People in towns and cities are losing touch with the “realities of the natural world”, which is putting the future of the planet at risk, Sir David Attenborough has warned.
The veteran wildlife presenter says rapid urbanization over the past 60 years has endangered the future of planet earth, since a growing number of people do not regularly come into contact with the natural world.
Over Half The World’s Population Now Lives In Cities
Attenborough is reminding us that since at least 2005 over half of the world’s population lives in cities.
In an interview with Eureka magazine, published by the Times, he said: “We have a huge moral responsibility towards the rest of the planet. A hundred years ago people certainly had that … They were aware of the seasons and aware of what they were doing to the land and animals around them.”
“So over 50% is to some degree out of touch with the natural world and don’t even see an animal from one day to the next unless it’s a rat or a pigeon,” added the TV presenter. That means that people are getting out of touch with the realities of the natural world, of which we are in fact a part.”
Eight-Year-Olds Better Able To Identify Pokemon Characters Than Real Natural Ones
There is a lot of research to back up Attenborough’s claim. A recent study found that 8-year-old children in Britain were better able to identify artificial Pokemon characters than real, native, ones such as “oak tree,” “otter,” or “beetle.”
At the same time, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that children between 8 and 18 spend on average about 8 hours a day indoors, staring at their electronic screens.
Realizing the urgency of this situation, a lot of activists have been working hard to re-connect children with nature; I did this myself by writing Get Out! 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future, a book designed to make it easy for kids and their parents to enjoy the great outdoors.
Sir David Attenborough is stating clearly what many of us believe.
Narrator Of Frozen Planet
Atenborough has also been the narrator of Frozen Planet, a BBC program that has caused some controversy. As Care2′sPaul Canning wrote here:
The show has also been the subject of criticism for the final episode, in which veteran BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough examines the impact of climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic. That episode includes dramatic footage of the break-up of the Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula but mostly describes what is happening and barely touches on its anthropogenic cause. It was reported that this episode would not be broadcast in the US because of supposed controversy over climate change, which turned out to be incorrect.
Hooray for David Attenborough for refusing to compromise his beliefs, and for warning of the danger of a human population cut off from its natural environment.
Photo Credit: The Clogfather