Sir David Attenborough making a speech in front of a the logo for COP26.

David Attenborough: People’s Advocate for the Planet

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 15 October 2021 > In the News Shine Bright Lycée

Sir David Attenborough has fascinated viewers around the world for decades with his documentary series like The Blue Planet and Life on Earth. Now the 95-year-old naturalist is using his communication skills to try to explain the complex issues to be tackled the United Nations’ COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow from 31 October.

Attenborough was named “People’s Advocate” by the British government, which is hosting the summit, which was postponed from last year. In that role he has been making a series of speeches in the run up to the summit, and will speak at the event itself.

Attenborough’s statement on the nomination:

Attenborough revolutionised natural history programming at the BBC in 1954, when he produced and co-presented Zoo Quest, the first series produced by the BBC where animals were filmed in the wild. After a stint as a BBC executive (we have him to thank for Monty Python’s Flying Circus being broadcast), Attenborough returned to his first love: nature programmes. The zoology graduate has roamed the globe several times over and worked with incredible camera operators to bring us images of life in all its variety ever since. At 95, he now does more narrating than exploring and in recent years has become more and more worried about climate change affecting biodiversity and the natural environments he loves. His three most recent series, Our Planet (2019), Climate Change—The Facts (2019), and David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) were all cries of distress on behalf of the natural world.

He wishes to impress upon the leaders at COP26 and the general public the need for urgency. However, he does see hope as long as we act now. In a recent speech at the Chatham House think tank in London, his warning was stark, “The world is being destroyed. We are doing it.”

But he saw a positive change in attitude. “In the past, international relationships have been dominated by argument, by people with one point of view disagreeing with people with another point of view. But now there is a difference. Now the major problems that face the nations of the world are the same for all nations.”

This, he hopes, will make them work together to find solutions for future generations.  “The most powerful dynamic that should force those people in Glasgow is that it is young people who see this it is their future. They now understand what the problems are worldwide.”

Attenborough is a fellow of the Royal Society, Britain’s oldest and most prestigious science institution. He has been working with them on their consciousness-raising campaigns on climate change. He recently narrated this short animation that succinctly explains the importance of biodiversity for our future, and the dangers it faces.

As he concludes,"We need all the riches of our living planet to help us live healthy, happy lives long into the future."

COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference
31 October-12 November