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Not in his nature? Attenborough’s nature shows ‘make people happier ~ Ann Farmer

Not in his nature? Attenborough’s nature shows ‘make people happier

A study from Exeter University has ‘found that people watching coral reef footage’ from Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II ‘felt happier and less bored than they did before’, seeming to show that ‘his nature programmes are now scientifically proven to be good for your mood’ (‘Attenborough’s nature shows are proven to make people “happier”’, Telegraph, October 14, 2020).


Presumably those individuals studied were unaware of Sir David’s views of people being a ‘plague’ on the Planet, and his belief in population control.


Imparting such information - whether done ‘scientifically’ or not - would be enough to make most normal people unhappier; but in fact he is trying to raise unhappiness about what he sees as the unhappy state of the Planet, telling Instagram viewers ahead of his new film and book A Life On Our Planet: ‘“The world is in trouble. Continents are on fire. Glaciers are melting. Coral reefs are dying. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. The list goes on and on.”’


Colin Butfield, the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s Executive Producer for David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, maintained: ‘“We cannot ignore the warning signs from nature any longer. This film presents a snapshot of global biodiversity loss in one single lifetime, and the damage could be far greater in the next if we do not work together globally to tackle the issues. The solutions already exist – David shares them in this film as part of his vision for the future – but it’s now critical, for our own survival, that we embrace them.”’


Not a happy message by any means - and it was enough, according to Prince William, to make little Prince George ‘so sad’ recently that they had to switch off an Attenborough documentary (‘George switched off “sad” documentary by Attenborough’, Telegraph, October 9, 2020).  


The Exeter University paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, ‘concluded that watching nature programmes on the TV could be a good alternative to experiencing it in real life for people who are unable to do so through illness or disability.’


One might assume that people not being able to get out and about would please the environmentalists, who seem to wish to keep the Planet to themselves while jetting around making films about it; but from his own (studiously ignored) pronouncements, even existing makes people problematical for people like Sir David. What would make him really happy would be to have fewer (other) people on the Planet.