Sales’ ‘blunt’ question for Attenborough
David Attenborough might be 94 but the world-famous naturalist isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
In fact, Sir David is busier than ever, convincing the world to take action on climate change.
Speaking on ABC's 7.30, the British broadcaster and environmentalist told host Leigh Sales the global population was "heading for disaster".
"More of us are living more comfortably than ever in history … Humanity by and large has taken what it wants from the natural world and taken its own construct, its own surroundings, which we tend to think of our world and now we are realising that it isn't our world, actually, we don't control as much as we think we do, and we are heading for disaster," he said.
Attenborough was on the current affairs program to promote the release of his latest film, A Life On Our Planet, on Netflix from October 4.
Attenborough labelled the melting of the polar ice caps as the most pressing threat and admitted it was "anybody's guess" what the consequences would be.
"For the first time now you can sail from the Pacific into the Atlantic and across the North Pole in the summer and before long it looks as though you are going to be able to do that the year round.
"If you are going to have all of those thousands of tonnes of freshwater in the icecaps, melting and going into the sea, rising the sea level, changing the salinity, changing the climate and the way the winds circulate around the world, you are interrupting and changing a fundamental rhythm that our world has lived with for centuries - millennia - and what the consequences will be is anybody's guess."
But as Attenborough fights for action on climate change, 7.30 host Leigh Sales admitted even his fame might not be enough.
"To be blunt, messages like yours have so far failed - political leaders have failed to act decisively, the public is insufficiently motivated to force them to do so. Why do you think that is, and what's the answer?" Sales asked.
"Why it hasn't happened is because it's not going to happen tomorrow. It's going to happen the day after tomorrow," Attenborough said.
"We ourselves are concerned with what happens tomorrow, that what seems urgent and if someone says, 'look a little farther down the road, oh, yes, we ought to be doing something about that'. Then, something else happens, and we need to deal with that tomorrow, and this problem has been delayed again, and yet again, and yet again, and if we deal with it tomorrow it will be too late."
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Attenborough also joined Instagram late last week to call for further action on climate change, quickly racking up more than one million followers in his first few hours.
The veteran broadcaster, who has enjoyed a stellar 60-year career chronicling the natural world for audiences, used his inaugural post on the platform to warn "saving our planet is now a communications challenge".
"I am making this move and exploring this new way of communication to me because, as we all know, the world is in trouble," he said in a brief video message that attracted nearly 20,000 comments within six hours.
"Continents are on fire. Glaciers are melting. Coral reefs are dying. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. The list goes on and on," he added.
View this post on Instagram
David Attenborough has spent a lifetime travelling, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He’s also witnessed the damaged caused. Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will. That’s why we want to share this message on Instagram. Because there is hope and together, we can inspire change. Social media isn’t David’s usual habitat so while he’s recorded messages solely for Instagram, like the one in this post, we're helping to run this account. In case you’re wondering, ‘we’ are Jonnie and Colin and we worked with David on A Life On Our Planet. So, as well as sharing the messages he’s recorded especially for this account we’ll also post some exclusive clips and behind the scenes content. Stay tuned.
The Instagram account will be managed by the documentary's makers and host further video messages from Attenborough in the coming weeks, they said in a message posted on the site.
Earlier this month, Attenborough gave his starkest warning yet on the need for humanity to safeguard species from mass extinction for the sake of humankind's own survival in a one-hour film, Extinction: The Facts.
It aired on the BBC in Britain in the same week as international experts warned in a report that global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted by more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to humans' rampant over-consumption.
- With Wires
Originally published as Sales' 'blunt' question for Attenborough