Sir David Attenborough: Natural world is a solace in times of crisis

The broadcaster said that ‘if we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves'.

The natural world can be a source of solace during times of crisis, Sir David Attenborough has said.

Speaking about the climate, the broadcaster and naturalist, 93, said we are at an “unprecedented” point in history.

He told The Big Issue magazine: “In times of crisis, the natural world is a source of both joy and solace… The natural world produces the comfort that can come from nothing else.

“And we are part of the natural world. If we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves.”

Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough on the cover of The Big Issue (The Big Issue/PA)

But he has hope, saying: “Kids these days are knowledgeable, aware of what’s happening and are concerned. They are vocal. I haven’t known a generation of children that could be placed alongside these today.”

And he said of the environment: “We’re in an unprecedented situation.

“We know quite a lot about the history of the world. We go back 500 million years and there is no species with anything like the power homo sapiens have over the natural world.

“There is nothing remotely like the situation we’re in at the moment. There’s no moral to be taken from what happened in the past. We’ve got a completely blank sheet of paper in front of us….

“The plain fact is that every mouthful of food you eat comes from the natural world –  there’s no food that nourishes you that doesn’t come from the natural world.

“Every lungful of air that you take is refined by the natural world, oxygen breathed out by plants. If you can’t breathe and you can’t eat, you don’t exist.”

Sir David was interviewed by the magazine in early March, before the UK went into lockdown.

He said: “Problems are short-term and long-term… the short-term we deal with and the long-term ‘we’ll do tomorrow’.

“But tomorrow never comes. And then suddenly we discover it’s too late.”

The full interview is in The Big Issue, out now. Vendors are unable to sell on the streets because of the coronavirus pandemic. The publication can be supported via subscription, at www.bigissue.com.

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