Sir David Attenborough praises Jacinda Ardern's policies on climate

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Sep 2020, 1:13PM
The BBC has announced Sir David Attenborough will help teach school children about the natural world. (Photo / Getty)
The BBC has announced Sir David Attenborough will help teach school children about the natural world. (Photo / Getty)

Sir David Attenborough praises Jacinda Ardern's policies on climate

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Sep 2020, 1:13PM

Sir David Attenborough has singled out Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's policies as instrumental in the fight for the planet's survival.

In a piece for the Daily Mail, the British broadcaster and natural historian listed the things humankind needs to do to save the planet - and sang Ardern's praises.

Attenborough says humankind faces an "unprecedented challenge" and must act swiftly in order to save the planet.

In the essay, he pointed out the urgency of taking action and called on governments to follow in Ardern's footsteps in shifting their measure of economic success.

"As I warned last week, we are living in the shadow of a disaster – and it is one of our own making," he wrote, adding that we are "on the verge of destruction".

"By regarding the Earth as our planet, run by humankind for humankind, we have already wrought untold damage.

He continued: "In 2019, New Zealand made the bold step of formally dropping GDP as its primary measure of economic success and created its own index based upon its most pressing national concerns.

"In this single act, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shifted the priorities of her whole country away from pure growth and towards something that better reflects the aspirations many of us have."

While calling out for other governments to follow Ardern's example, Attenborough also offered advice to people on changes they can make to their everyday life to help the fight for humankind's survival.

"We are polluting our air, draining our rivers, warming the oceans and making them more acidic. We have depleted the ozone layer and brought about potentially disastrous climate change," he wrote.

"Humankind, in other words, has set a course for a devastating future, not just for the natural world but for itself. And if we continue, we will, like the people who once lived in the shadow of Chernobyl, risk sleepwalking into global catastrophe."

"What faces us today is nothing less than the collapse of the living world. Yet there is still time to change course, to find a better way of living."

Attenborough says "respect for biodiversity" should be at the heart of this global effort.

He believes what brought us to this point was "our hunger for perpetual economic growth" and calls for nations to ditch their focus on the GDP.

As well as a call for prioritising people over profit, the natural historian has also called on people to reduce their consumption of meat, ditch fossil fuels, leave more fish in the ocean and have fewer babies to curb overpopulation.

His essay finished with a message of hope that, while disaster nears, there is still time to turn things around and avoid catastrophe - but only if we act now.

"Homo sapiens, the wise human being, must now learn from its mistakes and live up to its name. We who are alive today have the formidable task of making sure that our species does so. We must not give up hope.

"We can yet make amends, change direction and once again become a species in harmony with nature. All we require is the will," he wrote.

 

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