When President Barack Obama Met Sir David Attenborough
Two kingpins discuss the marvels of nature and the future of the planet as we know it.
You know those conversations where you wish you were a fly on the wall? I’ve heard Bill Murray visits George Clooney’s lakeside mansion in Como, Italy every summer. This is simply to relax, catch up and spin yarns. I’d love nothing more to witness the comradery and banter between these two, for instance.
Last week, thanks to the BBC the chance to become said fly became a reality. This was not a chat between Bill and George but rather leader of the free world Barack Obama and nature lord Sir David Attenborough. For David’s 89th birthday celebrations he was invited to the White House to sit one-on-one with the U.S President and discuss the future of our Earth and the wonders of the natural world. The program was brilliant viewing, a candid and relaxed discussion between two of the coolest people on the planet.
As a young kid growing up in Hawaii with an affinity for the outdoors, we soon learn that Barack frothed on Attenborough’s early productions like Life On Earth. With that in mind, it’s obvious to see how thrilled the President was to meet his environmental idol. I might add, that as the don of all things nature, a fair few others enjoy David’s works. The Life On Earth series captured a worldwide audience of over 500 million people, yes 500 million!
The fact that Obama was the one to call upon Attenborough speaks ever so highly of how much the American President cares for the future of this blue dot on which we live. If Obama’s purpose was to spread the word of world conservation he’s certainly gone about it the right way, recruiting one of the most recognised men in television.
Interestingly, the half-hour program also gives us a sneak peek into Mr. Attenborough’s past. We discover his fascination and obsession for life on earth spurred from hunting fossils in the forests of Leicester as a boy. As he explains “I was young…my mind was full of awe and wonder, nature had me captivated”.
Digging deeper on the issue Barack asks David how we should best encourage and instill a passion for the environment in our younger generation. David’s answer is simple – we have to engage young people in the beauty and wonder of the environment. It’s funny because both men discuss the insular world in which kids live these days, trapped behind laptops and televisions yet they both see the Internet as the key tool to reach this very audience. Attenborough lays it down: "If people don’t know about the natural world, why on earth would they care about it. The modern media is there to educate and excite the population about the wide open spaces untouched by man."
Scientists are always barking on about the coal and carbon catastrophe seemingly leaving population growth out of the picture. Both Barack and Sir David realise this is a major concern for the future of our planet. Discussion sparks up about our very own Great Barrier Reef, which has changed remarkably in David’s 60 odd years in observation.
Plenty was covered in this one-on-one, yet nothing was more important than Attenborough’s advice for the human race. In order to stay afloat we’re going to need to continue to generate and store renewable energies. If Sir David Attenborough says it, then you better believe it.
So Tony, how about them wind farms?
You can watch this on ABC iView