Welcome to our collection of quotes by David Attenborough
Sir David Frederick Attenborough (born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcaster, natural historian and author. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series forming the Life collection that constitute a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth.
Attenborough is a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s. His filmography as writer, presenter and narrator spans eight decades; it includes Zoo Quest, Natural World, Wildlife on One, the Planet Earth franchise, The Blue Planet and its sequel. He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in black and white, colour, high-definition, 3D and 4K resolutions.
While Attenborough's earlier work focused more on the wonders of the natural world, his later work has been more vocal in support of environmental causes. He has advocated for restoring planetary biodiversity, limiting population growth, renewable energy, reducing meat consumption, and setting aside more areas for natural preservation. He has been criticised for expressing controversial views on human overpopulation. He considers his 2020 documentary film, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, his personal witness statement of his life and the future.
On his broadcasting and passion for nature, NPR stated he "roamed the globe and shared his discoveries and enthusiasms with his patented semi-whisper way of narrating". In 2018 and 2019, Attenborough received Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Narrator. He is widely considered a national treasure in the UK, although he himself does not like the term. He is the younger brother of the late director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough, and older brother of the late motor executive John Attenborough.
It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for -- the whole thing -- rather than just one or two stars.
I'm not in politics.
A third of the land on our planet is desert. These great scars on the face of the Earth.
I'm no longer sceptical. I no longer have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world.
I'm a humanist. I'm neither one side nor the other.
No, not a feminist. I'm a humanist. I'm neither one side nor the other.
Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a co-ordinated view about the planet, it's going to get worse and worse.
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!
I suspect that happiness is not a state but rather a transition.
Fundamentally not to waste energy. If we were all to reduce our demands for energy, it would make an enormous amount of difference.
I am an ardent recycler. I would like to think that it works. I don't know whether it does or not.
I'm not over-fond of animals. I am merely astounded by them.
Life is not all high emotion. Some of the most interesting things are when its not highly emotional: little details of relationships and body language.
When I was a boy in the 1930s, the carbon dioxide level was still below 300 parts per million. This year, it reached 382, the highest figure for hundreds of thousands of years.
We often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is that we must do these things to save ourselves.
The climate, the economic situation, rising birth rates; none of these things give me a lot of hope or reason to be optimistic.
You'll discover in countries where women have control over their own bodies, where they have education, where they have birth control, where they have facilities and where they are literate, when those things happen, the birth rate falls.
Trade is a proper and decent relationship, with dignity and respect on both sides.
Terrorism is an immediate problem that people are very concerned about, and I am as concerned about that as anyone else. But it isn't an either or situation.
The idea that the Lord had given us a present, that the world is a gift from God... well, the amount of stuff, back then, that the Lord was giving away was limited. We do not have dominion.
Birds are the most accomplished aeronauts the world has ever seen. They fly high and low, at great speed, and very slowly. And always with extraordinary precision and control.
All life is related. And it enables us to construct with confidence the complex tree that represents the history of life.
If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world's ecosystems would collapse.
How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew what was happening to the world and did nothing.
The notion of ever more old people needing ever more young people, who will in turn grow old and need even more young people, and so on ad infinitum, is an obvious ecological Ponzi scheme.
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.
I would love to see a giant squid. Very few people have seen them. And only about half a dozen people have seen one alive.
The savage, rocky shores of Christmas Island, 200 miles south of Java, in the Indian Ocean. It's November, the moon is in its third quarter, and the sun is just setting. In a few hours from now, on this very shore, a thousand million lives will be launched.
In the Baboon community, it is not how strong you are that is important, but who you know that counts.
It's like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five ... Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066.
Warm-bloodedness is one of the key factors that have enabled mammals to conquer the Earth, and to develop the most complex bodies in the animal kingdom. In this series, we will travel the world to discover just how varied and how astonishing mammals are.
Can a growing human population still leave space for wildlife?
I have no doubt that the fundamental problem the planet faces is the enormous increase in the human population.
Natural history is not about producing fables.
Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes thought of as primitive, dull and dimwitted. In fact, of course, they can be lethally fast, spectacularly beautiful, surprisingly affectionate and very sophisticated.
