Sir David Attenborough has long been known for his upbeat commentaries on the wonders of nature, yet the renowned British conservationist and television presenter has sounded a distinctly less upbeat tone in a warning to us all.
Unless we devote ourselves to changing our destructive ways drastically, life on the planet as we have known it will cease to exist, Attenborough said in an address to the United Nations’ Security Council.
“If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature, and ocean food chains,” he said. “[I]f the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilization will quickly break down.”
Encouragingly, Attenborough went on, there is growing global awareness of the need for urgent action on climate change and other pressing environmental concerns.
“People today all over the world now realize this is no longer an issue which will affect future generations,” the famed conservationist said. “It is people alive today, and, in particular, young people, who will live with the consequences of our actions.”
Attenborough, who has been travelling the planet for more than a half century for his highly popular nature documentaries, is in a unique position to evaluate the destruction we have wrought on nature in recent decades. In one of his latest documentaries, A Life on Our Planet, the broadcaster details some of the worst man-made environmental devastation he has witnessed firsthand.
Overfished oceans, disappearing rainforests, polluted lakes and rivers, decimated biodiversity have all added to the woes of a planet in the throes of climate change fueled by excessive carbon emissions. Each challenge is monumental, yet each is solvable if people worldwide set their minds to finding solutions together.
“There are threats to [global] security of a new and unprecedented kind,” Attenborough said. “These threats should unite us no matter from which part of the world we come, for they face us all.”
All you need to do is watch any one of Attenborough’s numerous documentaries to appreciate the wonders of the natural world, which is increasingly fragile in the face of constant human interference and needs our help.
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