David Attenborough has been called the voice of our planet.
Softly spoken and with reassuring cadence, he has guided audiences on many a journey through the natural world. From mountaintops to frozen tundra, tropical rainforest to the watery abyss, there are few places his voice has not carried.
At 90 years old … he shows no sign of stopping, says CNN’s Christiane Amanpour; one of the many reasons she selected Attenborough for CNN series My Hero.
A life-long conservationist, he confessed in 2011 he was once sceptical of climate change, “cautious about crying wolf.” But the evidence, he realized, was incontrovertible. It’s clear when we watch Attenborough now that we’re witness to nature’s majesty, but also just how delicately the biosphere is poised.
“Attenborough has probably has done more than any single individual to crystallize for the world why taking climate change seriously is a moral and an existential imperative,” says Amanpour, recalling their interview at the Paris COP21 talks, where he said “More and more species are on the brink of extinction.”
(The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently lists 24,307 species of animal, birds, insects, aquatic life and plants as threatened with extinction.)
Whether the previous administration’s work on climate change will be for naught remains to be seen. There are multiple causes for concern in the early days of the Trump presidency: from mooted oil exploration on federal land to the possibility the US will pull out of the Paris climate agreement. (Attenborough has stated he is a strong proponent of green energy, suggesting clean energy storage technology holds the key to superseding the fossil fuel industry.)
Attenborough’s reach is vast, his reputation without question. He speaks of the “vanity” of poaching, citing the potential of elephant extinction as a “crime [that] will rest heavily on humanity’s shoulders.”
“He’s my hero,” says Amanpour, “because he’s … still fighting the good fight.” Hear hear!
Acknowledgement CNN, and image courtesy the Daily Mail.
Sir David Attenborough is the president of wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation