It’s not news that the world’s considerable meat consumption is a threat to the planet. Sir David Attenborough is the latest to make the case for a plant-based diet, addressing the high environmental cost of meat and dairy farming in the new Netflix documentary A Life on Our Planet. Perhaps hearing these inconvenient truths from everyone’s favorite naturalist will finally convince some meat-eating fans to give vegetarianism a go.
Though Attenborough is beloved for his soft, buttery narration of nature documentaries like Planet Earth, his words in A Life on Our Planet are anything but soothing: “Human needs have overrun the world,” he says in the film’s trailer. “Our planet is headed for disaster.”
Large-scale livestock production contributes to global issues like deforestation and shrinking biodiversity. According to The Independent, Attenborough warns of a bleak future should we not change our collective habits: “By 2030 the rainforest turns into a dry savannah, altering the global water cycle. The Arctic becomes ice-free, global warming increases, frozen soils release methane and accelerate climate change dramatically,” the 94-year-old reportedly says in the film. “By 2080 global food production enters crisis, soils overused, weather more unpredictable. The planet becomes four degrees warmer, large parts of the world become uninhabitable.”
One solution A Life on Our Planet recommends is driving down the demand for meat by eating less of it. Attenborough’s endorsement of plant-based eating comes following his work on the 2017 nature documentary series Blue Planet II in which he promoted sustainability by encouraging universal efforts to curb plastic consumption.
A Life on Our Planet will debut on Netflix this fall.
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