Environmentalist Sir David Attenborough has condemned his own generation for the ‘terrible things’ they’ve done to the earth.
Over the past few years, the iconic 92-year-old has been working to raise awareness about exactly how serious climate change is.
In documentaries such as Blue Planet II and Our Planet, Attenborough provides narration for the eye-opening scenes presented to us, showing how wildlife and the natural world are suffering at the hands of humans.
Although people are starting to pay attention, and moves are being made towards reducing our impact on the planet, it seems Attenborough believes some age groups are more active than others.
Recently, children have embarked on strikes from school in order to protest climate change. While some people have mocked their actions, Attenborough has called them ‘certainly justified’.
In a podcast interview with the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, released today by her Global Optimism group, the naturalist dismissed those who are critical of the strikes, and praised the younger generations.
Their outrage is certainly justified, there is no doubt about that.
[Young people] understand the simple discoveries of science about our dependence upon the natural world. My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.
According to The Guardian, Attenborough went on to explain how young peoples’ urgent stance on climate change gives him hope that we may be able to make progress when it comes to restoring the planet.
There will be cynics who try to dismiss [the school strikers] and say they don’t understand the world and how it works. Young people may lack experience but they also have clear sight.
They can see perhaps more clearly than the rest of us who have been around for some time. We older ones should take notice of what they say.
That is the one big reason I have for feeling we are making progress. If we were not making progress with young people, we are done.
Although he expressed confidence in younger generations, the 92-year-old admitted he didn’t want to think about what will happen to the planet in the future.
Speaking about the world his great-grandchildren will live in, he said:
I don’t spend time thinking about that because I can’t bear it. I’m just coming up to 93, and so I don’t have many more years around here. I find it difficult to think beyond that because the signs aren’t good.
In his documentaries, Attenborough constantly reminds viewers about how immediate the need for change really is.
He raised the point again in the interview, saying:
We have no option, if we want to survive. We have a [moral] obligation on our shoulders and it would be to our deep eternal shame if we fail to acknowledge that.
According to the Fridays for Future website, the youth strikes continue today, with protests expected in 485 towns and cities in 72 countries.
We shouldn’t need to be told repeatedly; our planet is dying and we all need to make changes. Whether it’s for your own generation or the ones still to come.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.