Climate Champion David Attenborough Breaks Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram Record


Sir David Attenborough speaks at the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit at the Science Museum on Feb. 4, 2020 in London, England. Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool / Getty Images

Sir David Attenborough wants to share a message about the climate crisis. And it looks like his fellow Earthlings are ready to listen.

The beloved 94-year-old nature broadcaster joined Instagram Thursday, and quickly broke the world record for the shortest amount of time to reach one million followers, Guinness World Records announced. He reached the milestone in just two hours and 44 minutes.

“I’ve been appearing on radio and television for the past 60 years,” Attenborough said in a video accompanying his first post, “but this is my first time on Instagram.”

In the video, Attenborough said he was trying the new (to him) form of communication in order to spread awareness about the threats facing life on Earth.

“As we all know, the world is in trouble,” he said. “Continents are on fire. Glaciers are melting. Coral reefs are dying. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. The list goes on and on. But we know what to do about it.”

Attenborough said he would be recording video messages over the next few weeks explaining both the problems facing our planet and possible solutions.

In breaking the record Thursday, Attenborough racked up one million followers more quickly than Friends star Jennifer Aniston, the previous record holder who amassed one million followers in five hours and 16 minutes last October. Previous record holders also included Pope Francis and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Guinness said.

As of Monday morning, the broadcaster had a follower count of 4.5 million. That’s still well below the highest total Instagram follower count, which is held by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo with 238 million, according to BBC News.

This isn’t the first time that Attenborough has broken a record in his decades-long career, Guinness World Records pointed out. He also holds the record for the longest career as both a TV presenter and a TV naturalist.

While Attenborough is recording the messages for his Instagram account, the account is being managed by some of the team behind the new documentary David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, which premieres on Netflix Oct. 4.

“Social media isn’t David’s usual habitat,” director Jonnie Hughes and executive producer Colin Butfield of the World Wildlife Fund explained in the text accompanying the post.

The pair said the Instagram feed would also feature exclusive clips and behind-the-scenes footage from the new film.

“Saving our planet is now a communications challenge,” Hughes and Butfield wrote. “We know what to do, we just need the will.”

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