Sir David Attenborough on people and their relationship with nature

The naturalist talks to BBC Wildlife about the appeal of the natural world. 

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In an exclusive BBC Wildlife interview Sir David Attenborough describes nature as a very profound thing. Why? “Because it is about ourselves, we are part of it,” he said. 

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Each week the broadcaster receives touching letters from people who have been encouraged to take an interest in wildlife after watching his TV programmes.

Some letters he receives are from individuals who have used nature to help them overcome grief.

Others describe the thrill and excitement they feel when they encounter wildlife as like nothing else. 

“The appeal of the natural world is more than just a passing interest. If you lose it, you’re losing a huge treasure,” he said. 

BBC Wildlife asked the conservationist what advice he would give to parents who are trying to interest their children in nature. 

“There’s no problen with children. No problem whatsoever,” he responded. 

The conservationist has been involved with an organisation called Learning Through Landscapes, a charity that is trying to persuade schools to turn their playgrounds into places where children can get muddy and dirty. 

He added: “Primary school teachers know perfectly well that if you take a child and give them a net and he or she puts it in a pool, and they look at pond skaters, tadpoles, water beetles, caddisflies…they are absolutely fascinated.”  

Attenborough explained that even at secondary school level you only have to expose pupils to nature and they are fascinated because they realise they are connected with these things. 

“Why can’t they {schools} keep rabbits and guinea pigs and crayfish and a tropical fish tank? And not just tropical fish – sticklebacks,” he said. 

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Listen to exclusive audio of our interview with David Attenborough