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Here's How David Attenborough Has Shaped The World We Live In Today

Emma Rosemurgey

| Last updated 

Here's How David Attenborough Has Shaped The World We Live In Today

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Today marks national treasure Sir David Attenborough's birthday, so we're charting his 93 years with all of his incredible achievements and how he's shaped the world we live in today.

Through his documentaries, Sir David has highlighted the plight of plastic pollution, climate change and the rapid decline in the population of endangered species. He's also worked tirelessly to engage younger generations into continuing to make changes once his time is up.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Plastic Pollution

Most recently, Attenborough narrated BBC's Blue Planet II, which explored the diverse life living in our seas, while highlighting the critical challenges facing our oceans, namely: plastic pollution.

Since the documentary's release there has been a huge spike in interest in problematic plastic, which researchers like Professor Richard Thompson call the 'Blue Planet effect'.


According to Waitrose's food and drink report of 2018-2019, 88 per cent of people who watched Blue Planet II have now changed their lifestyle as a result - half of which said they had "drastically changed" their behaviour. Meanwhile, the survey found that combating plastic pollution came up as the biggest trend among British consumers.

The report says: "A new era of environmentalism has taken hold, and attitudes towards single-use bags, disposable plastic straws, and packaging will never be the same."

And it's not just consumers who are making changes, as last month McDonald's got rid of plastic straws in all of its UK branches, instead replacing them with biodegradable paper versions.


Endangered Species

After 50 years of being a household name Sir David turned to viewers in 2007, and asked them to donate towards protecting endangered species for BBC series Saving Planet Earth.

The series showed viewers the direct threats facing British wildlife, and showed them how they can act to prevent it.

Attenborough's Life On Earth allowed viewers to not only see a broad survey of animal life, but also allowed them to connect to a global ecology for the first time.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Climate Change

Just last month David Attenborough released his urgent documentary, Climate Change: The Facts, which highlights the disastrous impact global warming is having on our planet.

Sir David has called climate change "our greatest threat in thousands of years," leaving viewers horrified at the effects humans are having on the planet.

Last year, Attenborough delivered powerful talks at the 2018 UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, and this year at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, urging them to action climate change.

He told TIME: "I would much prefer not to be a placard-carrying conservationist. My life is the natural world. But I can't not carry a placard if I see what's happening."

Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Consuming Documentaries

While series like Our Planet and Blue Planet have become second nature to a generation of environmentally-woke documentary fans, that hasn't always been the case.

When Sir David took up his role as a trainee at the BBC in 1952, he'd only ever seen one television programme before, but that didn't stop him developing a skill for showing viewers at home things they'd never seen.

His landmark show Zoo Quest made history by not only showing viewers snakes and apes for the first time outside of films, but it was the first-time natural history footage was shown on location, prompting people to fall in love with nature.

In addition to bringing on location footage, Attenborough was also partially responsible for bringing colour television to the UK in 1967. Working as a controller of BBC Two, he entered a race to be the first European channel to broadcast in colour, successfully beating a German rival with a broadcast from Wimbledon.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Attenborough, we salute you.

Topics: Celebrity News, david attenborough, Celebrity Entertainment

Emma Rosemurgey
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