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David Attenborough, British naturalist, writer and television pioneer

David Attenborough, or Sir David Frederick Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS (born on May 8, 1926 in London, England) is one of the world's best known broadcasters, humanists and naturalists. Widely considered one of the pioneers of the nature documentary, he has written and presented nine major series (with a tenth in production) surveying nearly every aspect of life on Earth. He is also a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC2 and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s.

David Attenborough's Leadership

As head of the BBC (British Broadcasting), he commissioned a number of nature related programs, believing that television should be as diverse as possible. He developed his own personal interest in nature by developing and hosting his own TV documentary series in a trilogy: Life on Earth, The Living Planet and The Trials of Life. These examine the world's organisms from the viewpoints of taxonomy, ecology and stages of life respectively.

David Attenborough as Author

In addition, he has written and presented more specialised surveys including Life in the Freezer (about life in and around Antarctica), The Private Life of Plants, The Life of Birds, The Life of Mammals and his most recent, Life in the Undergrowth, which concerned terrestrial invertebrates. Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives demonstrated his passion for discovering fossils, while in 2000, State of the Planet examined the environmental crisis that threatens the ecology of the Earth. He also narrated two other significant series: The Blue Planet (2001), and Planet Earth (2006). The latter is particularly notable as it comprises the first natural history programmes to be made entirely in high-definition format.

David Attenborough as Activist

Since the 1980s, Attenborough has become increasingly outspoken in support of environmental causes. In 2005 and 2006 he backed a BirdLife International project to stop the killing of albatross by longline fishing boats. He gave public support to WWF's campaign to have 22 million hectares of Borneo's rainforest designated a protected area. He also serves as a vice-president of Fauna and Flora International.

Attenborough has repeatedly said that he considers human overpopulation to be the root cause of many environmental problems. Both his series The Life of Mammals and the accompanying book end with a plea for humans to curb population growth so that other species will not be crowded out.

At the climax of the "Climate Chaos" documentaries, the naturalist gives this summing up of his findings:

"In the past, we didn't understand the effect of our actions. Unknowingly, we sowed the wind and now, literally, we are reaping the whirlwind. But we no longer have that excuse: now we do recognise the consequences of our behaviour. Now surely, we must act to reform it: individually and collectively; nationally and internationally — or we doom future generations to catastrophe."

David Attenborough as Example of Lifelong Learning

Into his 80s, Attenborough continued with his exploration of life and sharing his observations through his writings and visual presentations.

For a more complete biography of David Attenborough, check out wikipedia's articles on David Attenborough, famous naturalist.