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David Attenborough's Quotes

David Attenborough profile photo

Born: 1926-05-08
Profession: Journalist
Nation: British
Biography of David Attenborough

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Before the BBC, I joined the Navy in order to travel.

Tags: Navy, Order, Travel

I am an ardent recycler. I would like to think that it works. I don't know whether it does or not.

Tags: Ardent, Whether, Works

I don't approve of sunbathing, and it's bad for you.

Tags: Approve, Bad

I suffer much less than many of my colleagues. I am perfectly able to go to Australia and film within three hours of arrival.

Tags: Able, Film, Less

I'm against this huge globalisation on the basis of economic advantage.

Tags: Advantage, Against, Economic

I'm not a propagandist, I'm not a polemicist; my primary interest is just looking at and trying to understand how animals work.

Tags: Trying, Understand, Work

I'm not in politics.

Tags: Politics

Natural history is not about producing fables.

Tags: Fables, History, Natural

Nature isn't positive in that way. It doesn't aim itself at you. It's not being unkind to you.

Tags: Aim, Nature, Positive

The climate, the economic situation, rising birth rates; none of these things give me a lot of hope or reason to be optimistic.

Tags: Give, Hope, Reason

There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.

Tags: Change, Point, Question

We are a plague on the Earth.

Tags: Earth, Plague

You have to steer a course between not appalling people, but at the same time not misleading them.

Tags: Between, Misleading, Time

You know, it is a terrible thing to appear on television, because people think that you actually know what you're talking about.

Tags: Actually, Talking, Television

I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.

Tags: History, Order, Travel

I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature.

Tags: Give, Nature, Power

I've been to Nepal, but I'd like to go to Tibet. It must be a wonderful place to go. I don't think there's anything there, but it would be a nice place to visit.

Tags: Nice, Place, Wonderful

If you watch animals objectively for any length of time, you're driven to the conclusion that their main aim in life is to pass on their genes to the next generation.

Tags: Life, Next, Time

Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.

Tags: Change, Politics, Success

All we can hope for is that the thing is going to slowly and imperceptibly shift. All I can say is that 50 years ago there were no such thing as environmental policies.

Tags: Hope, Policies, Shift

Cameramen are among the most extraordinarily able and competent people I know. They have to have an insight into natural history that gives them a sixth sense of what the creature is going to do, so they can be ready to follow.

Tags: Able, History, Sense

I had a huge advantage when I started 50 years ago - my job was secure. I didn't have to promote myself. These days there's far more pressure to make a mark, so the temptation is to make adventure television or personality shows. I hope the more didactic approach won't be lost.

Tags: Hope, Job, Lost

I mean, it is an extraordinary thing that a large proportion of your country and my country, of the citizens, never see a wild creature from dawn 'til dusk, unless it's a pigeon, which isn't really wild, which might come and settle near them.

Tags: Country, Mean, Might

I would be absolutely astounded if population growth and industrialisation and all the stuff we are pumping into the atmosphere hadn't changed the climatic balance. Of course it has. There is no valid argument for denial.

Tags: Balance, Denial, Growth

I'd like to see the giant squid. Nobody has ever seen one. I could tell you people who have spent thousands and thousands of pounds trying to see giant squid. I mean, we know they exist because we have seen dead ones. But I have never seen a living one. Nor has anybody else.

Tags: Living, Mean, Trying

I'm absolutely strict about it. When I land, I put my watch right, and I don't care what I feel like, I will go to bed at half past eleven. If that means going to bed early or late, that's what I live by. As soon as you get there, live by that time.

Tags: Care, Past, Time
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If I were beginning my career today, I don't think I would take the same direction. Television is at a crossroads at the moment. And although I am not up to date technologically, I suspect that somewhere out there people are conveying things about natural history by means other than television, and I think if I were beginning today, I'd be there.

Tags: Career, History, Today

If my grandchildren were to look at me and say, 'You were aware species were disappearing and you did nothing, you said nothing', that I think is culpable. I don't know how much more they expect me to be doing, I'd better ask them.

Tags: Ask, Expect, Said

In the old days... it was a basic, cardinal fact that producers didn't have opinions. When I was producing natural history programmes, I didn't use them as vehicles for my own opinion. They were factual programmes.

