Attenborough: 'If We Wreck the Natural World, We Wreck Ourselves'
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
"We can wreck it with ease," Attenborough said. "We can wreck it without even knowing we are doing it. And if we wreck the natural world, in the end, we wreck ourselves."
“If we wreck the natural world, in the end, we wreck ourselves.” Sir David Attenborough talks to Prince William ab… https://t.co/DXoJGKUH0X— Channel 4 News (@Channel 4 News)1548177575.0
The Our Planet narrator stressed that a healthy planet is essential for life itself, and yet people have never been more "out of touch" with the natural world.
"We have to recognize that every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food that we take comes from the natural world. And that if we damage the natural world we damage ourselves," Attenborough said to the Duke of Cambridge when asked about how young people can make a positive impact on the environment.
"We are one coherent ecosystem. It's not just a question of beauty or interest or wonder. It's the essential ingredient, the central part of human life is a healthy planet," Attenborough said.
Prince William asked the conservation advocate why some global leaders are "faltering" on tackling environmental challenges.
"Because the connection between the natural world and the urban world, the human society, since the Industrial Revolution, has been remote and widening," Attenborough said. "We didn't realize the effects of what we were doing 'out there.' But now we are seeing that almost everything we do has its echoes, its duplications and implications across the natural world."
"Every breath of air that we take, every mouthful of food that we take comes from that the natural world. If we dam… https://t.co/pGt5iTKuzL— Kensington Palace (@Kensington Palace)1548178241.0
He added that it was "difficult to overstate" the urgency of the climate change crisis.
"We are now so numerous, so powerful, so all pervasive, the mechanisms we have for destruction are so wholesale and so frightening that we can exterminate whole ecosystems without even noticing it," Attenborough said.
In the documentary series Blue Planet II, Attenborough gave viewers an unflinching look at the harmful impact of human activity on our oceans.
"We have now to be really aware of the dangers of what we are doing. And we already know the plastic problems in the seas is wreaking appalling damage upon marine life. The extent of which we don't yet fully know," said in his chat with the prince.
Also in the interview, the legendary television icon spoke about how the world has changed since he started broadcasting in the 1950s
"I went to West Africa for the first time and it was a wonderland," Attenborough said. "You'd just step off from the beaten track... and it seemed to me as a newcomer, unexplored and exciting and everywhere you turned you saw something new."
"The human population was only a third of the size of what it is today...you really did get the feeling of what it might have been like to be in the Garden of Eden," he continued.
Attenborough, who was honored at the World Economic Forum's Crystal Awards on Monday for his leadership in the fight against climate change, remains hopeful about the planet's future.
"There's a source of great optimism there, we have the knowledge, we have the power, to live in harmony with that natural world," he said, according to the BBC.
Watch the full interview here:
Prince William interviews David Attenborough – watch live www.youtube.com
- David Attenborough: 'Population Growth Must Come to an End ... ›
- The Queen Declares War on Plastic - EcoWatch ›
By Jessica Corbett
In an example to the rest of the scientific community and an effort to wake up people — particularly policymakers — worldwide, 17 scientists penned a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the planet and what the future could hold due to biodiversity loss, climate disruption, human consumption and population growth.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Can Your Pets Get and Transmit Coronavirus? - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Shines Light on Zoos as Danger Zones for Deadly ... ›
- Utah Mink Becomes First Wild Animal to Test Positive for Coronavirus ›
- Coronavirus: Tiger at Bronx Zoo Is First Animal in US to Test Positive ›
- COVID-19 Could Threaten Already Vulnerable Great Apes - EcoWatch ›
By Marie Quinney and Gabriela Martinez
This article is part of The Davos Agenda.
During 2020, many of us saw images of deserted urban areas being reclaimed by animals and heard reports of carbon dioxide emissions plummeting as transportation ground to a halt. A new analysis shows that the U.S. had reached its lowest level of emissions in three decades.
NO₂ levels in the air above India (U.S. date format). World Economic Forum
Human activity is destroying our natural world. World Economic Forum Nature Risk Rising
- UN Leader Calls for Green Coronavirus Recovery on Earth Day ... ›
- German Business Leaders Call for Climate Action With COVID-19 ... ›
- Young Climate Leaders Conclude Mock COP26 With Calls for ... ›
- A 'Green Stimulus' Could Battle Three Crises: Coronavirus ... ›
- What You Need to Know About the Flint Water Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Michigan Agrees to Pay $600 Million to Flint Water Crisis Victims ... ›
- Michael Moore: 10 Things They Won't Tell You About the Flint Water ... ›
The future may be too hot for baby sharks, a study published Tuesday found.
- Climate Change Likely Drove Our Ancestors to Extinction, Study Finds ›
- Fast and Furious Star Joins Sea Shepherd to Show Impact of ... ›