Sir David Attenborough: Oceans under threat "as never before in human history"

Blue Planet II photo
Video screen capture BBC America

The veteran naturalist and broadcaster is not holding back (this time).

I've always loved Sir David Attenborough's nature documentaries. Yet while he has often spoken out personally against humanity's impact on nature, his shows have often skirted around or underplayed issues such as climate change, pollution or overfishing.

Not so any longer.

Business Green reports that the entire last episode of Blue Planet II is dedicated to humanity's impact on the oceans, exploring a myriad of issues including climate change, plastics pollution, overfishing and even noise pollution too.

Here's how Sir Attenborough described the threat:

"For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong. It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world's oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point."

Reportedly, the episode was so hard hitting that BBC executives ordered an additional fact check to ensure it hadn't become politicized. And guess what? It passed that fact check. The existence of plastics pollution, climate change or overfishing is not a political question but a scientific one—it's only when asking if and how we choose to tackle these problems that politics should come into the equation.

Fortunately, Blue Planet II also highlights solutions, including the success of leatherback turtle conservation in Trinidad, the recovery of sperm whale populations around Sri Lanka and herring stocks in Norway. Indeed the show itself has been credited with encouraging politicians to entertain taxes on single-use plastics, childcare centers to ban glitter and cities to start reviving the use of public water fountains too. With 14.1 million people watching the first episode, it became the UK's most watched TV show of the year, and it really does seem like it has had a major impact on the conversations about our oceans.

Even the filming itself had a positive impact, with the film crew reportedly collecting and disposing of/recycling every single piece of plastic they came across during filming, although they did also run into some controversy over a scene involving plastic ducks...

More details on Blue Planet II can be found here. It should be coming to BBC America soon, although I have yet to find a solid date.

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