Davos 2019: David Attenborough issues stark warning about future of civilisation as he demands ‘practical solutions’ to combat climate change

'What we do now...will profoundly affect the next few thousand years'

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 22 January 2019 01:51 GMT
Sir David Attenborough claims 'What we do now affects the next few thousand years' in Davos speech

Sir David Attenborough has issued a stark warning about climate change to business figures gathered in Davos, telling them that "what we do now...will profoundly affect the next few thousand years".

On the eve of this year's World Economic Forum, the renowned naturalist told the audience that the worlds of business and politics should "get on with the practical solutions" needed to prevent environmental damage.

"As a species we are expert problem solvers. But we've not yet applied ourselves to this problem with the focus it requires.

"We can create a world with clean air and water, unlimited energy, and fish stocks that will sustain us well into the future. But to do that, we need a plan," he said.

The broadcaster made his speech after receiving a Crystal Award, which is awarded by the forum to "exceptional cultural leaders".

“For millennia, on a global scale, nature has been largely predictable and stable. But now, in the space of one human life time, indeed, in the space of my lifetime, all that has changed," he added.

"The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more.”

In his speech, Sir David said that humanity's impact had so changed the world that the anthropocene, the age of humans, was now upon us.

A plan was needed to survive the anthropocene, the broadcaster said. Without one, civilisation itself was likely to collapse.

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Davos, a small Alpine town in Switzerland, plays host to the global elite once a year, when politicians, entrepreneurs and philanthropists gather at the World Economic Forum.

Sir David will be interviewed by the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday before taking part in a panel discussion with Jacinda Ardern, the leader of New Zealand and Al Gore, the former US vice president.

Additional reporting by agencies

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