Legendary nature broadcaster David Attenborough elaborated upon the current state of the world in the era of COVID-19 in a recent podcast with the BBC, emphasizing the importance of remaining in tune with nature.
The coronavirus pandemic is a serious “disaster for all of us,” but the isolation of lockdown has had the unexpected side effect of forcing people around the world into a less chaotic daily routine, Attenborough told Irish natural history presenter Liz Bonnin on the BBC Radio 5 Live podcast “What Planet Are We On?”
“We’ve given up the busyness of getting down to the station and getting on the Tube and bashing about,” Attenborough said. “We’ve had time to sit down, and suddenly you realize that out there in the park, or ... out there in the garden, there’s a bird singing.”
Attenborough argued that this deeper appreciation for nature “lifts the spirits to an extraordinary degree” before he turned his argument toward the wealthy nations of the world, now all in the unusual position of facing the same global pandemic.
The wasteful standards of living in these countries, Attenborough said, needs to be challenged in order to protect the Earth from the ongoing threat of climate change, which could potentially dwarf the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The excesses that the capitalist system has brought us have got to be curbed somehow,” he said. “That doesn’t mean to say that capitalism is dead, and I’m not an economist, and I don’t know. But I believe that the nations of the world, ordinary people worldwide, are beginning to realize that greed does not actually lead to joy.”
Reflecting on the lack of international collaboration at many climate change conferences he has attended, Attenborough added, “There should be no dominant nation on this planet.”
“I believe that there’s a time when we can begin to realize that the time for squabbling, the time for saying, ‘I’ve got to get the best bargain for my nation,’ is over,” the broadcaster said. “We’ve all got to realize that we’re living on the same planet, and some of us have been very lucky, and some of us have taken rather a bigger share of the glories and wealth of this planet than we deserve. And there are many with much, much less. Well, now we have to sort that out.”
Listen to the entire podcast here.