33 Sir David Attenborough Quotes to Remember His Wise Words

Sir David Attenborough is an English broadcaster, author, historian, and biologist. He spent most of his early career with the BBC as a presenter and narrator. Initially, he was fascinated by the natural world we are surrounded by, but eventually, he took an interest in environmental conservation, and it became his focal point. Most of David Attenborough’s work revolves around spreading awareness regarding environmental causes.

Some of his famous broadcasts and programs are Zoo Quest (1954), Life on Earth (1979), Planet Earth (2006), Our Planet (2019), and Prehistoric Planet (2022). He is also the author of critically-acclaimed books including Life of Birds, A Life on Our Planet, The Zoo Quest Expeditions, and Life Stories.

He is among the few notable personalities who want to preserve the natural world and lessen the impact of humans on the planet. Here are some David Attenborough quotes to help you understand his fascination with nature and living organisms.

Inspiring David Attenborough Quotes

1. “The truth is—the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” – David Attenborough

2. “People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.” – David Attenborough

3. “I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.” – David Attenborough

4. “Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.” – David Attenborough

5. “The whole of life is coming to terms with yourself and the natural world. Why are you here? How do you fit in? What’s it all about?” – David Attenborough

6. “The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” – David Attenborough

7. “The correct scientific response to something that is not understood must always be to look harder for the explanation, not give up and assume a supernatural cause.” – David Attenborough

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8. “Every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food that we take, comes from the natural world. And if we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves.” – David Attenborough

9. “If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.” – David Attenborough

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David Attenborough's inspirational quotes
10. “Before the BBC, I joined the Navy in order to travel.” – David Attenborough

11. “I’m absolutely strict about it. When I land, I put my watch right, and I don’t care what I feel like; I will go to bed at half past eleven. If that means going to bed early or late, that’s what I live by. As soon as you get there, live by that time.” – David Attenborough

12. “I’m not an animal lover if that means you think things are nice if you can pat them, but I am intoxicated by animals.” – David Attenborough

13. “An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.” – David Attenborough

14. “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely, we all have a responsibility to care for our Blue Planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.” – David Attenborough

15. “We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.” – David Attenborough

16. “We’re facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years – climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” – David Attenborough

17. “Opponents say natural selection is not a theory supported by observation or experiment; that it is not based on fact; and that it cannot be proved. Well, no, you cannot prove the theory to people who won’t believe in it any more than you can prove that the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. However, we know the battle happened then, just as we know the course of evolution on earth unambiguously shows that Darwin was right.” – David Attenborough

David Attenborough talking to his audience
18. “The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.” – David Attenborough

19. “I suffer much less than many of my colleagues. I am perfectly able to go to Australia and film within three hours of arrival.” – David Attenborough

20. “Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.” – David Attenborough

21. “I would be absolutely astounded if population growth and industrialization and all the stuff we are pumping into the atmosphere hadn’t changed the climatic balance. Of course, it has. There is no valid argument for denial.” – David Attenborough

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22. “The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.” – David Attenborough

23. “We moved from being a part of nature to being apart from nature.” – David Attenborough

24. “Young people: They care. They know that this is the world that they’re going to grow up in, that they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in. But I think it’s more idealistic than that. They actually believe that humanity, human species, has no right to destroy and despoil regardless.” – David Attenborough

25. “Right now, 8 million tons of plastics end up in the oceans every year, but you by your responses have shown that if we start doing those small steps that are easily achievable, we can before long really have an effect.” – David Attenborough

26. “We live our comfortable lives in the shadow of a disaster of our own making. That disaster is being brought about by the very things that allow us to live our comfortable lives.” – David Attenborough

27. “We often talk of saving the planet, but the truth is that we must do these things to save ourselves. With or without us, the wild will return.” – David Attenborough

28. “I find it far more awesome, wonderful, that creation; our appearance in the world; should be the culmination, or at least one of the latest products of 3,000 million years of organic evolution, than a kind of country trick, taking a rib out of a man’s side in a trance.” – David Attenborough

David Attenborough’s 93rd birthday
29. “To restore stability to our planet, therefore, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing we have removed. It is the only way out of this crisis that we ourselves have created. We must rewild the world!” – David Attenborough

30. “It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” – David Attenborough

31. “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” – David Attenborough

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32. “I mean, it is an extraordinary thing that a large proportion of your country and my country, of the citizens, never see a wild creature from dawn ’til dusk, unless it’s a pigeon, which isn’t really wild, which might come and settle near them.” – David Attenborough

33. “Wherever women have the vote, wherever girls stay in school for longer, wherever women are in charge of their own lives and not dictated to by men, wherever they have access to good healthcare and contraption, wherever they are free to take any job and their aspirations for life are raised, the birth rate falls. The reason for this is straightforward – empowerment brings freedom of choice and when life offers more options for women, their choice is often to have fewer children.” – David Attenborough

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Sir David Attenborough Being Iconic for 25 Minutes

From saying boo to a sloth to the famous lyrebird encounter, here are 25 minutes of pure David Attenborough.


We hope these David Attenborough quotes have inspired you to learn more about wildlife and nature. Sir David Attenborough has dedicated 60+ years of his life towards fascinating us through nature documentaries and books.

His passion for preserving the natural world inspires many to advocate for environmental causes and educate people about the indispensability of nature.

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Image Credits

Sir David Attenborough” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

SM19 – One-on-One with Christine Lagarde, featuring Sir David Attenborough: Balancing Nature and the Global Economy” by International Monetary Fund is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A Conversation with Sir David Attenborough and HRH The Duke of Cambridge” by World Economic Forum is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


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