To honour the incredible work of David Attenborough, we need to get to work
Blue Planet 2 has returned and people have been waiting rather impatiently for the wonder that is Attenborough to be back on our screens. He’s a guaranteed success for the BBC. No other documentarian comes close. Attenborough is so beloved by the public, that whenever his name trends on Twitter everyone automatically fears the worst. To pay tribute to Attenborough, though, let us do more than tweet his praise. Let’s do what what he’s asking us to do and get to work.
According to research, around 1.4 billion pounds of waste ends up in our oceans every single year. This impact can be devastating. Entire beaches end up covered in plastic which isn’t just harmful for human visitors but also the creatures that use beaches such as nesting turtles or crabs. Birds can also pick up plastic along the shoreline, causing them to become tangled and injured or accidentally ingest it.
“To pay tribute to Attenborough, though, let us do more than tweet his praise”
There are other forms of pollution having a serious impact too. Oil spills threaten thousands of creatures every year. Even ship noise can be a serious problem for orcas and dolphins. Noise pollution can interfere with many ocean species, impacting their ability to communicate and hunt. Over-fishing is also a huge problem and depleting sources of prey. The positioning of dams too is having a serious impact on access to prey. Orcas are starving to death, and experiencing miscarriages because of a lack of food because of dams.
Attenborough doesn’t just want us to watch his latest series and feel sad, he wants to see the world take action. We still have time.
We can petition and write to our MPs to demand they take action on pollution and climate change. Both issues have fallen significantly off the agenda under the Conservatives. We can force them to pay attention in the same way we are with regards to austerity. We can’t have a truly left wing movement until we begin to tackle climate change. The increasing damage to our planet will harm those who are the most poor and most marginalised across the world. We can only deliver true social justice if we also fight for the future of the planet. Hell, if we’re tweeting through Blue Planet 2 then tag your MP and make them pay attention to what is going on. Slacktivism works.
We can also buy less plastic, and ask manufacturers to use less plastic within packaging. So much of the plastic that goes to waste was unnecessary in the first place. We can also lobby for less ferries and ships to travel through. Yeah, that will inconvenience some but we need to limit our activity to reduce the damage to the planet. Just small concessions could make the difference between same populations of animals or watching them slowly die.
There are also numerous charities that try to deal with the impact of the damage being done to our oceans. If you can, support local actions rather than big corporations. They know their areas best and tend to work in an intersectional way. Too often environmental organisations have swooped in and ignored what local populations have faced, increasing tensions between communities and activists. We need solutions which work for everyone.
Centre the environment in activist discussions. The environment is usually only discussed in regards to single issues, such as when it comes to opposing fracking in local areas or tackling London’s air pollution. It needs to be constantly considered to be able to have a real impact. In political and activist discussions/meetings, set time aside to discuss the environment.
Blue Planet 2 is likely to be one of the best shows of 2017. We can truly celebrate it by standing up for our planet.