Treat natural world with respect, Attenborough urges Davos jetset

Markus Schreiber  AP  REX  Shutterstock

Markus Schreiber AP REX Shutterstock

On Tuesday, during a taped discussion with the U.K.'s Prince William, keeping with the theme of the damage we have done to the environment, Attenborough stated that the human race was "so numerous, so powerful, so all-pervasive", before adding "the mechanisms that we have for destruction are so wholesale and so frightening". "The plastic problems in the seas are wreaking havoc on natural life, the extent of which we do not fully know", he said.

World leaders and top CEOs are meeting in Davos in Switzerland from January 22 to 25 to discuss how to steer policy amid worries of slowing economic growth, damaging trade wars and Brexit for the World Economic Forum.

Ms Ardern was on the panel Safeguarding Our Planet, chaired by former US Vice President Al Gore, that featured renowned natural history broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough.

"We have the power, we have the knowledge to live in harmony with nature", said Attenborough.

In a 2016 BBC tribute programme honouring Sir David Attenborough's 90th birthday, Prince William referred to him as "national treasure" - so it was somewhat of a momentous occasion for the royal.

"And if we wreck the natural world, in the end, we wreck ourselves".

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough.

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Attenborough used the appearance to make an impassioned plea to both global business and political leaders and the public about the need for urgent action to save the natural world.

Asked by William about the conflict between environmentalism, capitalism and economic success, Sir David said: "Still it is seen by some people that in fact humanity and industrialised humanity in particular is in opposition to the natural world". It's not just beauty and wonder: it is essential to human life. Damage to the environment has escalated The naturalist went on to say that in the space of his lifetime, so much has changed.

The Duke of Cambridge has asked Sir David Attenborough for advice on how he can help to save the planet as he steps into a role as a global "leader", promising the hard work will happen on his generation's watch.

Last year, Sir David said he was "astonished" by the response to Blue Planet II, which raised the issue of single-use plastics and the damage they were doing to the world's oceans.

Sir David teamed up with the Queen for an ITV documentary a year ago which looked at the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project.

Sir David was given a Crystal Award at the forum for his leadership in environmental stewardship.

Sir David, 92, responded: "There has never been a time when more people have been out of touch with the natural world, than there is now".

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