Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

World Economic Forum 2019: Sir David Attenborough warns of limitless environmental harm

In an interview with Britain's Prince William in Davos, the veteran broadcaster warned of the dangers ahead of us

Legendary wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough praised the wonders of the natural world while warning of humanity's impact on the environment on Tuesday.

In an interview with Britain's Duke of Cambridge at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the veteran presenter said we do not fully understand the extent of humanity's impact on the natural world and if there is not a change, we will "wreck" the natural world and in turn "wreck ourselves".

Sir David said that when he started broadcasting "the notion that humanity might exterminate a whole community of animals was quite foreign".

But "now there are more people living in towns than there are living in the world, so it means the majority of the human race are out of touch with the natural world," he said.

"We have to be really aware of the dangers we are doing. The plastic problems in the seas are wreaking havoc on natural life, the extent of which we do not fully know," he said.

But the British broadcaster also explained how new technology is unveiling new wonders of the natural world to people in all countries and expressed the universality of a fascination with wildlife.

"We have never been more powerful," he said, "we can wreck it with ease...and if we wreck the natural world, we wreck ourselves."

The naturalist broadcaster also praised the ability of Netflix to reach millions of people immediately, while discussing his latest program, saying how the streaming platform can reach millions of people worldwide.

Sir David was speaking in Davos where business leaders, politicians and NGOs are meeting this week to discuss the next iteration of globalisation.

One of the key themes of this year's event is the environment, with discussions about plastic pollution, energy sustainability and protecting our oceans.

The interview with the second in line to the British throne came a day after Sir David Attenborough warned "The Garden of Eden is no more," referring to the Old Testament paradise garden.

“If people can truly understand what is at stake, I believe they will give permission for business and governments to get on with the practical solutions," he told the audience in Switzerland as he accepted the Crystal Award, which honours artists and cultural leaders whose contributions best represent the "spirit of Davos".

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Updated: January 23, 2019 02:31 PM

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