Extinction: The Facts – stark warning from David Attenborough

extinction the facts david attenborough

In Extinction: The Facts, Sir David Attenborough gave stark warning yesterday of the extinction crisis facing our planet. The program aired on the BBC in the UK.

A 2019 UN report revealed that one million animal and plant species currently face extinction. Extinction is a natural process. However, it now occurs up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate.


David Attenborough says that the current rate of extinction contributes to the risk of pandemics.

“Over the course of my life, I’ve encountered some of the world’s most remarkable species of animals. Only now do I realise just how lucky I’ve been. Many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever.

“We are facing a crisis and one that has consequences for us all. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to control our climate, it even puts us at greater risk of pandemic diseases such as COVID-19.

“It’s never been more important for us to understand the effects of biodiversity loss, of how it is that we ourselves are responsible for it. Only if we do that, will we have any hope of averting disaster.”

David Attenborough: We are at a turning point

David Attenborough speaks of the potential for a new and more infectious virus to cause the extinction of human beings.

Even without a new pandemic, we face food shortages because of the loss of pollinating insects. We rely on trees and plants to produce oxygen but one in four plants species faces the threat of extinction. A few years ago we thought we would eventually turn more to the oceans as a food source. However, overfishing sees only 5% of trawler-caught fish remaining compared to a century ago.

“What happens next,” says David Attenborough, “is up to every one of us.”

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