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Spread the News online news, India,May 5th,2022:Sony BBC Earth has been showcasing stories of curiosity and adventure taking viewers to corners of the globe otherwise unexplored. The channel’s landmark natural history shows have always struck a chord with the viewers and a very important role in making these shows successful has been played by Sir David Attenborough. Celebrating the birthday of Sir David Attenborough, Sony BBC Earth airs a month-long property titled ‘Chronicles of Sir David Attenborough’. The birthday special Anthology showcases the best from David Attenborough’s career spanning over 68 years in the wild including premieres – Micro Monsters and Natural Curiosities (season 4). Below are the excerpts of his conversation on his
recent show The Green Planet.

Interview with Sir David Attenborough

Why did you decide to focus on plants for this series?

Private Life of Plants, exploited time-lapse, bringing plants to life by speedin g up the action so that you could see them grow, blossoms open, and so on. But what could we do that was new? Well, the thing that really is new, is that in Private Life of Plants we were stuck with all this very heavy, primitive equipment, but now we can take the cameras anywhere we like. So you now have the ability to go into a real forest, you can see a plant growing with its neighbours, fighting its neighbours or moving with its neighbours, or dying. And it’s that in my view, is what brings the thing to life, and which should make people say, ‘Good lord, these extraordinary organisms are just like us’. In the sense that they live and die, that they fight, they have to fight for neighbours, they have to learn to reproduce and all those sorts of things. But just that they do them so slowly, so we’ve never seen that before. And that has a hypnotic appeal, in my view.

How was it travelling the world for this series?

In a sense, the series itself is slow growing, like plants. We started [filming] a long time ago, before COVID. And so I was dashing around interesting places, in California and so on, in a way that hasn’t been possible for the last two years. So I appear in all these different parts of the world quite frequently, more than any other [series] for some time.

Anybody who takes a walk probably sees more plants than you see animals, so why do you think people have not been as engaged with plants as they been with animals?

Because they apparently just sit there being a plant. You could either take them or leave them or you could dig them up or throw them aside. They don’t react, they don’t resent it, they just die. We don’t engage with plants enough.

And David, in your travels on the series, you interacted with lots of plants. Are there any plants that really stuck in your mind?

One of the really great, profoundly moving experiences, was to go to the Giant Sequoia’s inCalifornia, these enormous trees. It’s not an accident that there’s a cathedral like feeling when you go amongst them. They are immense things, some of the tallest ones are enormous. But what this programme did was to use another of the inventions that you might think had very little to do with plants, technical inventions, that changed natural history photography in the past 10-20 years – drones. When you see the final sequence in the programmes and [the camera] suddenly rises above the tree tops and you see these giants – it’s a marvellous sequence.

And you have a very scary encounter with a cactus didn’t you?

Yes, I mean, the Cholla really is a physical danger. It has been very dense spines in rosettes, so they point in all directions. And if you just brush against it, the spines are like spicules of glass, I mean they are that sharp and they go into you and you really have trouble getting them out! So that is a really dangerous plant. The Cholla is an active aggressor. I mean you feel you better stand back and you better watch out [for it].

So we are used to seeing images of animals fighting for their existence, but in this series we also see that plants are doing the exact same things?

Plants fight one another. There are many examples but let me just take one that’s in our own hedgerow. There’s a plant called the dodder, which because it’s parasitic, lives by inserting a feeding system into other plants. But because it can’t see, it does this by using receptors to sniff out its prey, and suddenly it wraps round this stem and starts a process of piercing to
steal nutrients. And that’s an aggression, which happens in the hedgerow. And I bet the number of people who are actually aware of it is not very high.”

What would you hope that the audience will take away from watching the series?

That there is a parallel world on which we depend, and which up to now we have largely ignored if I speak on behalf of urbanised man. Over half the population of the world according to the United Nations are urbanised, live in cities, only see cultivated plants and never see a wild community of plants. But that wild community is there, outside urban circumstances
normally, and we depend upon it. And we better jolly well care for it.