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David Attenborough turns 95: His best quotes on nature, sustainability and humankind

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

National treasure and beloved broadcaster Sir David Attenborough turns 95 today.

He has spent more than half his life as a natural historian, and is the unforgettable voice behind some of the world’s favourite nature programmes, including Life on Earth, Natural World, Blue Planet, and most recently, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.

A tireless advocate for environmental causes, Sir Attenborough has spent much of his later work voicing his support for restoring biodiversity, shifting to renewable energy, reducing consumption of meat and protecting more areas for conservation.

Here are some of his best quotes throughout the years:

On the beauty of the natural world:

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”

On climate change:

“Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

On humanity:

“The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over anything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility.

“In our hands now lies not only our own future but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.”

On young people:

“Young people - they care. They know that this is the world that they’re going to grow up in, that they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in.

“But I think it’s more idealistic than that. They actually believe that humanity, human species, has no right to destroy and despoil regardless.”


On our impact on the planet:

“We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that.

“Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

On conservation:

“To restore stability to our planet, therefore, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing we have removed. It is the only way out of this crisis that we ourselves have created. We must rewild the world!”

On endangered animals:

“Are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never see an elephant except in a picture book?”


On urban development:

“Now, over half of us live in an urban environment. My home, too, is here in the city of London.

“Looking down on this great metropolis, the ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking. It’s also very sobering, and reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world.”

On education:

“Bringing nature into the classroom can kindle a fascination and passion for the diversity of life on earth and can motivate a sense of responsibility to safeguard it.”


On his love for the Earth:

“I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.”

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