Sir David Attenborough Tells Us The Moment He Knew Climate Change Was A ‘Life Or Death’ Issue

by : UNILAD on : 25 Sep 2020 13:52
Sir David Attenborough Tells Us The Moment He Knew Climate Change Was A 'Life Or Death' IssuePA IMages/BBC

For many of us, global warming is sadly all we’ve ever known, but for the likes of Sir David Attenborough, climate change wasn’t always a world-wide concern.

The 94-year-old has long been an voice for climate change, airing the issues that the world is facing and how it’s currently affecting our planet. But, when Sir David first started out his career back in 1950, global warming wasn’t as prominent as it is today.


Now, 70 years into his career as a broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David told UNILAD how different times were in 1950 and when he began to grow increasingly concerned about the environment.


Looking back at when he started, Sir David doesn’t believe he would have or should have changed anything he did, but wished he had been more aware of ‘what the nature of the problem was’.

He told UNILAD:


To start with, there were only a third of the people making up the population of the planet when I started – the population was about a third of what it is now. That’s one of the big difficulties; how homo sapiens have overrun the Earth. So, the problems were very different [in 1950].

In terms of the critical moment he realised something was very wrong, it was around 50 or 60 years ago when he visited the Great Barrier Reef.

Sir David explained to UNILAD, ‘The first time I suddenly realised that this was a matter of life or death really was seeing a dead coral reef which was on the Barrier Reef in the 60s/70s.’

David AttenboriughPA

Natural documentaries producer Alastair Fothergill added:

I mean, it’s those big warning signs, that’s what we’ve had to recognise over the years. A lot of these things are happening – it’s a very complicated system, the planet – a lot of things are happening and creeping up on us before we’re aware of it.

The most important thing we can promote is the good science. We need to watch out and look for these signs and understand them.

Alastair worked with Sir David on his upcoming film A Life On Our Planet that’s been described as, ‘powerful first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature and a message of hope for future generations.’

Meanwhile Sir David has just joined Instagram to help spread his message to the world.


The film hits cinemas on Monday, September 28, across select screens in the UK, the Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Australia and New Zealand. The one hour, 23 minute-long documentary will also be released on Netflix October 4.

Interviews with Sir David Attenborough by Emma Rosemurgey for UNILAD.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Ed Watkinson is a content strategist and editor at UNILAD. Having worked for several large media agencies for over 10 years, he joined LADbible Group in 2017 and has been overseeing organic content performance since then.

Topics: Celebrity, Climate Change, Global Warming, Now