David Attenborough receives Lifetime Achievement Award

When Sir David Attenborough was a boy, he spent much of his free time bounding through abandoned quarries in the English countryside, hammer in hand. His prey: fossilized ammonites, spiral-shaped mollusks that lived in the time of the dinosaurs.

To a young Attenborough, the fossils were like buried treasures and he was amazed to be the first to set eyes on them in tens of millions of years. 

The natural world would keep him enthralled for the rest of his life.

Today, Attenborough, 95, is arguably the world’s best-known natural history broadcaster. During a career that began with the dawn of television, he has penned and presented some of the most influential documentaries on the state of the planet, including his decade-spanning, nine-part Life series.

With what the New York Times called his “voice-of-God-narration” and an insatiable curiosity, he has spent 70 years revealing the beauty of the natural world – and laying bare the threats it faces.

Along the way, he has offered hundreds of millions of viewers a vision for a more sustainable future.

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The United Nations has recognized Attenborough’s outsized impact on the global environmental movement, presenting him with the UN Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is the UN’s highest environmental honour and celebrates those who have dedicated their lives to tackling crises like climate change, species loss and pollution.

“You have been an extraordinary inspiration for so many people,” said Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as she presented Attenborough with the award.

“You spoke for the planet long before anyone else did and you continue to hold our feet to the fire.”

Along with his work in the media, Attenborough is one of the leading voices of the global environmental movement.