Sir David Attenborough, Broadcaster and Naturalist, Honorary Alumnus and winner of the 2019 Bristol Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement discusses the scale of our climate emergency.
The fact is that the world is under greater pressure than it has ever been, and it’s not just in my lifetime but since human beings existed. This is the first time ever in the history of homo sapiens that we have the power, wittingly or unwittingly, to actually transform the world. Or to destroy it. Or to protect it. It’s very very important and our children and our grandchildren will either be thanking us or blaming us.
The problem is huge. I mean this is a problem that has never been faced by human beings before, ever. Because the world is one. And everybody – everybody in the world – has now got to get together and sort things out. The history of humanity is of disaster, is of arguing and quarrelling, of wars, of going and conquering other people and clinging on to the land. That’s got to come to an end. And we’ve all got to do something, because we’ve got a common disaster. If I had to give one piece of advice to people today it would be to get engaged. Come together and do something about it.
Bristol should be proud of the contribution it’s making towards getting the message out there about what’s happening to our planet, about the situation our natural world is facing as a consequence of what we’re doing to it.
I think there is time to do something about what’s occurring, but that can only happen if people understand that the world is in danger. If we have an obligation to our children, our grandchildren and further generations then it is time we took that seriously. If the films that the BBC Natural History Unit have made – with the help of the University of Bristol – are getting the message out there, then we can be proud of that.