Tags: History, Old, Opinion

It is vital that there is a narrator figure whom people believe. That's why I never do commercials. If I started saying that margarine was the same as motherhood, people would think I was a liar.

Tags: Liar, Saying, Why

It was regarded as a responsibility of the BBC to provide programs which have a broad spectrum of interest, and if there was a hole in that spectrum, then the BBC would fill it.

Tags: Fill, Hole, Interest

It's coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It's not just climate change; it's sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.

Tags: Change, Food, Home

People talk about doom-laden scenarios happening in the future: they are happening in Africa now. You can see it perfectly clearly. Periodic famines are due to too many people living on land that can't sustain them.

Tags: Future, Living, Talk

Steve Irwin did wonderful conservation work but I was uncomfortable about some of his stunts. Even if animals aren't aware that you are not treating them with respect, the viewers are.

Tags: Respect, Wonderful, Work

Television of course actually started in Britain in 1936, and it was a monopoly, and there was only one broadcaster and it operated on a license which is not the same as a government grant.

Tags: Actually, Government, Started

The process of making natural history films is to try to prevent the animal knowing you are there, so you get glimpses of a non-human world, and that is a transporting thing.

Tags: History, Making, Try

The whole of science, and one is tempted to think the whole of the life of any thinking man, is trying to come to terms with the relationship between yourself and the natural world. Why are you here, and how do you fit in, and what's it all about.

Tags: Life, Science, Yourself

You can cry about death and very properly so, your own as well as anybody else's. But it's inevitable, so you'd better grapple with it and cope and be aware that not only is it inevitable, but it has always been inevitable, if you see what I mean.

Tags: Death, Else, Mean

You can only get really unpopular decisions through if the electorate is convinced of the value of the environment. That's what natural history programmes should be for.

Tags: Decisions, History, Value

An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.

Tags: Curiosity, Great, Natural

People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.

Tags: Animal, Care, Unless

People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.

Tags: Amazing, Beautiful, Wonderful

I can mention many moments that were unforgettable and revelatory. But the most single revelatory three minutes was the first time I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef. It's just the unbelievable fact that you can move in three dimensions.

Tags: Put, Single, Time

I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.

Tags: Big, Half, Wish

What I am interested in with birds, just as I am with spiders or monkeys, is what they do and why they do it.

Tags: Birds, Interested, Why

Getting to places like Bangkok or Singapore was a hell of a sweat. But when you got there it was the back of beyond. It was just a series of small tin sheds.

Tags: Getting, Hell, Small

It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars.

Tags: Care, Rather, Whole

I don't run a car, have never run a car. I could say that this is because I have this extremely tender environmentalist conscience, but the fact is I hate driving.

Tags: Car, Fact, Hate

The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?

Tags: Book, Happy, May

There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.

Tags: Alive, Four, Problems

Dealing with global warming doesn't mean we have all got to suddenly stop breathing. Dealing with global warming means that we have to stop waste, and if you travel for no reason whatsoever, that is a waste.

Tags: Mean, Reason, Travel

Being in touch with the natural world is crucial.

Tags: Crucial, Natural, Touch

Crying wolf is a real danger.

Tags: Crying, Danger, Real

As far as I'm concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world... which doesn't seem to me to be necessarily blasphemous at all.

Tags: Far, Natural, Seem

Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom. We feed them and tame them and think we know them. And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.

Tags: Group, Popular, Rather

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.

Tags: Beauty, Greatest, Life

If I can bicycle, I bicycle.

Tags: Bicycle

The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there's a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.

Tags: Between, Both, Lives

We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that's what's happening. Too many people there. They can't support themselves - and it's not an inhuman thing to say. It's the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it's going to get worse and worse.

Tags: Humanity, Keep, Until

Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

Tags: Bird, Everyone, Eyes

I think a major element of jetlag is psychological. Nobody ever tells me what time it is at home.

Tags: Home, Time, Travel

It's a moral question about whether we have the right to exterminate species.

Tags: Moral, Question, Whether

The fundamental issue is the moral issue.

Tags: Issue, Moral

Well, I'm having a good time. Which makes me feel guilty too. How very English.

Tags: Good, Guilty, Time
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