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'We cannot be radical enough': David Attenborough calls for drastic climate change action

Naturalist David Attenborough appeared today before British MPs to discuss climate change.

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough giving evidence to the House of Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee today.
Naturalist Sir David Attenborough giving evidence to the House of Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee today.
Image: House of Commons/PA Wire/PA Images

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH has told British MPs that no action is too radical when it comes to addressing climate change during an appearance at a UK parliamentary committee. 

The naturalist and TV presenter told the business, energy and industrial strategy committee at Westminster: “We cannot be radical enough in dealing with this issue. The question is what is practically possible.” 

“How can we take the electorate with us in dealing with these things? Because it costs money, in realistic terms. Dealing with these problems means we’ve got to change our lifestyle. Dealing with the problem is going to cost, internationally, it’s going to cost money,” he said. 

Attenborough has been an ardent campaigner in recent years against the overuse of plastic and the dangers of climate change. Blue Planet II, which aired on the BBC in 2017, ended with Attenborough calling on viewers to take action against global threats such as climate change and plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. 

Attenborough compared the shift in the public’s perceptions of climate change to changing public attitudes to slavery. 

“In the space of 20 or 30 years, the public perception of that totally transformed. By the middle of the 19th century, it was becoming intolerable. There was a huge change in public perception and public perception of moralities. I suspect that we are right now at the beginning of a big change. Young people, in particular, are the stimulus that is bringing that about,” he told the committee. 

Attenborough repeatedly praised the awareness and concern young people have shown on climate change. 

Around the world, teenagers in recent months have marched and campaigned as part of a global movement initiated by 16-year-old schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, while at the last European Parliament elections many pointed to an increase in support for green parties – the “green wave” – as part of wider appetite for more action against climate change.

“I’m okay and all of us here are all okay because we won’t face the problems. But the problems in 20, 30 years are really major problems that are going to cause great social unrest and great changes in the way that we live,” Attenborough said. 

“Young people see that very clearly now and that gives me great hope,” he added. 

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