Saturday 22 October 2011

BBC: Frozen Planet.

On Wednesday 26 October at 09:00pm the BBC will be showing David Attenborough's latest documentary. Entitled "Frozen Planet."
The seven part series, four years in the making, will examine life at the poles, needless to say it will cover the changes being wrought by climate change on the ecosystems at the poles. This is an aspect which whilst touched upon in posts by blogs like Arctic Sea Ice Blog,, Patrick Lockerby, and other amateur enthusiasts following the demise of the Arctic, doesn't seem to be represented in a dedicated biology oriented blog.

Radio Times magazine has a lengthy article about the series in which Attenborough is quoted. The final episode of the series is particularly about the changes that will be touched upon in earlier episodes. The final line is:
Can we respond now to what is happening to the frozen planet?
Radio Times asks Attenborough how urgent our response to climate change should be. He replies:
As urgent as it can get, this is a mouse trying to move a mountain.... It has to exert every sinew to try and shift this huge boulder. So it's no good saying 'Well, it would be quite nice if we shitfed the boulder' - you've got to use all your energies and say, 'Look, this is really important.
When asked if he's convinced that global warming is man made Attenborough replies:
In one sense it is irrelevant, in that whatever the causes we cannot ignore what is happening. But I have no doubt that it is man made. 
This looks to be an epic and informative series at a vital time of vast climate change in the Arctic, but will it change anything. Will humanity keep the foot on the accelerator and drive right past this bleedin' obvious warning sign? Attenborough says he's pessimistic, I am too, but you won't find me arguing that case anywhere. Humanity can achieve great things when people have faith in their actions, I won't undermine the efforts to make humanity change path.

I'll continue to do what I can. I don't drive or take holidays abroad anymore, I get the bus to work. The heating doesn't go on unless it gets stupidly cold (i.e. not at all most winters). I've started a blog, so that the genuinely undecided can see a growing number of voices crying alarm at what's going on.

We can all only do what we can do. At least then if this process does turn out to be as bad as it may well be and future generations ask why we let it happen, we can say we acted, we did not stand silently or idly by. We can refer such questioners on to the deniers.

What will the deniers say?


arcticio said...

May be I get it wrong, but what is the difference between "We can all only do what we can do" and "Business as usual"?

Chris Reynolds said...

I can't force others to give up driving, reduce heating to the minimum or change cooking routine. I can only do what is within my power, i.e. change my own behaviour.

That said: I look forward to summer all the more because I feel the cold at winter. I miss not driving, waiting for the bus in the rain and wind isn't the same as the comfort and convenience of my own car. I'll probably never see the Pyrenees or Alps again, and, aside from on TV, I'll never see the many wonderful places on the planet I'd like to visit...

Although: I save a lot of money from my energy bills and appreciate a warm meal all the more. When others are moaning about the price of petrol or car insurance I can say it costs me £20 per week to get one bus ticket that gets me to work and to do shopping. I appreciate my LCD TV (lower energy than cathode ray tube) and get to see many more amazing places than I could ever visit. I do fine using clothes and domestic goods until they're totally worn out...

So it's not business as usual (BAU) as that is reckoned by most people here in the UK. Their BAU is a receipe for disaster, from two aspects climate change and resource depletion. But having been living like this for some years it's become my new BAU.

Doing a bit of recycling and driving a Prius is not changing from business as usual. If you don't notice the change affecting life substantially, you're not doing enough.

As Attenborough says "you've got to use all your energies and say, 'Look, this is really important."

Lazarus said...

Attenborough is a national treasure. He makes astounding programs and full credit must also go to the BBC team and the lengths they go to achieve the stunning visuals.

If I remember right he was initially quite sceptical about AGW, but is now very concerned about it and over population. Pity the same cannot be said for David Bellamy. I loved him as a kid but the denialist nonsense he spouts on telly now is embarrassing.

I'm afraid I'm not much of an environmentalist. I always try to reduce our household energy (That's Dad shouting to close the doors), and I improved insulation and use energy efficient lamps and appliances. But all that is a no brainer as it saves me money. I also cycle to work, that also saves money and is about the only exercise I get. But I still love foreign travel, motor sport and food that has done more airmiles than the average Minister for Foreign Affairs.