BBC One viewers left 'terrified' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts
Sir David is a talented entertainer and he is good at using that to worry people. The loss of species to extinction is his big concern, particularly furry species that we can relate to. Most of our pets are furry and it seems likely that in our recent evolutionary past we too were furry
To my knowledge he has never shown concern about species such as cockroaches. Yet cockroaches are an important lesson in extinctions. Mankind has attacked them furiously yet they thrive. So a species can be very hardy. Modernity and mankind generally may have little effect on a species.
So the science in the Attenborough show is slight. The basic scientific fact is that species differentiate and go extinct all the time. On some estimates over 98% of all the species that have ever lived on earth are now extinct. You do not see dinosaurs wandering around these days.
It is of course sensible and congenial to make efforts to conserve species we admire but nature has its own way in these things, so we are unlikely to do much that will change its trajectory. The fittest will survive. Others will not.
Sir David claims that species loss is higher now than it once was. But that is unknowable. To prove that you would need to have good data on species numbers over a long period of time. Yet we have no firm numbers on how many species there are right now. It is entirely possible that human conservation efforts have SLOWED the rate of extinction. So Sir David's claims are pure propaganda with no basis in science
And as for his claim that global warming has been detrimental to species abundance, the reality is likely to be the opposite. Warmth is generally helpful to life.
My favourite example of that is Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a reef that stretches over a thousand miles North to South along the Australian East coast -- from cool subtropical waters in the South to near equatorial temperatures in the Torres Strait (Yes. Strait, not straight). So where on the reef are species (fish, corals, algae, invertebrates etc.) most abundant along that stretch? In the cool South or the equatorial North? I think you know the answer. Warmth is GOOD for life
Sir David is a likeable character but in the end he is just another bullsh*tter
BBC One viewers have been left 'terrified' and 'angry' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts.
The hour-long programme, which aired tonight (September 13), saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it's also impacting humanity and the planet.
Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.
While it all might seem like doom and gloom, the documentary did end on a hopeful note, as we revisited the forest slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda, where Attenborough had a memorable encounter with a group endangered mountain gorillas over four decades ago.
Back in 1978, there were just 250 of the gorillas left, but thanks to the conservation and protection of their habitat over the last forty years, their population now exceeds 1000.
"It just shows what we can achieve when we put our minds to it," said Attenborough.
"I do truly believe that, together, we can create a better future. 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 ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.