President Barack Obama interviews Sir David Attenborough at the White House in an extraordinary program, which will screen as a special Foreign Correspondent on Tuesday June 30 at 8pm on ABC.
During this candid meeting, recorded by the BBC in May on Attenborough’s 89th birthday, the pair discuss the future of the planet, their passion for nature and what can be done to protect it.
The leader of the Western world wanted to meet Attenborough to talk to him about climate change, its effect on the environment, and to ask Attenborough his thoughts on the most critical issues threatening our planet. The President has long been a huge admirer of Attenborough’s work. He grew up watching Attenborough’s films, and after 60 years exploring the globe, Sir David has witnessed the changing natural world first-hand.
Viewers will witness a unique exchange between the two men: the President talks about his initiatives for tackling climate change and addressing environmental issues, as well as his paternal roots in Africa and how his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia established an enduring love of the natural world. David Attenborough relates tales from his long career, his recent record-breaking dive on the Great Barrier Reef and what he believes needs to be done about pressing issues such as the rising population, climate change and renewable energy.
During the interview, President Barack Obama says:
“I have been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time… you’ve been a great educator as well as a great naturalist.”
He adds, “We’re not moving as fast as we need to and part of what I know from watching your programs, and all the great work you’ve done, is that these ecosystems are all interconnected. If just one country is doing the right thing but other countries are not then we’re not going to solve the problem, we’re going to have to have a global solution to this.”
“What we’re seeing are global trends that depends on the entire world working together, and sadly we haven’t made as much progress as we need to on climate change.”
David Attenborough says:
“On my 89th birthday it was to my considerable surprise to find myself in a place that I’ve never been to before… to visit the White House with the President of the United States. (He was) friendly, hospitable and genuine.”
“I believe we find ways generating and storing power from renewable resources, we will make the problem with oil and coal disappear – because economically, we’ll wish to use these other methods. If we do that, a huge step will be taken in solving the problems of the Earth.”
“I think what’s required is an understanding and a gut feeling that the natural world is part of your inheritance. This is the only planet we’ve got and we’ve got to protect it. And people do feel that, deeply and instinctively, it is after all where you go in moments of celebration and in moments of grief.”
Brendan Dahill, ABC Head of Programming says: “We are thrilled to be able to present this program to viewers in Australia. The opportunity to see these two great men discuss some of the most important issues facing our planet promises to be a very special television event.”
The program also includes previously unseen footage as well as some of the highlights from Attenborough’s greatest films – including Life on Earth, Blue Planet, and Galapagos.”
The program will screen as a special Foreign Correspondent on Tuesday June 30 at 8pm on ABC.