64 Most Inspiring Quotes from Sir David Attenborough

Graphic Quote: Nature once determined how we survive. Now we determine how nature survives. — Sir David Attenborough

David Attenborough has spent a lifetime bringing the wonders of the natural world into our homes. His dulcet tones have narrated the lives of countless creatures, and his words have raised the alarm about our planet’s fragility and the urgent need for conservation. Through his documentaries, he has not only educated and inspired — but also imparted a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of Earth’s ecosystems.

His messages remind us that we are not apart from nature, but a part of it, and that the stewardship of this planet is not just an environmental concern but a matter of our own survival.

Below, we’ve curated a selection of David Attenborough’s most poignant and impactful quotes. 

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a conservationist, or someone looking for inspiration to live more harmoniously with the Earth, Attenborough’s insights offer timeless guidance. 

Attenborough’s words reflect his deep wisdom, his unwavering dedication to conservation, and his hopeful vision for the future:

Explore our curated list of  the best Sir David Attenborough quotes

Famous Quotes

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” — Sir David Attenborough

“Real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.” — Sir David Attenborough

“What humans do over the next 50 years will determine the fate of all life on the planet.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“What humans do over the next 50 years will determine the fate of all life on the planet.” — Sir David Attenborough

“Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.” — Sir David Attenborough‍

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

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

“Nature once determined how we survive. Now we determine how nature survives.”
— Sir David Attenborough, From Our Planet premiere speech

“Nature once determined how we survive. Now we determine how nature survives.” — Sir David Attenborough, From Our Planet premiere speech‍

“I’m sure things are going to get worse before they get better. But I believe they can get better.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“I’m sure things are going to get worse before they get better. But I believe they can get better.” — Sir David Attenborough

“We have a finite environment — the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We have a finite environment — the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist.” — Sir David Attenborough

“We need to work with nature, not against it.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“We need to work with nature, not against it.” — Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

On Saving the Planet

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“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.” — Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“The greater the biodiversity, the more secure will be all life on Earth.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future

“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!”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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!” — Sir David Attenborough

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Everything is set for us to win this future. We have a plan. We know what to do. There is a path to sustainability. It is a path that could lead to a better future for all life on Earth. We must let our politicians and business leaders know that we understand this, that this vision for the future is not just something we need, it is something, above all, that we want.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“The best motto to think about is not to waste things. Don’t waste electricity; don’t waste paper; don’t waste food. Live the way you want to live but just don’t waste. Look after the natural world and the animals in it and the plants in it too. This is their planet as well as ours. Don’t waste them.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We are going to have to live more economically than we do. And we can do that and, I believe we will do it more happily, not less happily. And that the excesses the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in an interview

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“As I see it, humanity needs to reduce its impact on the earth urgently and there are three ways to achieve this: we can stop consuming so many resources, we can change our technology and we can reduce the growth of our population. We probably need to do all three.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“As a species, we are expert problem solvers. But we haven’t yet applied ourselves to this problem with the focus it requires.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“As a species, we are expert problem solvers. But we haven’t yet applied ourselves to this problem with the focus it requires.” — Sir David Attenborough

On Climate Change

“You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another, but climate change is global.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another, but climate change is global.” — Sir David Attenborough

“It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We really need to kick the carbon habit and stop making our energy from burning things. Climate change is also really important. You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another but climate change is global.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in an interview

“Right now, eight million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans every year… the actions of just one of us may seem to be trivial and to have no effect. But the knowledge that there are thousands of, hundreds of thousands of people who are doing the same thing — that really does have an effect.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We have less than a decade to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. We have already increased global temperature by 1o°C from pre-industrial levels. If we are to halt its increase at 1.5o°C, there is a limit to the amount of carbon we can yet add to the atmosphere — our carbon budget — and, at current emissions rates, we will add this amount before the end of the decade. Our careless use of fossil fuels has set us the greatest and most urgent challenge we have ever faced. If we do make the transition to renewables at the lightning speed required, humankind will forever look back on this generation with gratitude, for we are indeed the first to truly understand the problem — and the last with a chance to do anything about it.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“One hundred hectares of standing rainforest has less value on paper than an oil palm plantation. Tearing down wilderness is therefore seen as worthwhile. The only practical way to change this situation is to change the meaning of value.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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.” — Sir David Attenborough

