David Attenborough shares a powerful message on climate change

Although he speaks in hushed tones, Sir David Attenborough’s plea for the UN Security Council to take action on the climate crisis should be heard loud and clear.

In a virtual meeting on Tuesday with the UN Security Council, chaired by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Attenborough made direct pleas to take urgent action on the climate crisis, or else.

For a naturalist, Attenborough certainly doesn’t beat around the bush. Addressing the 15-member council, the 94-year-old, whose voice we all know so well, spoke of the threat of worsening global instability due to a warming planet.

Sir David Attenborough and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Please make no mistake, climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced,” Attenborough said before the council. “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to freshwater, habitable ambient temperature and ocean food chains.” 

When the man who taught you what a food-chain actually was in Year 7 science says it, you know it’s serious.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the discussion with the disclaimer that he was aware of the public’s perception around the topic and those who are invited to speak about it: “I know that there are people around the world who will say that this is all kind of green stuff from a bunch of tree-hugging, tofu munchers and not suited to international diplomacy and international politics,” Mr Johnson told the council. “I couldn’t disagree more profoundly.”

It is not just British leaders and the UN council who are warning of the threat of climate change. It only takes a quick look at what’s going on in the American state of Texas to see that climate change is, exactly that, a global issue.

US climate envoy John Kerry added, “We bury our heads in the sand at our own peril. It is time to start treating the climate crisis like the urgent security threat that it is. This is literally the challenge of all of our generations.”

It’s scary stuff but, as Attenborough warns, “There is no going back – no matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer.”

The deadline for countries to commit to deeper emissions cuts is November, when the UN will stage a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Attenborough chillingly described this deadline as “the last opportunity to make the necessary change” to save the planet.

In other words, it’s time to leave the burying of heads in the sand to the ostriches.