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Sir David Attenborough hails public’s awakening about the importance of nature

Sir David Attenborough (Jane Barlow/PA)
Sir David Attenborough (Jane Barlow/PA)

Sir David Attenborough thinks there has been an “awakening” worldwide about the importance of the natural world, and feels his forthcoming series “will bring it home” for people.

The 95-year-old naturalist and broadcaster will present a new five-part BBC series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit, titled The Green Planet, which uses ground-breaking filming techniques to show viewers the intricate lives of plants and the ecosystems that flourish around them.

Sir David said: “The world has suddenly become plant conscious. There has been a revolution worldwide in attitudes towards the natural world in my lifetime.

“An awakening and an awareness of how important the natural world is to us all. An awareness that we would starve without plants, we wouldn’t be able to breathe without plants.

“The world is green, it’s an apt name (for the series), the world is green. And yet people’s understanding about plants, except in a very kind of narrow way, has not kept up with that. I think this will bring it home.”

The TV presenter also reflected upon the world’s dependence on plants and how this has become more apparent during the pandemic due to lockdowns forcing people to remain at home more.

He added: “I also think that being shut up and confined to one’s garden, if one is lucky enough to have a garden, and if not, to having plants sitting on a shelf, has changed people’s perspective.

“And an awareness (has grown) of another world that exists to which we hardly ever pay attention to in its own right.

“Of course, we do gardening programmes and have done since the beginning of television.

“But this is not about gardening, this is about a parallel world, which exists alongside us, and which is the basis for our own lives, and for which we have paid scant attention over the years.”

Green Planet premiere – Glasgow
The Green Planet uses groundbreaking filming techniques to show viewers the intricate world of plants (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Green Planet will see Sir David travel across the globe, from the USA to Costa Rica and across Europe to different terrains including deserts, water worlds, tropical forests and the frozen north.

The documentary series, which comes 26 years after The Private Life Of Plants aired on BBC One, aims to show “how science and technologies have advanced, and how our understanding of the ways in which plants behave and interact has evolved”, the BBC has said.

The veteran broadcaster – whose other series include Seven Worlds, One Planet, The Blue Planet and Blue Planet II – also noted how he feels the technology evolution from the former “heavy, primitive equipment” has brought the series to life.

He explained: “Now we can take the cameras anywhere we like. So you now have the ability to go into a real forest, you can see a plant growing with its neighbours, fighting its neighbours or moving with its neighbours, or dying.

“And it’s that in my view, is what brings the thing to life and which should make people say, ‘Good lord, these extraordinary organisms are just like us’.

“In the sense that they live and die, that they fight, they have to fight for neighbours, they have to learn to reproduce and all those sorts of things.

“But just that they do them so slowly, so we’ve never seen that before. And that has a hypnotic appeal, in my view.”

In November, the series had its global premiere in Glasgow in conjunction with the Cop26 summit on tackling climate change.

The Green Planet begins on BBC One on January 9.

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