Sustainability Book Reviews #1: A Life on Our Planet.


Sustainability Book Reviews #1: A Life on Our Planet.

“If we do things that are unsustainable, the damage accumulates to a point when ultimately the whole system collapses. No habitat, no matter how big, is secure.”


A Life on Our Planet is an extraordinary witness statement from a man who has been alive for 97 years and so seen, first-hand, how humanity has transformed this planet. From a young boy at 11, when the world population was just 2.3 billion, to age 94 in 2020 when it skyrocketed to 7.8 billion and the human impact was global and devastating, David Attenborough has watched Earth evolve under human guidance, and seen the assault on every aspect of life cause vast and overwhelming damage.

The book features three main sections: first is Attenborough’s witness statement of the environment’s degradation over his lifetime, drawn from his personal experiences up close and personal with rainforests, animals, indigenous peoples and delivering information about them all to the world. Second is “What Lies Ahead”: a short, yet poignant warning of what the next hundred years will look like on this planet, should we not make changes now, in the present. And finally, Attenborough’s vision for the future, an explanation of what needs to change, how it can be done, and the effects those changes will bring about.

A Life on Our Planet is written with an easy, almost conversational, tone of voice, and Attenborough is masterful at guiding the reader through the even the most heart-breaking of facts and statistics about our declining biodiversity. For both those who know everything about climate change, and those who know nothing: an excellent and thought-provoking read.

This is the first instalment of a new series in which the team comprising the Academy for Sustainable Futures recommends sustainability- and climate-themed books. This series will feature on the blog and in the monthly newsletter, Us in the World.

By Bethany Climpson, Sustainability Engagement Assistant

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