Tonight is the final installment of David Attenborough’s Life Stories, a three-part retrospective of his life and work, that aired on consecutive Wednesdays, January 23, 30, and February 6, 2013 at 8 p.m. (ET) on WNET and other PBS stations (check local listings).
Tonight Episode three: Attenborough’s Life Stories: Our Fragile Planet
Attenborough reflects on the dramatic impact that we have had on the natural world during his lifetime, such as the disappearing rain forests and coral reefs, endangered species such as the blue whale, manatees, sea otters, chimpanzees, and orangutans. He notes how the vulnerable Panamanian golden frog is now quarantined for safety so it doesn’t succumb to a highly infectious fungus which has already made the Monteverde Toad from Costa Rica extinct.
He tells surprising, entertaining and deeply personal stories of the changes he has seen, from his early travels with the London Zoo collecting animals; showing viewers the world’s rarest living animal, the giant Galapagos tortoise, Lonesome George; to covering the work of Dian Fossey, whose life’s mission to study and protect the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda inspired him to become a conservationist.
But Attenborough also reviews the revolution in attitudes towards nature that has taken place around the globe. He cites the creation in 1961 of the World Wildlife Fund, the first international organization to spend money on conservation projects around the globe, and protections put into place in Borneo and Malaysia to protect birds and turtles.
He concludes with a warning about the consequences of sea ice melt: exposing the dark sea water that doesn’t reflect the sun’s heat to keep earth cool. Unlike ice and snow, it absorbs the sun’s heat, raising the sea temperature and its level. Climate change, he says, is already affecting the lives of not only wild animals, but ourselves.
Attenborough’s Life Stories is a co-production of THIRTEEN and BBC in association with WNET. Alastair Fothergill is executive producer. David Attenborough is presenter. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer.
Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers. The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.