While capturing footage for the documentary Blue Planet II, naturalist Sir David Attenborough and his team witnessed something heartbreaking. A baby albatross mistook a toothpick for food and, as a result, was killed.
The creature was shown lying dead after its mother made the grave error of mistaking the shard of plastic for healthy food. Along with hoards of other people, Attenborough was devastated. However, it propelled him to do something and that is, issue a plea to humanity to take action. Why? Because the future depends on it.
In a column in the Radio Times, the filmmaker spoke of the threats Earth is presently facing. He noted that overfishing is wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, as is global warming. However, he listed the most pervasive threat as mankind’s habit of dumping plastic into the ocean.
Specifically, Sir David spoke of the eight million tonnes of plastic that is dumped into the oceans each year. The 91-year-old also mentioned that is he concerned that more than a million birds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die each year from eating or getting tangled in plastic.
Dismayed by the present reality, Attenborough echoed a previous call that he hoped President Donald Trump would “wake up and smell the coffee,” so to speak, and reconsider withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. He wrote, “never before have we been so aware of what we are doing to our planet – and never before have we had such power to do something about it.”
“Surely we have a responsibility to care for the planet on which we live? The future of humanity, and indeed of all life on Earth, now depends on us doing so,” he added.
The wildlife filmmaker concluded, “Plastic is now found everywhere in the ocean, from its surface to its greatest depths.There are fragments of nets so big they entangle the heads of fish, birds and turtles, and slowly strangle them. Other pieces of plastic are so small that they are mistaken for food and eaten, accumulating in fishes’ stomachs, leaving them undernourished.”
By 2050, 99 percent of birds on the planet will have plastic in their guts. This is a result of humans tossing enough plastic into landfills each year to circle the globe four times. Clearly, enough is enough. The time to act is now. A few simple ways you can reduce your environmental footprint and “be the change” you want to see follow:
- Use compostable and reusable bags or jars to store goods
- Bike, walk or skip to nearby destinations when possible
- Eat a plant-based diet which has the lowest carbon footprint
- Reduce food waste; rotting produce creates methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas
- Stop worrying about what others think; take action, speak out, and do something
Together, we can create a greener, more just world. Hopefully, the majority heeds Attenborough’s advice before it is too late.
Source: The Independent
IMAGE CREDIT: Copyright: witthaya / 123RF Stock Photo