About Nature

“Nature is our biggest ally and greatest inspiration.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Nature is our biggest ally and greatest inspiration.” — Sir David Attenborough

“I know of no pleasure deeper than that which comes from contemplating the natural world and trying to understand it.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“It seems to me that the natural world is the great 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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Bringing nature into the classroom can kindle a fascination and passion for the diversity of life on earth and can motivate a sense of responsibility to safeguard it.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We can’t cut down rainforests forever. And anything that we can’t do forever is by definition, unsustainable. If we do things that are unsustainable, the damage accumulates, ultimately, to a point where the whole system collapses. No ecosystem, not matter how big, is secure. Even one as vast as the ocean.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“If people lose knowledge, sympathy and understanding of the natural world, they’re going to mistreat it and will not ask their politicians to care for it.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“An understanding of the natural world, and what’s in it as a source of not only great curiosity but great fulfillment.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“It seems that, however grave our mistakes, nature will be able to overcome them, given the chance.
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“It seems that, however grave our mistakes, nature will be able to overcome them, given the chance.” — Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

→ Read more quotes about nature

About Animals

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

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

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“The fun is in delighting in the animals, but if you do that, you owe them something, so you have an obligation to speak out and to do what you can to protect them.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Ninety-six percent of the mass of all the mammals on Earth is made up of our bodies and those of the animals that we raise to eat.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“We’re replacing the wild with the tame. Half of the fertile land on earth is now farmland. 70% of the mass of birds on this planet are domestic birds. The vast majority, chickens. We account for over one-third of the weight of mammals on earth. A further 60% are the animals we raise to eat. The rest, from mice to whales, make up just 4%.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“The process of making natural history films is to try to prevent the animal knowing you are there, so you get glimpses of a non-human world, and that is a transporting thing.”
— Sir David Attenborough

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

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

“I’m not over-fond of animals. I am merely astounded by them.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Since I started filming in the 1950s, on average, wild animal populations have more than halved. I look at these images now and I realize that, although as a young man I felt I was out there in the wild experiencing the untouched natural world… it was an illusion. Those forests and plains and seas were already emptying.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.” — Sir David Attenborough

→ Read more quotes about animals

Short Quotes

“Cherish the natural world, because you’re a part of it and you depend on it.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Cherish the natural world, because you’re a part of it and you depend on it.” — Sir David Attenborough

“We can now destroy or we can cherish, the choice is ours.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“There is no reason to suppose that our stay here will be any more permanent than that of the dinosaur.
— Sir David Attenborough

“Give and take, that is the essence of what balance is all about.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Human beings are good at many things, but thinking about our species as a whole is not one of our strong points.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in an interview

“We moved from being a part of nature to being apart from nature.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in an interview

“We humans, alone on Earth, are powerful enough to create worlds, and then to destroy them.”
— Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

“People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure.” — Sir David Attenborough

→ Read more short quotes

More Quotes & Captions

“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?”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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?” — Sir David Attenborough

“It seems to me that an understanding of the natural world is crucial for all of us — after all we depend upon it for our food, for the air we breathe and, some would say, for our very sanity.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“If working apart we are a force powerful to destabilize our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it… in my lifetime I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in a speech

“Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment.”
— Sir David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don’t know about and don’t understand. There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so… either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us.”
— Sir David Attenborough, in an interview

“Today we’re living in an era in which the biggest threat to human well-being, to other species and to the Earth as we know it might well be ourselves. The issue of population size is always controversial because it touches on the most personal decisions we make, but we ignore it at our peril.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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.” — Sir David Attenborough

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“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.” — Sir David Attenborough

Article Details

November 13, 2023 12:40 PM
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