In an interview
that aired Sunday, renowned naturalist David Attenborough
called climate change
" committed by humanity against the planet, questioning why society should have the right to continue "poisoning life on Earth" when there is still time for redemption.
Following the release of his book
and Netflix documentary
, “A Life On Our Planet,” Attenborough made the comments during an interview with “60 Minutes.” The projects have been referred to as his final “witness
statement” after a life spent in the natural world.
, the show's host, inquired about such jargon, noting that the statement is typically made following a crime.
“Well, a crime has been committed,” Attenborough, 95, responded, “and it just so happens that, because I'm of such an age, I was able to see it begin.”
“It's not that I enjoy saying, 'Doom, doom, doom,'” he went on, "but I'd much rather say, 'Enjoy, take thrill, excitement, pleasure, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy,
The documentary filmmaker's remarks come amid ongoing and increasingly dire warnings from the world's scientists that climate change is largely unabated. A report released last month by the Environmental Protection Agency
detailed a troubling shift in the United States
caused by a warming world: the destruction of permafrost in Alaska
, an increase in heat waves across the country, and longer-lasting wildfires
During his frequent visits to Australia
's famed Great Barrier Reef, Attenborough has witnessed such changes firsthand.
“We went on this reef, which I knew, and it was like a cemetery,” he said of his most recent trip there, “because all the corals... had died. They died due to a rise in temperature and acidity.”
In his book and documentary, Attenborough emphasized existing technology that could greatly reduce the threat of climate change, primarily an immediate shift away from fossil fuels
and an effort to “rewild
” large swaths of the planet, giving the natural world time to recover.
He concluded that the threat had grown so large that it could no longer be borne by a single country.
“I would say that the time has come to put aside national ambitions and look for an international ambition of survival,” he said, later adding, “What good does it do to say, ‘Oh, to hell with it, I don’t care?’ You can’t say that. Not if... you love your children
. Not if you love the rest of humanity.