An Ode to Attenborough
His voice is assuring, knowledgeable, iconic
Almost like a lullaby – rhythmic and euphonic
You’ve heard him countless times on your favorite nature shows,
Of course, the one and only, Sir David Attenborough.
A broadcaster and historian of international fame,
His productions on the natural world have garnered critical acclaim.
Rightly so, for his series have given children and adults alike
A window into life on Earth – its beauty, its fragility, and its plight.
Now, at a stunning ninety-four years old,
It feels fitting to recap just how a career like his did unfold.
How did one man, with a passion for zoology so stellar
Become such a prolific narrator, nature’s storyteller?
A young David grew up on the grounds of University College, Leicester
Where his father served as the institution’s headmaster.
He spent his childhood collecting fossils, specimens, and creatures
And even sold newts to some desperate zoology teachers.
Of age, he studied geology and zoology at Clare College
And received a degree in natural sciences from his obtained knowledge.
He became a BBC producer for programs of nonfiction,
And within the topic of nature, he showed depictions
Of elephants in Tanzania, the cultural history of an Indonesian island,
And the search for a lost tribe in New Guinea’s remote highlands.
But even with a penchant for nature, he ensured BBC was still screening
A breadth of topics – from arts to comedy – all in one evening.
His talents were recognized, and quickly got him promoted
To the director of BBC programs – but to this role he was not devoted.
He resigned from his position and returned to full-time filmmaking
Where his idea for an epic evolutional documentary series was slowly shaping.
This series, called Life on Earth, was released in 1979;
It was lauded for its high quality and was groundbreaking for its time.
Attenborough researched his topics thoroughly, showing great ability
In the process, gaining the trust of scientists and privileged access to their facilities.
The success of his series allowed production of eight more volumes like it
Any major group of plants and animals he did not omit
From ecology to invertebrates to the Antarctic, he covered it all
Only a truly dedicated naturalist would have the wherewithal
Since the release of the first volume in a collection so celebrated
Over 100 other series he has presented, written, or narrated
In total, this constitutes over 1000 episodes
Of natural history related content – that’s a boatload!
In some of the most breathtaking cinematographic works
He’s guided us through phenomenal processes that happen on Earth
From the hunting of sea lions by killer whales,
To the hatching of baby iguanas in a minefield of snakes, a gripping tale!
Beginning in the 2000s, he has spoken with more urgency
On the effects of mankind on the environment, namely the climate emergency
That our species has inflicted on our planet and its inhabitants
And how dying reefs and worsening floods are no accident.
Recently, in efforts to inspire our youngest generation
He’s even taken to Instagram to inform our nation
About the impact of climate change and how little time remains
Before the damage is permanent, and many innocent species are slain.
We have come to know and love him for his storytelling abilities
But at nearly a century old, he might soon succumb to debility
So how will he honor Sir David Attenborough
And more importantly, the planet he has dedicated his life to show?
One way to pay homage to such an inspiring man
Is to go out and vote this November if you can!
Climate change is real and we need to elect officials
Who will pass climate policies that will be beneficial
To this planet that billions of creatures live on
Even after David Attenborough, you, and I, are long gone.
Peer Edited by Lillian Lowrey