Sir David Attenborough has for decades been at the forefront of scientific education. He has helped to inform the public of a number of issues related to nature. One of his most successful television projects has been the Planet Earth series.
Planet Earth II was broadcast in 2016 and helped immensely to show the effects of climate change. The series followed a broad number of animals through self contained episodes. These ranged vastly from small insects to large birds. One of the most heartbreaking episodes showed an infant elephant dying due to heat. It quickly became one of the most talked about sequences of television that year. It also helped to spark more debate on global warming.
One of the hardest things a scientist can do when explaining climate change is to fully show the extent of its consequences. It is all well and good to show graphs and statistics of animal death in the wild due to climate change. However this will never show the true real world devastation that global warming is capable of.
This is why David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II was so important to popular culture. Two years on the show is still being watched by new viewers and is continually being the source of talks around climate change. Legislation used to prevent these harmful effects can only been done if there is enough public outcry. The programme has certainly increased the number of people who want carbon emissions caused by humans to decrease. This in itself is a tremendous feat on the part of the show makers. The programme seems to have also converted a number of climate change deniers.
It remains to be seen how effective Attenborough’s future programmes will be to the education of climate change. However, Planet Earth II is at least continuing to inform throughout the world.