I think the most alarming animals I have encountered are really poisonous snakes.
Do we really require so many gardening programmes, makeover programmes or celebrity chefs?
I'm not a propagandist, I'm not a polemicist; my primary interest is just looking at and trying to understand how animals work.
Now, I find that very difficult to reconcile with notions about a merciful God.
Climate change will affect the whole of humanity, while terrorist attacks will only affect a small section of humanity. Of course, you wouldn't say that if you were related to someone who had been beheaded or blown up or murdered.
Climate change will affect the whole of humanity, while terrorist attacks will only affect a small section of humanity. Of course, you wouldn't say that if you were related to someone who had been beheaded or blown up or murdered. But humanity is facing a very big, slow, long, drawn-out threat, and that is to do with the way the weather is changing and the size of the population.
There are perfectly good independent small nations.
Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.
The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrollable way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us and it is the poor people of the world who will suffer most.
Its about cherishing the woodland at the bottom of your garden or the stream that runs through it. It affects every aspect of life.
In the West, that's what's happening. The birth rate has been dropping steadily and still is. But there is still a vast amount of the world where that's not the case. And that is where the big population growth is taking place.
I've been bitten by a python. Not a very big one. I was being silly, saying: 'Oh, it's not poisonous' Then, wallop! But you have fear around animals.
That people will object very much to seeing a predator killing its prey, and yet, in the news, will accept showing shots of people shooting one another.
Children start off reading in books about lions and giraffes and so on, but they also-if theyre lucky enough and have reasonable privileges of any human being-are able to go into a garden and turn over stone and see a worm and see a slug and see an ant.
No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experiened.
Give and take, that is the essence of what balance is all about.
Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist.
It is curiosity, quite right-a divine curiosity. A characteristic of the gods is curiosity.
Since when has Finland been a rotten place to live in?
I would love to go and see the Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms. There are very few left now. I would loved to have gone to Tibet and Nepal. And there are still parts of central Asia that are utterly unexplored.
One in eight plant species face extinction.
The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.
We only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don't know about and don't understand. ... There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them.
Cameramen are among the most extraordinarily able and competent people I know. They have to have an insight into natural history that gives them a sixth sense of what the creature is going to do, so they can be ready to follow.
Steve Irwin did wonderful conservation work but I was uncomfortable about some of his stunts. Even if animals aren't aware that you are not treating them with respect, the viewers are.
The fundamental issue is the moral issue.
You can only get really unpopular decisions through if the electorate is convinced of the value of the environment. That's what natural history programmes should be for.
I don't approve of sunbathing, and it's bad for you.
I suffer much less than many of my colleagues. I am perfectly able to go to Australia and film within three hours of arrival.
The more you go on, the less you need people standing between you and the animal and the camera waving their arms about.
We are not overpopulated in an absolute sense; we've got the technology for 10 billion, probably 15 billion people, to live on this planet and live good lives. What we haven't done is developed our technology.
I'm luckier than my grandfather, who didn't move more than five miles from the village in which he was born.
I'm swanning round the world looking at the most fabulously interesting things. Such good fortune.
To suggest that God specifically created a worm to torture small African children is blasphemy as far as I can see. The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't believe that.
Television of course actually started in Britain in 1936, and it was a monopoly, and there was only one broadcaster and it operated on a license which is not the same as a government grant.
I'm absolutely strict about it. When I land, I put my watch right, and I don't care what I feel like, I will go to bed at half past eleven. If that means going to bed early or late, that's what I live by. As soon as you get there, live by that time.
Before the BBC, I joined the Navy in order to travel.
I believe the Abominable Snowman may be real. I think there may be something in that.
It's extraordinary how self-obsessed human beings are. The things that people always go on about is, 'tell us about us', 'tell us about the first human being'. We are so self-obsessed with our own history. There is so much more out there than what connects to us.
Nature isn't positive in that way. It doesn't aim itself at you. It's not being unkind to you.
The process of making natural history films is to try to prevent the animal knowing you are there, so you get glimpses of a non-human world, and that is a transporting thing.
I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature.
As far as I'm concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world... which doesn't seem to me to be necessarily blasphemous at all.