Q

David Attenborough on why he's more 'hopeful' for the future of the planet

David Attenborough talks to Tom Power about his long career, including everything from having a gorilla give him a dental exam to helping discover Monty Python.
LONDON - MAY 02: Sir David Attenborough launches National Moth Recording Scheme at London Zoo on May 2, 2007 in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Originally published on October 3, 2019

The groundbreaking BBC nature series Life on Earth celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. To mark that, an updated version of the book that accompanied the series is being released. 

Television legend David Attenborough has been the voice of Life on Earth, helping to show audiences the drama, comedy, tension and joy found in nature.

"To be absolutely truthful, it may sound like a truism, but I really don't differentiate between entertainment and education," he says. "I think education that isn't entertaining doesn't achieve its end, and entertainment that doesn't contain something which is illuminating to you loses half its strength."

Attenborough talks to q host Tom Power about his long career, including everything from having a gorilla give him a dental exam to helping discover Monty Python. They also discuss how Attenborough, after all these year, is even more hopeful. 

"I'm actually more hopeful than I was about 10 years ago," he says. "The disasters were overwhelming and were increasing in number and I couldn't see any way out of it. And I couldn't see any beams of hope."

He says that, in the last 10 years, the issue has become global, and "people are beginning to realize that they have a responsibility, not only about the atmosphere, but about the oceans."

He has faith in what he calls "people power" in order to effect real change. "At least more people are aware now of what the problem is than they were [then]. And eventually, I'm just hoping that, as it were, people power is going to make the politicians take notice of what has to be done." 

The updated Life on Earth book is out on Oct.16, 2018.

Produced by Ben Edwards

Miss an episode of CBC q? Download our podcast.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now