Best known for his appearances in numerous documentaries over the years, Sir David has also been a lifelong climate change activist. The 94-year-old first found fame after working in the BBC production team in the Sixties and soon cemented his place as a national treasure. Since then, he has travelled to every continent on the globe, and Netflix’s new film ‘A Life On Our Planet’ was released in September as a testament to his defining moments.
But the naturalist revealed during an interview with 60 Minutes why working on the documentary was particularly tough for him.
He said: “Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done pale into insignificance when you think of what could be around the corner.
“There could be whole areas of the world where people can no longer live.
“The hottest temperatures ever have been recorded in Death Valley, yet we are such optimists that we say ‘well, that’s interesting isn’t it?’
“No, wait a few months, wait another year, and see it again.”
Sir David explained some of the heartbreaking changes he has seen to the planet over the years.
He added: “Coral reef is one of the most dramatic, beautiful and complex manifestations of life you can find anywhere.
“But during my last trip it was like a cemetery – all the coral had died.
“That’s because of the rising temperature and acidity.
“We live in a finite world, we depend on the natural world for every mouthful of food that we eat and every lung-full of air that we breathe.
“If it wasn’t for the natural world then the atmosphere would be depleted of oxygen tomorrow.”
In a call to action, Sir David pleaded with humanity to make a change while it still can.
He added: “If there were no trees we would suffocate.
“I think the pandemic is helping people to discover that they need the natural world for their very sanity.
“People who have never listened to a bird’s song are suddenly thrilled, excited and inspired by the natural world.
“They realise they are apart of it. By saving nature we are saving ourselves.”
It comes just two years after Sir David admitted he does not think he has long left to live and “can’t bear” to think of the future after he is gone.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2019, 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.”
He added that not enough work has been done in his lifetime to prevent the devastating effects of climate change.
He said: “My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.”