Sir David Attenborough, now 97 years old, has been narrating documentaries about the natural world for almost 70 years. His earlier work focused on the wonders of the natural world, but over time he has become more and more vocal in support of environmental causes, particularly climate change and biodiversity loss.
In recent years, he has been narrating the Planet Earth series. In his latest episode, named “Human”, Sir David praised plant-based diets for being “so much more efficient.” This is the first time he has been quite so direct in pointing a finger at animal agriculture as the number one cause of deforestation.
“Currently the vast majority of agricultural land – more than 75 percent – is used to raise livestock and this is very inefficient” he told viewers. He noted that we “rear 70 billion farm animals each year and every one of them needs feeding.”
He added “ If we shift away from eating meat and diary and move towards a plant-based diet, then the sun’s energy goes directly into growing our food. And because that’s so much more efficient, we could still produce enough to feed us, but do so using a quarter of the land.” This space “could then be given back to nature” he said.
In 2020 he released a film named A Life on our Planet, in which he also spoke about the huge impact of meat. “We must change our diet. The true tragedy of our time is still unfolding – the loss of biodiversity” he said in the film. “Half of fertile land on Earth is now farmland, 70 percent of birds are domestic, the majority chickens. There’s little left for the world. We have completed destroyed it.”
Hopefully his strong words, coming from such a renowned figure, will have an impact on meat and dairy consumption across the world.