Sir David Attenborough warns MPs that climate change will cause 'social unrest'

Carla Harmon
July 10, 2019

He first visited the Australian landmark in the 1950s, describing it as a "multitude of fantastic, lovely forms of life".

He also mentioned the dying Great Barrier Reef in his rant, saying he remembers visiting the then-thriving reef in the 1950s.

But his amazement turned to horror when he returned to the reef about 10 years ago.

"It had bleached white because of the rising temperatures and increasing acidity of the sea".

Sir David said that between 30 and 40 per cent of all fish in the ocean depend on coral reefs at some point in their lives.

"People are understanding that to chuck plastic into the ocean is an insult", he said.

Food and the way humans live would also be affected.


There are, of course, many public figures who question climate change in Australia fairly regularly.

"Australia is already facing, having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change", he said.

'There's a huge change in public perception [of plastic].

"It is very, very, important that the voices of dissent should have a place where they're heard and a place where the arguments between the two sides can be worked out in public and deterred and analysed in public".

The 93-year old TV naturalist said that dealing with environmental issues will cost money and require people to change their lifestyles.

That means we need to ramp up efforts to protect things like the Great Barrier Reef aka the world's largest living organism.

But on a positive note, Attenborough said: "The only way you can get up in the morning is to believe that, actually, we can do something.and I believe that we can".


Attenborough said radical action was needed to tackle the climate emergency - "we can not be radical enough" - but also called for pragmatism in working out what was possible and how best to convince the public of the need for change.

"I think that the voice of criticism and the voice of disbelief should not be stamped on". "And that is a source of great comfort in a way, but also the justification, the reality, that these young people are recognizing that their world is the future".

"We can not be radical enough in dealing with the issues that face us at the moment", said Attenborough.

A report by Berlin-based science and policy institute Climate Analytics found planned coal and gas expansions could push Australia's share of emissions higher over the next decade.

The Australian Conservation Foundation's Gavan McFadzean said coal and gas were the cause of the "climate crisis", with Australian the number one exporter of both.

He added, "If you become aware of what is happening to the natural world, you don't have any alternative".


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