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Oceans are under greatest threat ever, David Attenborough warns

The world’s oceans — a vital factor in the chances of survival for all life on Earth — are under the greatest threat in history from humanity, according to naturalist David Attenborough.

The warning will be laid out in its entirety on Sunday in the U.K. by Attenborough during the final episode of BBC One’s multipart nature docuseries, “Blue Planet 2,” which he narrates. It will detail the damage that climate change, pollution from plastics, over fishing and even noise have wrought on the oceans, the Guardian reported.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” Attenborough says. “It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. (They) are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.”

To protect itself from critics who may view the series’ focus on global warming — still a politically polarizing topic — BBC ordered a fact-check. “Blue Planet 2” did swimmingly. It was, as producer Mark Brownlow said, impossible to overlook the noticeable damage humanity has done to the seas.

“We just couldn’t ignore it,” Brownlow, said. “It wouldn’t be a truthful portrayal of the world’s oceans. We are not out there to campaign. We are just showing it as it is and it is quite shocking.”

The producer said that the crew captured footage of albatross chicks dying after ingesting plastic they mistook for food that ultimately didn’t make it on the show because it was too upsetting. But the vast bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral and the effects of warming waters in Antarctica did. Plastics, the team said, were found in every single location that they filmed.

THE PHOTOGRAPHY IS COVERED BY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND MAY ONLY BE USED IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLICISING THE TRANSMISSION OF THE SPECIFIC PROGRAMME AS LICENSED BY BBC WORLDWIDE LIMITED. (TRANSMISSION IN RELATION TO IMAGES MEANS LINEAR, FTA, CABLE AND

Among the cases the show makes to prove that humans are responsible for climate change are carbon dioxide’s formation, fossil fuel burning, noise from shipping and tourism.

(Steve Benjamin/BBC)

Among the cases the show makes to prove that humans are responsible for climate change are carbon dioxide’s formation, fossil fuel burning, noise from shipping and tourism.

It is “beyond question,” according to Professor Chris Langdon, one of many scientists featured in the final episode. “The shells and the reefs really, truly are dissolving. The reefs could be gone by the end of the century,” he said.

The show also notes how new restrictions and laws have helped some animals thrive. Sperm whales off the coast of Sri Lanka and herring near Norway have seen a revival after the local governments took action.

The final episode of “Blue Planet 2” airs Sunday in the U.K. The series will premier in the U.S. in 2018.

Tags:
climate change

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