Just days after making his Instagram debut, environmentalist and all-round great dude Sir David Attenborough has delivered a stark warning for us all on ABC’s 7.30. 

In an interview with host Leigh Sales, Attenborough asserted that the global population is “heading for disaster.” Now, I’m not an environmentalist, but that doesn’t sound good.

“More of us are living more comfortably than ever in history … Humanity by and large has taken what it wants from the natural world and taken its own construct, its own surroundings, which we tend to think of our world and now we are realising that it isn’t our world, actually, we don’t control as much as we think we do, and we are heading for disaster,” he said.

The beloved environmentalist explained that the melting of the polar ice caps is the greatest threat to our life as we know it, but even he’s not too sure what the exact consequences of that would be.

“If you are going to have all of those thousands of tonnes of freshwater in the icecaps, melting and going into the sea, rising the sea level, changing the salinity, changing the climate and the way the winds circulate around the world, you are interrupting and changing a fundamental rhythm that our world has lived with for centuries – millennia – and what the consequences will be is anybody’s guess,” he bluntly put it.

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David Attenborough has spent a lifetime travelling, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He’s also witnessed the damaged caused. Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will. That’s why we want to share this message on Instagram. Because there is hope and together, we can inspire change. Social media isn’t David’s usual habitat so while he’s recorded messages solely for Instagram, like the one in this post, we're helping to run this account. In case you’re wondering, ‘we’ are Jonnie and Colin and we worked with David on A Life On Our Planet. So, as well as sharing the messages he’s recorded especially for this account we’ll also post some exclusive clips and behind the scenes content. Stay tuned.

A post shared by A Life On Our Planet (@davidattenborough) on

Interestingly, when host Leigh Sales asserted that his message has failed so far, with big decision makers not really doing what needs to be done to save the planet, Attenborough put it down to what we consider to be urgent.

Basically, Attenborough pointed out that the ever-present threat of climate change seems to get overshadowed by whatever the most immediate issue is. For example, the coronavirus.

“We ourselves are concerned with what happens tomorrow, that what seems urgent and if someone says, ‘look a little farther down the road, oh, yes, we ought to be doing something about that’. Then, something else happens, and we need to deal with that tomorrow, and this problem has been delayed again, and yet again, and yet again, and if we deal with it tomorrow it will be too late.”

Between Attenborough joining Instagram and the big climate change doomsday clock currently sitting in New York, it’s hard to see why we’re still not taking the threat of climate change serious.

I wish I had a nice sentence to insert here that just, sort of, fixed it all, but I don’t. We all need to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint, but even if we all went vegan and stopped driving cars, our individual footprints are mere blips on the radar compared to those of the big corporations that fuck our planet to make a quick buck.

Obviously, we should all do whatever *we* can to fix this, whether thats choosing a plant-based diet, trying to opt for zero-waste options, or even spending a bit of time researching the carbon footprints of companies you choose to support.

Attenborough’s warnings come just days before his latest film, A Life On Our Planet, premieres on Netflix on October 4.

Image: Getty Images / Richard Stonehouse