After six mind-blowing episodes which took 10 years to film, Planet Earth II reached its finale – with the only on-camera appearance of the 90-year-old legend Sir David Attenborough. It was a brief but emotional ending, which will hopefully leave us all thinking about the fate of the planet.
Fittingly, the last episode focused on the impact cities have on the Earth’s inhabitants.
“Only a small number of animals have managed to find ways of living alongside us,” said Attenborough from the top of the Shard skyscraper in London. “And every 10 years an area the size of Britain disappears under a jungle of concrete. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Could it not be possible to build cities more in harmony with nature?”
“Now over half of us live in an urban environment. My home too is here in the city of London,” he continued. “Looking down on this great metropolis, the ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking. But it’s also sobering. It reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world.”
“Yet it’s on this connection that the future of both humanity and the natural world depend,” said Attenborough. “It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.”
It’s a distressing but much-needed intervention for a brilliant series which aimed to show people the world from an animal perspective. The episode shows one instance where newly-hatched hawksbill turtles walked onto a busy road instead of into the sea, because they were thought street lights were the Moon. This is just one of many brutal examples showing how unbeknownst to us, we are harming animals.
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Attenborough unmistakable voice narrated the entire series, but it took a swarm of talented and hardworking people to create it – and the result is really worth it. Hopefully, after it’s thrilled us with dazzling scenery and delightful stories, Planet Earth II will fulfill its final role: persuade us to protect nature.