For nearly 70 years Sir David Attenborough has been exploring the planet, taking hundreds of millions of television viewers on eye-opening journeys through the natural world. Jungles and island archipelagos, deserts and deep under the sea, no place has been too remote, no animal too elusive, for Sir David and his talented team of filmmakers to document.
Now 94, Attenborough has witnessed the evolution of the natural world more closely than most. Attenborough’s latest project includes a book and film both titled, “A Life on Our Planet.” The documentary premiers on Netflix on October 4.
He calls this latest project his “witness statement,” and on 60 Minutes told correspondent Anderson Cooper “a crime has been committed” against the planet. Attenborough says “our planet is headed for disaster and climate change is the greatest threat facing the plant for thousands of years. There could be whole areas of the earth that people could no longer safely live”. The World Wildlife Fund says 2/3 of the world’s wildlife has disappeared in the last 50 years.
He would tell world leaders that the time has come to put aside national ambitions and look for international ambitions of survival. “We don’t have an alternative but to be optimistic, if you love your children, if you love the rest of humanity”. It’s the young Sir David has hope for. “There is a huge movement around the world of young people who can see what’s happening to the world and demanding that their government take action. That’s the best hope I have. My generation failed”. We allowed it to happen despite being the smartest creatures that ever lived. We need more than just intelligence, we need wisdom. After all, this planet is all we have. There is no where else to go.
“We’re both in broadcasting, if you’re going be telling something as though it’s true, you better be sure it’s true,” Attenborough said to Cooper. “So I didn’t say anything much about the world being in ecological peril until I was absolutely sure that what I was talking about was correct.”
Attenborough no longer minces words nor leaves his viewers wondering where he stands on the issue of climate change. In the new film, he laments Earth’s decline and states emphatically, “Our planet is headed for disaster.” Despite his stark warning about the planet’s peril, Attenborough told Cooper it is not too late to salvage it, if countries work together and societies alter their behavior. The nonagenarian remains hopeful for the future.