Sir David Attenborough

The naturalist and broadcaster talks to Alan Philps about the plastic plague, backsliding on climate change and his lucky timing.

The World Today Published 5 December 2019 Updated 2 November 2020 4 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Your career began with TV programmes on endangered species. At what point did you understand that the sustainability of all life on Earth was under threat?

I’ve been concerned about rare animals since I can remember. In my youth it was a perfectly admirable thing to do, but a bit of a hobby. Did it really matter that Père David’s deer was becoming extinct in the wild? It was a pity, but it was an amateur concern. It was not a vital issue for any nation. That began to change with the foundation of the World Wildlife Fund in 1961. And the great pioneers like Sir Peter Scott stirred the world’s conscience.

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