David and Goliath

Good on yer, George Monbiot. It takes courage to stomp on the straw man's feet of clay, or something. David Attenborough has had it coming for a long, long time.

I have always been entranced by Attenborough’s wildlife programmes, but astonished by his consistent failure to mount a coherent, truthful and effective defence of the living world he loves. His revelation of the wonders of nature has been a great public service. But withholding the knowledge we need to defend it is, I believe, a grave disservice.

Go read the whole thing.

Monbiot fondly recalls the days "when I worked in the department that has made most of his programmes". I too was there, then, and have fond memories of the place and of George, who was by no means the only one urging our influence on the natural to be revealed. Management never wanted to hear about it. Agriculture, where, perhaps, we have the greatest impact on the natural, barely got a look in.

The constant ratcheting up of "natural history" films to show us ever more astonishing sequences is remarkable in so many ways. Better technology has obviously made the impossible possible. But I'd be willing to bet that, despite the technology, it has become much harder to capture those sequences, with barely a trace of humanity to despoil them.

Not that you would ever know it.

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