Sir David Attenborough named Champion of the Earth by the UN

Sir David Attenborough has been named a Champion of the Earth by the UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP).

The award is in recognition of the environmentalist’s commitment to sharing stories about the natural world and climate change.

Sir David, 95, has been a household name across Britain and beyond for decades, having produced and presented world-famous nature documentaries for over 50 years.

More recent years has seen him plead with politicians and people in power to do everything possible to protect the planet, warning of climate change and mass extinction.

Ahead of last year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Sir David called for ‘bold action’ and support for local communities and landowners so they can create connected wild places on land and at sea to protect humanity.

In comments carried by the BBC, Sir David used his being named as Champion of the Earth to again urge action to prevent further destruction of the planet.

‘Fifty years ago, whales were on the very edge of extinction worldwide,’ he said.

‘Then people got together and now there are more whales in the sea than any living human being has ever seen.’

‘We know what the problems are and we know how to solve them. All we lack is unified action.’

UN Environment Programme executive director Inger Anderson paid tribute to Sir David, saying the presenter’s documentaries had inspired countless people to pay more attention to the world around them.

He said: ‘If we stand a chance of averting climate and biodiversity breakdowns and cleaning up polluted ecosystems, it’s because millions of us fell in love with the planet that he captured on film and writing, in his voice.’

Previous recipients of the award include Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley and charity SeaWomen of Melanesia.

Sir David’s most recent documentary goes back beyond the last mass extinction to explore the world of the dinosaurs.

Prehistoric Planet uses state-of-the-art technology and scientific research to transport viewers to the ancient world.

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