Sir David Attenborough has offered a message of hope and positivity during what he called “unprecedented times” where nature can bring “a source of joy and solace”.
The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease was first officially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei in China. As of March 30th, more than 723,869 cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed but the actual number is thought to be much higher due to substantial under-reporting of cases.
With more than 34,000 people having died from the virus, COVID-19 has now spread into more than 180 other countries—including mainland Europe, South America and North America. Given the exponential growth in cases in countries like Italy, Spain and the UK, the WHO have now stated that Europe was the current centre of the pandemic.
Now, as governments around the globe enforce strict social distancing measures, carbon emission figured have noticed a severe drop and air pollution begins to significantly improve. Speaking in the latest edition of The Big Issue, which took place in early March prior to Britain going into lockdown due to the escalation of coronavirus. The 93-year-old said: “There is nothing remotely like the situation we’re in at the moment. There’s no moral to be taken from what happened in the past. We’ve got a completely blank sheet of paper in front of us.”
Continuing, he added: “If there was a risk of you getting coronavirus tomorrow—which there is—and someone next door had got it, you would find you were in quarantine quite quickly. But somebody next door to you who was doing something that could cause a terrible thing in five years’ time? People will say, ‘Well, that’s five years’ time, meanwhile I’ve got to deal with coronavirus or something’.”
The nature historian was optimistic about the future despite being worried about the now, stating: “Problems are short-term and long-term… the short-term we deal with and the long-term ‘we’ll do tomorrow’. But tomorrow never comes. And then suddenly we discover it’s too late. Kids these days are knowledgeable, aware of what’s happening, and are concerned. They are vocal. I haven’t known a generation of children that could be placed alongside these today.”
With the world being in such a bizarre place, civilisation, as we’ve become accustomed to, has been halted. Attenborough offered up this message of positivity: “In times of crisis, the natural world is a source of both joy and solace. The natural world produces the comfort that can come from nothing else. And we are part of the natural world.
“If we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves. We’re in an unprecedented situation. We know quite a lot about the history of the world. We go back 500m years and there is no species with anything like the power Homo sapiens has over the natural world.”
The latest issue of The Big Issue can be purchased here, it is available to buy online only due to the coronavirus stopping vendor’s ability to sell the magazine in the streets.