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Happy Birthday, David Attenborough!

  • by JW

As time has passed, he has become more vocal in his documentaries.


Today, Sir David Attenborough, the broadcasting legend turns 98 and extends his Guinness World Record for the longest career as a TV presenter and as a TV naturalist.

As his career has progressed, he has become more outspoken.

According to the pressure group Population Matters, of which he is the patron, David Attenborough’s greatest achievement was his observation: “Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we controlled the population to allow the survival of the environment.”

And according to the BBC itself, David Attenborough has shaped our world in many ways – and as time has passed, he has become aware that the animals and habitats he has been filming are under threat, becoming more vocal in his documentaries. As for his contribution to BBC coverage of natural history, it’s been recently declared that ‘Nobody can hold a candle to it’.

The latest Smithsonian magazine notes how David Attenborough went from delighting at the natural world to pleading for its future:

The voice of nature” has grown more somber and desperate through the decades as Attenborough has seen first-hand the destruction humans are wreaking on the planet. The tone of his programs has shifted from joyful wonder to warnings of what we stand to lose if we don’t change course. Our reckless disregard for nature isn’t new—one segment in “Mammals” focuses on the wiping out of bison in North America in the 19th century—but the destruction has accelerated and spread dramatically over the course of Attenborough’s long and productive life.

“Mammals” sounds cautiously hopeful notes. But in our conversation all those years ago, Attenborough didn’t sound very optimistic that humans would turn things around in time. “I’m sure things are going to get worse before they get better, if they get better,” he told me. “They won’t get better in my lifetime, but that’s not very long ahead. I don’t think they’ll get better for 50 to 100 years. I hope they won’t get too much worse, but I fear they certainly will.”

To finish, a message from Sir David to us all:

(19) Philip Lymbery on X: “A very happy 98th birthday to the legend that is #SirDavidAttenborough A man passionate about the natural world & the benefits it affords He’s done much to inspire others to care for it, whilst reminding that we are responsible both for its devastation but also it’s survival💚” / X