Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

Greta Thunberg meets David Attenborough: a Skype meeting of minds

The renowned environmentalist thanks the teenage climate activist for everything she's done for the planet

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg skyped with environmentalist Sir David Attenborough and thanked the filmmaker for being her inspiration. 
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg skyped with environmentalist Sir David Attenborough and thanked the filmmaker for being her inspiration. 

Two of the world's most prominent climate champions met for the first time this week when Greta Thunberg interviewed Sir David Attenborough on Skype.

The Swedish climate activist guest edited part of BBC Radio 4's Today programme broadcast on Monday, December 30. As part of the show, the 16-year-old Skyped with the award-winning filmmaker and environmentalist from her home town in Sweden.

During the interview Attenborough told Thunberg she had shown great bravery.

Thunberg credited the 93-year-old historian as being the person who opened her eyes to climate change.

"When I was younger, maybe nine or 10 years old, the thing that made me open my eyes with what was happening for the environment were films and documentaries about the natural world and what was going on, so thank you for that," she told Attenborough from Stockholm.

During a Skype interview David Attenborough told Greta Thunberg she had achieved things that many people working on climate change had failed to achieved. Reuters 
During a Skype interview David Attenborough told Greta Thunberg she had achieved things that many people working on climate change had failed to achieved. Reuters 

The Blue Planet creator also lauded the youngster for her activism, telling presenter Mishal Husain that Thunberg had "achieved things that many of us who have been working on climate change have failed to achieved."

The pair of climate giants alluded to the importance of the upcoming Cop26 set to take place in Glasgow next year. "The Cop26 is special. I cannot say enough how important it is," said Thunberg while Attenborough warned listeners: "every day we delay things we are missing an opportunity."

A message on repeat

Thunberg, who will turn 17 on Friday, January 3, asked Attenborough if mentioning climate change was controversial 20 years ago when he was making documentaries.

"We could see the writing very clearly on the wall then and I did a programme in Easter Island to mark the beginning of the new millennium, and I stood in front of those great memorials to a broken civilisation and said 'this is an example of what happens if you don’t care about the environment'."

The former BBC controller also asked Thunberg how long she could sustain saying the same thing.

"It is a problem with repeating things over and over again, but that’s what we need to do because they’re obviously not listening. You need to repeat it until it is being understood," answered the teen.

The pair signed off by expressing a desire to meet in person in the future and Attenborough reiterated his thanks to the teenager saying: "Until we do, I do thank you very much."

Fans of both personalities took to twitter to thank the climate change champions for their work.

The radio programme focused heavily on environmental issues as a whole, with reports on sustainable flying, forest fire warnings in Australia and an interview with Svante Thunberg, Greta's father.

Updated: December 30, 2019 05:18 PM

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