It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for -- the whole thing -- rather than just one or two stars.
I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.
I'm no longer sceptical. I no longer have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world.
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 find it far more awesome, wonderful, that creation; our appearance in the world; should be the culmination, or at least one of the latest products of 3,000 Million years of organic evolution, than a kind of country trick, taking a rib out of a man's side in a trance.
Fundamentally not to waste energy. If we were all to reduce our demands for energy, it would make an enormous amount of difference.
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.
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.
With or without us, the wild will return. .... It seems that, however grave our mistakes, nature will be able to overcome them, given the chance. The living world has survived mass extinctions several times before. But we humans cannot assume that we will do the same.
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.
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.
I have no doubt that the fundamental problem the planet faces is the enormous increase in the human population.
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'm not a propagandist, I'm not a polemicist; my primary interest is just looking at and trying to understand how animals work.
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.
I remember when we were in the World Cup in Australia and I had to win the singles against Tony Payne, best of seven legs, to win it. I was 2-0 down but ended up beating him I suffer much less than many of my colleagues. I am perfectly able to go to Australia and film within three hours of arrival.
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.
I've never actually met one in the wild, but I have seen a king cobra. They go towards people, they rear up six feet tall and they're very aggressive and they are very fast. And one bite means certain death. So if I encountered a king cobra in the wild I would be very alarmed.
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.
Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Apart from anything else, I am designed by evolution, like we all are: if we see a little thing like that, big eyes, tiny nose, we go 'aaah'. That's what evolution does. We are programmed to do that. So to find babies the most amazing, isn't surprising, I don't think.
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.
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.
Very few species have survived unchanged. There's one called lingula, which is a little shellfish, a little brachiopod about the size of my fingernail, that has survived for 500 million years, but it's survived by being unobtrusive and doing nothing, and you can't accuse human beings of that.
I'm not an animal lover if that means you think things are nice if you can pat them, but I am intoxicated by animals.
I'd like to see the giant squid. Nobody has ever seen one. I could tell you people who have spent thousands and thousands of pounds trying to see giant squid. I mean, we know they exist because we have seen dead ones. But I have never seen a living one. Nor has anybody else.
If you watch animals objectively for any length of time, you're driven to the conclusion that their main aim in life is to pass on their genes to the next generation.
I mean, it is an extraordinary thing that a large proportion of your country and my country, of the citizens, never see a wild creature from dawn 'til dusk, unless it's a pigeon, which isn't really wild, which might come and settle near them.
The climate suits me, and London has the greatest serious music that you can hear any day of the week in the world -- you think it's going to be Vienna or Paris or somewhere, but if you go to Vienna or Paris and say, 'Let's hear some good music', there isn't any.
People talk about doom-laden scenarios happening in the future: they are happening in Africa now. You can see it perfectly clearly. Periodic famines are due to too many people living on land that can't sustain them.
I don't run a car, have never run a car. I could say that this is because I have this extremely tender environmentalist conscience, but the fact is I hate driving.
I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.
If my grandchildren were to look at me and say, 'You were aware species were disappearing and you did nothing, you said nothing', that I think is culpable. I don't know how much more they expect me to be doing, I'd better ask them.
There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.
You can cry about death and very properly so, your own as well as anybody else's. But it's inevitable, so you'd better grapple with it and cope and be aware that not only is it inevitable, but it has always been inevitable, if you see what I mean.
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.
If I can make programmes when I'm 95, that would be fine. But I would think I'll have had enough by then.
All we can hope for is that the thing is going to slowly and imperceptibly shift. All I can say is that 50 years ago there were no such thing as environmental policies.
You know, it is a terrible thing to appear on television, because people think that you actually know what you're talking about.
I can mention many moments that were unforgettable and revelatory. But the most single revelatory three minutes was the first time I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef. It's just the unbelievable fact that you can move in three dimensions.
It was regarded as a responsibility of the BBC to provide programs which have a broad spectrum of interest, and if there was a hole in that spectrum, then the BBC would fill it.
It's coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It's not just climate change; it's sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.
An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.
I've been to Nepal, but I'd like to go to Tibet. It must be a wonderful place to go. I don't think there's anything there, but it would be a nice place to visit.
Getting to places like Bangkok or Singapore was a hell of a sweat. But when you got there it was the back of beyond. It was just a series of small tin sheds.
There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.
Dealing with global warming doesn't mean we have all got to suddenly stop breathing. Dealing with global warming means that we have to stop waste, and if you travel for no reason whatsoever, that is a waste.
Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom. We feed them and tame them and think we know them. And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.
In the old days... it was a basic, cardinal fact that producers didn't have opinions. When I was producing natural history programmes, I didn't use them as vehicles for my own opinion. They were factual programmes.
I would be absolutely astounded if population growth and industrialisation and all the stuff we are pumping into the atmosphere hadn't changed the climatic balance. Of course it has. There is no valid argument for denial.
We really need to kick the carbon habit and stop making our energy from burning things. Climate change is also really important. You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another, but climate change is global.
I don't think we are going to become extinct. We're very clever and extremely resourceful -- and we will find ways of preserving ourselves, of that I'm sure. But whether our lives will be as rich as they are now is another question.
The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?
I don't like rats, but there's not much else I don't like. The problem with rats is they have no fear of human beings, they're loaded with foul diseases, they would run the place given half the chance, and I've had them leap out of a lavatory while I've been sitting on it.
It is vital that there is a narrator figure whom people believe. That's why I never do commercials. If I started saying that margarine was the same as motherhood, people would think I was a liar.
London has fine museums, the British Library is one of the greatest library institutions in the world... It's got everything you want, really.
All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder -- and ultimately impossible to solve -- with ever more people.
The whole of science, and one is tempted to think the whole of the life of any thinking man, is trying to come to terms with the relationship between yourself and the natural world. Why are you here, and how do you fit in, and what's it all about.
People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.
People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.
The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there's a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.
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.
I had a huge advantage when I started 50 years ago -- my job was secure. I didn't have to promote myself. These days there's far more pressure to make a mark, so the temptation is to make adventure television or personality shows. I hope the more didactic approach won't be lost.
Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?
Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird.
What I am interested in with birds, just as I am with spiders or monkeys, is what they do and why they do it.