Scientists break down in tears when they see the consequences of the climate crisis

Scientists break down in tears when they see the consequences of the climate crisis


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People don’t appear often in Sir David Attenborough documentaries but in his most recent films Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet Some samples can be seen showing behavior rarely seen in public. The famous British documentary filmmaker is examining the consequences of the climate crisis with scientists. Some of them become too much when they try to explain what they are experiencing to the audience. For example, coral reef expert Professor Terry Hughes tells how large parts of the Great Barrier Reef were observed off the coast of Australia in 2016, 2017 and 2020 due to bleaching caused by temperature change. He had to map the devastation and say, “It’s work I hope I don’t have to do because it’s really very confrontational.” Then his words are washed away in a torrent of tears.

Dr Daniela Teixeira, a biologist who specializes in rare species of cockatoos, also finds herself struggling as she walks through the devastation wrought by intense bushfires ravaging Australia’s wilderness as a result of climate change. She has seen the charred nest of a few cockatoos, birds she knows “in person” and finds that the nests that provide protection against predators offer no protection from fire. On Kangaroo Island lives a subspecies of the brown crow cockatoo that is in danger of extinction. Conservationists try to prevent the extinction of species.

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Lost Almost Forever is the core concept in the documentary, which is based on the research of Swedish professor Johan Rockström. He studies the so-called turning points in the evolution of the climate crisis. Events that lead to an accelerating domino effect, causing changes to occur suddenly at a much faster rate. It is these tipping points that wreak irreparable havoc, and Attenborough shows that we are approaching such points. The characteristic is that it remains unnoticed for a long time, like an oncoming train. It can still be avoided but time is running out. Whether disasters will unfold is not the result of fate but of human choices. The documentary shows that the ecosystems that have kept the planet stable for the past 10,000 years are on the verge of being destroyed by humans.

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Ice sheets and ocean currents change. When these changes reach a certain level, they are not only irreversible, but they will start quickly or accelerate many other changes. If carbon dioxide emissions are not sufficiently reduced, these changes are inevitable, The Guardian explains.

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