USA

Attenborough talks climate change on 60 Minutes

The world's foremost wildlife filmmaker tells Anderson Cooper humanity has committed a crime against his beloved natural world. BBC legend Sir David Attenborough, who at one time had been skeptical about climate change, now says scientists are right about the harm to the planet humans are causing and considers it a crime. Attenborough speaks to Cooper for a report to be broadcast on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, September 27 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.  

 Attenborough calls his latest film and book "A Life on Our Planet," a "witness statement."  Because "a crime has been committed," he says of dreadful damage humans have done. "And it so happens that I'm of such an age, I was able to see it beginning."  

 In his many films, including "Planet Earth" and "Blue Planet," Attenborough, 94, has taken hundreds of millions of television viewers to the mountains, valleys, deserts and the depths of the ocean but his newest documentary might be his most important. In "A Life on Our Planet," he says the Earth is headed for disaster. "Deserts in Africa have been spreading. There could be whole areas of the world, where people can no longer safely live. The hottest temperatures yet recorded…" Higher temperatures are coming, he says. "Wait another few months. Wait another year. See again," warns Attenborough.  

 He's convinced what's happening now to the natural world because of climate change is far worse than what humans have done over the ages. "Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together," says Attenborough.

 He says the continuing use of fossil fuels and the destruction of the planet's natural habitat is tantamount to suicide. "If there were no more trees, we would suffocate." But in the current pandemic, he finds some hope with the new appreciation of nature. "In the course of this particular pandemic that we're going through, I think people are discovering that they need the natural world for their very sanity," he tells Cooper. "People who have never listened to a birdsong are suddenly thrilled, excited, supported, inspired by the natural world. And they realize they're not apart from it. They are part of it."

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