Visit our new website:

David Attenborough makes impassioned plea for natural world in Davos interview with Prince William

  • Wed, 23 Jan 2019 09:58
daniel fountain
Tue, 2019-01-22 21:12

DAVOS, Switzerland: Naturalist David Attenborough won a standing ovation from delegates at the World Economic Forum after warning them that the planet faces destruction if climate change is not dealt with imminently.

In an interview conducted by Prince William, Attenborough said it is “difficult to overstate the climate change crisis.”

He said humans have become “so numerous” and possess a “frightening” array of destructive mechanisms that “we can exterminate whole ecosystems without realizing.”

Attenborough was the star turn on the first day of the gathering of the business and political elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Attenborough urged participants to preserve the childlike wonder with which they first encountered the natural world. “I don’t believe a child has yet been born who doesn’t look at the world around it with those fresh eyes and wonder,” he said. “If you lose that first wonder, you’ve lost one of the great sources of delight, and pleasure, and beauty in the whole of the universe,” he said.

“Caring for that brings joy and enlightenment that is irreplaceable.”

Nature filmmaking, he noted, has benefited immensely from the advance of technology. “The facilities we now have are unbelievable. We can go everywhere. We can to the bottom of the sea, we can go into space. We can use drones, we can use helicopters … we can speed things up, we can slow things down, and film in the darkness. The natural world has never been exposed to this degree before,” he said.

But with these technological advances came a growing awareness of the dangerous power in the hands of humanity. “When I started 60 years ago, in the mid-50s, to be truthful there was no one who thought we might annihilate the world. The notion that human beings might exterminate whole species seemed the exception. Now we are well aware that … we can do things to accidentally to destroy whole parts of the natural world and exterminate whole species,” Attenborough warned.

Even as the ready accessibility of nature programs and the ability of filmmakers to reach the remotest corners of the world have made it easier for people to learn about nature, humanity’s connectedness with the natural world is more tenuous than ever. “Now there are more people living in towns, in conurbations, than living in the wild,” said Attenborough. “The majority of people are out of touch to some degree with the richness of the natural world.”

The threat posed by anthropogenic climate change is “difficult to overstate,” he said. “We are now so numerous, so powerful, so all-pervasive, and the mechanisms we have for destruction are so frightening that we have really to be aware of the dangers,” he warned. Humanity has done “appalling damage upon marine life, the extent of which we don’t fully know,” said Attenborough.

“I think the paradox is that there’s never been a time when more people are out of touch with the natural world, and yet we have to recognize that every breath of air and every mouthful of food comes from the natural world – and if we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves. It’s not just beauty and wonder: it is essential to human life. We are in the danger of wrecking that. We are destroying the natural world, and with it, ourselves,” he said.

But his outlook is not pessimistic. “We are discovering more ways in which we can get in front of [the pending disaster]. The fact we are now beginning to get power directly from the sun, with no need to pollute the world with by-products of our devices, is becoming reality all over the world,” he said. “We have the power, we have the knowledge, to live in harmony with nature.”

Attenborough then previewed powerful scenes from his latest film, which will debut at the World Economic Forum. The scenes of an Arctic glacier calving, with skyscraper-sized blocks of translucent blue ice crashing spectacularly into turbulent seas, were shot, as Attenborough explained, by skilled teams on helicopters maintaining steady positions despite powerful and unpredictable updrafts. “Within 20 minutes,” Attenborough narrates,” 75 million tons of ice break free.”

Attenborough is spearheading efforts to strengthen conservation efforts for a summit in Beijing in 2020.

Attenborough told the audience that, “Every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food comes from the natural world and that if we damage the natural world we damage ourselves.”


Main category: 
Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour picks up Crystal Award at Davos 2019Davos 2019 Day 1: Climate change, globalism and Middle East politics World


Popular Science

Related Stories

Iran issues new threat to world over nuclear deal
  • Mon, 29 Jul 2019 15:27

Mon, 2019-07-29 03:02 VIENNA: Iran on Sunday renewed threats to boost its nuclear program unless world powers rescue the collapsing 2015 deal to curb...

Baby son of UK’s Prince Harry and Meghan to have private Windsor Castle christening
  • Sat, 06 Jul 2019 23:51

Author: Associated PressID: 1562408161100932600Sat, 2019-07-06 10:02 LONDON: The youngest member of Britain’s royal family, Archie Mounta...

Myanmar’s temple city Bagan awarded UNESCO World Heritage status
  • Sat, 06 Jul 2019 22:19

Author: ReutersID: 1562421801722430800Sat, 2019-07-06 13:51 YANGON: UNESCO inscribed Myanmar’s ancient capital of Bagan as a World Herita...

UNESCO lists Iraq's Babylon as World Heritage Site
  • Sat, 06 Jul 2019 00:41

Fri, 2019-07-05 16:57 BAGHDAD: UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted on Friday to list the sprawling Mesopotamian metropolis of Babylon as a Wor...

18 by David Dubnitskiy
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 13:27

18 by David Dubnitskiy As everyone said, she blossomed - it began that unstoppable chemical reaction in her, that makes men craz...

Sendero natural by Emmanuel Maza
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 07:19

Sendero natural by Emmanuel Maza Infrared photography Canon t3 (Full spectrum) + IR 720 Emmanuel Maza: Ph...

Full transcript of Arab News interview with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono
  • Thu, 04 Jul 2019 03:56

Author: Wed, 2019-07-03 23:27 TOKYO: Japan has offered to play a role in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the wake of White House advise...

Untitled by David Dubnitskiy
  • Wed, 03 Jul 2019 03:08

Untitled by David Dubnitskiy David Dubnitskiy: Photos 500px:

The Great Sand Dunes. by David Priymak
  • Fri, 28 Jun 2019 16:28

The Great Sand Dunes. by David Priymak One of the best dunes I have ever been at, no wonder it is called The Great Sand Dunes. ...

Genius or joker? British PM favorite Johnson set to face the world
  • Thu, 27 Jun 2019 23:05

Author: ReutersID: 1561615468831692000Thu, 2019-06-27 06:00 LONDON: Loose cannon or influential statesman — what kind of British prime mi...

‘Arab world needs heroes like Salah and Malek,’ Bahrain workshop told
  • Thu, 27 Jun 2019 08:53

Thu, 2019-06-27 00:34 MANAMA: The Arab world needs heroes, and football and the film industry can help provide them, the US-led “Peace to Prosperit...

Phone ) by David Dubnitskiy
  • Sun, 23 Jun 2019 04:38

Phone ) by David Dubnitskiy David Dubnitskiy: Photos 500px: