Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry were joined by other celebrities including David Beckham for the eight-part Netflix documentary series Our Planet at the Natural History Museum in London, which was introduced by David Attenborough.

The opening ceremony took place on Thursday, a day before the landmark series was launched globally by Netflix. The series took four years to make over three and a half thousand filming days, was shot in over 50 different countries and employed over 600 crew.  

Attenborough, who introduced the event and received a standing ovation, explained to the audience that what humanity does in “the next 20 years will have a profound impact on the next few thousand.”

He said that humanity must do for all of nature, what we did for whales in the last 30, by saving them from extinction, “and that is a communications challenge as much as it is a scientific one.”

Attenborough warned us that two hundred years after Darwin discovered the theory of evolution by natural selection, scientists are still only beginning to understand how interconnected species are. He also warned that the earth’s species are now in the midst of the world’s sixth mass extinction.

Now We Determine How Nature Survives

“96% of the mass of mammals on our planet today are us and the livestock that we’ve domesticated. Only 4% is everything else, from elephants to badgers, from tigers to bats. 70% of all birds are now domesticated poultry, mostly chickens. Nature once determined how we survive, now we determine how nature survives,” said Attenborough.

Sir David Attenborough

Unless we act now, the impact of our growing population and consumption on the natural world will directly threaten our own future.

Attenborough said that he hopes Our Planet will give people a better understanding of the problems the natural world faces and therefore help us change our ways. “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world if they don’t first love and understand it,” he said.

The veteran natural historian and broadcaster ended on a positive note, saying that the ability of Netflix to bring Our Planet to so many people globally was a new and potentially game changing phenomena.

“The ability to tell that story in almost every country on earth at the same time via Netflix, brings the possibility of an unprecedented understanding of the place that we all call home,” he concluded to thunderous applause.     

Sir David, who is 92, has said he has no plans to retire and does not understand why so many people chose to retire at 60 or 65.

He has also said that although more people live in urban environments than ever before, most people are interested in natural history if it is shown and explained to them in a compelling way.

Edward Cowley