before I close let me show you my final chart. It goes to show our attitudes.
I am not a political animal. However I recognise that it is our leaders, globally, but especially in the top 10 countries in the world, who have to be leaders! Here are the top 10 countries.
So, please, dear leader, make this the number one priority for your country and for the world (areas of their country in square kilometres): Russia. 17,098,242, Canada. 9,984,670, United States. 9,826,675, China. 9,596,961, Brazil. 8,514,877, Australia. 7,741,220, India. 3,287,263 and Argentina. 2,780,400.
There are not many who achieve so much, but Sir David most definately has!
This is our planet. It is the only one we have (stating the obvious!).
This beautiful photograph taken from the Apollo 11 mission says it all. That Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969 changed everything.
But one thing that was not on anyone’s mind then; the state of the planet!
How that has changed since 1969.
David Attenborough is a giant of a man, and I say this out of humility and respect for what he has done in his long life, he was born in May, 1926, and he is still fighting hard to get us humans to wake up to the crisis that is upon us.
Wikipedia has an entry that lists all the television shows, and more, that David Attenborough has made. As is quoted: “Attenborough’s name has become synonymous with the natural history programmes produced by the BBC Natural History Unit.”
Please take 45 minutes and watch this film. It is so important.
But before you do please read this extract taken from this site about the film:
For decades David Attenborough delighted millions of people with tales of life on Earth, exploring wild places and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Now, for the first time he reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime as a naturalist and the devastating changes he has seen.
Honest, revealing and urgent, the film serves as a witness statement for the natural world – a first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the jungles of central Africa, the North Pole and Antarctica. It also aims to provide a message of hope for future generations.
“I’ve had a most extraordinary life. It’s only now I appreciate how extraordinary,” Sir David says in the film’s trailer, in which he also promises to tell audiences how we can “work with nature rather than against it”.
The film retraces Sir David’s career, his life stages and natural history films, within the context of human population growth and the loss of wilderness areas. “I don’t think that the theoretical basis for the reason why biodiversity is important is a widely understood one,” he told the Guardian in September.
This autumn, a series of publications warned that “humanity is at a crossroads” in its relationship with nature, culminating in a UN report that the world has failed to meet a single target to stop the destruction of nature in the past decade.
Sir David has been vocal about the threat of climate change in recent years, calling on politicians to take their “last chance” to act rather than continue to “neglect long-term problems”.
“We need to learn how to work with nature, rather than against it”, according to Sir David. In the film, he is going to tell us how.
Now watch the film. Please!
As you can see, in the film Sir David states that the only way out of this mess is a massive focus on rewilding.
Coincidentally, Patrice Ayme last Sunday wrote about rewilding: California Grizzly: Rewilding Is A Moral Duty. In the latter half of that essay, he wrote: “One should strive to reintroduce American megafauna, starting with the more innocuous species (and that includes the grizzly). By the way, I have run and hiked in grizzly country (Alaska), with a huge bear pepper spray cannister at the ready. I nearly used the cannister on a charging moose (with her calf which was as big as a horse). The calf slipped off, and I eluded the mom through a thicket of very closely spaced tough trees. But I had my finger on the trigger, safety off. Moose attack more humans than grizzlies and wolves combined (although a bear attack is more dangerous). In any case, in the US, stinging insects kill around 100, deer around 200 (mostly through car collisions), and lightning around three dozen people, per year.
As it is, I run and hike a lot in California wilderness, out of rescue range. I generally try to stay aware of where and when I could come across bears, lions and rattlers. My last close call with a large rattlesnake, up a mountain slope, was partly due to hubris and not realizing I was moving in dangerous terrain. Fortunately I heard the slithering just in time. Dangerous animals make us aware of nature in its full glory, and the real nature of the human condition. They keep us more honest with what is real, what humanity is all about.
And that should be the primordial sense.“
I will close by offering you this photograph. May it inspire you to rewild, in small ways and also, if you can, in bigger ways. All of us must be involved. Otherwise…
…otherwise… (sentence left unfinished).