Sir David Attenborough has warned of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on climate change, sharing his worry people have taken their eyes off the prize when it comes to saving the natural world, weeks after the release of his latest documentary A Life On Our Planet.
As politicians deal with the health and economic crisis ahead of climate change, and several international climate conferences, such as COP26, had been cancelled because of the pandemic, 94-year-old Sir David feared people would have other priorities.
Appearing alongside teen activist Greta Thunberg at Wildscreen, a virtual wildlife film festival held in Bristol, he said: ‘I am worried that people will take their eyes off the environmental issue because of the immediate problems they have on Covid-19.’
He added, speaking from his home in London for the virtual event: ‘It’s put off a series of conferences in which all the nations get together and talk.’
The documentary-maker recently launched his new film, A Life On Our Planet, which was his ‘witness statement’.
In it, Sir David reflects upon the devastating changes he has witnessed during his career travelling the world’s habitats.
Filmed by Silverback Films and global environmental organisation WWF, it is a powerful first-hand account from Sir David of humanity’s impact on nature – and a message of hope for future generations.
During this week’s film festival, the veteran broadcaster and naturalist heaped praise on 17-year-old Thunberg, enthusing the activist had energised the younger generation to take the fight for the environment seriously, adding her campaigning had made other young people demand action to stop climate change.
He said: ‘If there is any sign of hope, and there is to be truthful compared to what there was 25 years ago, it’s because of what you’ve done and what you’ve done for young people.
‘Young people around the world are really, really going for it now because of you.
‘The world owes you a lot and I hope you are not paying too high a price for it, and it looks from what you are saying that you are managing to survive alright.’
He said that his television work and Thunberg’s campaigning had helped to shape public opinion and demand politicians take action.
Sir David explained: ‘We have to understand that if we are going to do something it is going to cost taxes and we are going to have to give up as well as take.
‘In the end it has to be a political decision to save the world. There has to be give and take between nations and the electorate.
‘If you’re faced with a crisis of the proportion of the epidemic they’re facing, it’s difficult to lift your eyes from immediate problems.
‘But we have to do that, we really, really have to do that and I think the future of the world depends on it.’
Praising Sir David, Thunberg said that when the icon speaks, everybody listens.
‘When I saw your new film, I was positively surprised how it connected all these issues, like the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, loss of soil and over-fishing,’ she said. ‘We fail today so much to connect these issues. These are all symptoms of one big sustainability and environmental crisis; we can’t just tackle one.’
A Life On Our Planet is available on Netflix now.
Credit: Original article published here.