Sir David Attenborough has spent his life traveling to every corner of our planet. He’s witnessed the myriad of wonders it has to offer up close—as well as the countless animals, both very big and very small, that we share it with. He’s also aware how we’re damaging our world. But despite seeing and doing it all, and even though he has reason to have lost hope for its future, his love for the natural world has never waned. Nor as his desire to share it with us. Even at 95 years old he’s still as awed by Earth’s majesty as ever. And his passion for our home is on full display in this moving clip from his new documentary series Green Planet. In this moment, Attenborough witnessed the brief but beautiful relationship between a bat and the Seven Hour flower.
The new limited five-episode BBC Earth series Green Planet allows us “to look closer at the interconnected world of plants.” In this clip from the docuseries, Attenborough gets a firsthand view of how the Seven Hour flower entices bats with a sweet nectar. It’s an offer with a very short lifespan. The flower only blooms for a single night before dying. It relies on bats for pollination to spread well beyond its own existence.
It’s not an equal partnership though. The flower’s nectar doesn’t provide all the nourishment a bat needs. So it must feed on hundreds of flowers. That leads to a single bat doing a whole lot of work so the flower can thrive.
Between the narration, music, and intimate camera, this clip hits with the emotional punch of a great Pixar short. But that’s also because it shows how it’s getting harder and hard for the flower to find those bats. With forests constantly being cut down or razed, that relationship is in peril. Without enough plants to eat from, bats leave the area.
Hopefully Sir David Attenborough, through his unquestioned and devoted lifelong love for our planet and his dedication to showing us what our world has to offer, has instilled the same kind of passion for preservation in enough of us to make sure the Seven Hour flower blooms for a long time to come.