We watch, A Life on Our Planet and we are silent, strangely, perhaps it is not that strange either, considering how the movie is almost a requiem for the planet, our only home.
My twenty year girl next to me wonders of a world twenty years from now, will there be water, what will be of the air, what places to live on? I have no answer.
In the documentary, David Attenborough who started off his life as an avid enthusiastic student of nature, capturing its beauty from an incredibly young twenty, does not give any answer either.
Instead, he asks raises painful questions of the choices we made, as mankind, of the lives we destroyed with impunity, and a new world order we created or helped create through our actions and mostly through our inactions, a anthropocentric world, where all other organisms are pushed to the periphery, where man plundered nature believing it to be limitless, his very own akshayapatra, he being the center of the world, the world being his servant with limitless resources, all of which has been proved thoroughly baseless and unscientific to say the least.
And which has led to the catastrophe we see unfold around us, day in and day out, the consequences of our gross, unkind and unthoughtful interferences in the wild.
The reality of which hits us only when a landslide happens close to our homes or when the ground water in our area depletes and we begin to pay for water delivered to our doorstep with the help of tanker lorries.
We are so cocooned in our silos, looking at our plastic gadgets, setting off in our metallic motored vehicles and enjoying ourselves in the closed seclusions of large concrete houses with a variety of lights dimming out the reality of the life that we are supposed to be part of that we have no knowledge of the reality until it hits us hard at a very personal and painful level….
Till perhaps the tube wells draw in arsenic, or large formations cover a well known river or birds stop chirping in the neighbourhood, till then, our sewage will keep running into the nearby lake, cause since when did we need those waters, eh!
The garbage dump next door is live-able with for most of us, till the stench gets to our nostrils and makes it difficult to breathe, till then we do believe in happy co-existence!
One of the rich colonies in my neighborhood push their waste into the nearby lake, with apartments selling at not less than a crore, it does not occur to the buyer or the seller not the least the builder, to check whether the basic treatment of sewage and other waste is made available in the compound, instead an open canal has been constructed to push the dirt to the lake, with the blessings of the BBMP of course, now, it is common knowledge that the lake water is never going to be needed as long as the tap water is available, right!
In the movie, the hotly contested scene of walruses jumping to death from the cliff is dramatic and poignant, though probably contrived. What cannot be ignored is the cataclysmic changes in the eco system which we are living with and the urgency to take corrective measures and well, learn to live within our means as a species.
There is much criticism of the over dramatization of the facts as depicted in the movie, but we really cannot contest the facts of dwindling forest cover, accelerated extinction of birds and animals, and increasing contamination of wild spaces.
Perhaps we have domesticated the world enough that there is not much wild about it anymore!