Sir David Attenborough has a secret to repairing humanity’s relationship with nature. Sit quietly in the woods.
The 94 year old British naturalist (brother of Sir Richard Attenborough of Jurassic Park fame) told the Call of the Wild podcast,
“One of the simplest things that you should do if you get the chance, when you get the chance, is just naturally to stop.
Sit down. Don’t move. Keep quiet. Wait ten minutes. You’ll be very surprised if something pretty interesting didn’t happen within ten minutes.
The naturalist urges people to spend a few minutes silently contemplating the glories of the natural world.
The real time when it really is exciting to do that, is if you do it in a place where you don’t know at all. You go into a jungle in the middle of Costa Rica or something, and then you suddenly see extraordinary things that you really don’t know anything about.”
Doing that in a woodland, if you haven’t done it, is extraordinary. Don’t get too impatient either.
Speaking for myself, you’ll realize how ignorant you are, how you can’t actually recognize what that birdcall is, which you ought to be able to, I certainly ought to be able to do.
Mind you, I can’t hear either, my age, but, nonetheless, there are things to see and there are wonderful things to see and extraordinary things happen.”
Attenborough has filmed wildlife programs in all four corners of the Earth during his 60-year BBC career, and says the act of sitting quietly has opened his eyes to natural wonders.
“You’ll realize how ignorant you are, how you can’t actually recognize what that birdcall is, which you ought to be able to.”
“We depend on the natural world for interests, for everything that’s beautiful and wonderful. But also we depend on it for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food we eat. And if we damage the natural world, we are damaging ourselves. And we have been doing that without care for decades.”
No doubt we are destroying the planet but there are some grounds for optimism. Attenborough said the natural world had “fantastic abilities to regenerate”, pointing to the resurgence in whale numbers since international action was taken to restrict hunts.
“They got them to agree that they would stop whaling. And now there are more whales than have been in the sea for a century.”
(Photos, Trey Speegle, BBC; via Air Mail)