I love Sir David Attenborough and was excited to read this. It’s one part biography, another part dire warning letter to those of us who will be alive long after David Attenborough departs this world, and one part hope, talking about the things we are doing now and in the near future to (hopefully, maybe) avoid a climate disaster.
The first half of the book is definitely not a happy-feel-good story. He writes a letter to us and future generations, warning of the changes he has seen in his lifetime and the changes yet to happen due to climate change and our affect on the planet.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. He gives an overview of some of the sustainable ideas and technologies that various individuals, companies and even some governments are working on and the massive benefits they have if they are scaled up. It gives some hope that we might (maybe, hopefully) can turn things around. But time is definitely running out.
And given how people have generally responded to wearing masks and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, we probably don’t have much hope.
In the first episode, they document the discovery of Yosemite Valley and a quote by Lafayette Bunnell.
“None but those who have visited this most wonderful valley can even imagine the feelings with which I looked upon the scene that was there presented.
The grandeur of the scene was but softened by the haze that hung over the valley-light as gossamer-and by the clouds which partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision but increased the awe with which I beheld it, and as I looked a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears with emotion.
…for I have seen before me the power and glory of a Supreme being.”
It’s a great quote (and a great geology related quote at that) and reminds me of something a friend said to me on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada a number of years ago.
While eating lunch on an outcrop overlooking a forested valley, he said, “I may not believe in much, but this right here, this is my church.”
One of the anecdotes they relate is the story of an octopus that snuck out of its enclosure at night and would snatch crabs from another tank. I’d actually heard this before, but didn’t realize it happened here!
About 10 years ago, Mr. Shepherd says, crabs kept mysteriously disappearing from a tank in the old academy. The culprit was a giant octopus two tanks over, which used its tentacles to sneak out at night and snatch crabs, he says. The octopus tank has since been wrapped in AstroTurf.