Sir David Attenborough turned 90 just over a week ago and bar his pacemaker, fitted in 2013, he is still in excellent health. Sir David, with more letters beside his name than Rachel Riley has behind her on Countdown. He is a OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FLS, FZS and FSA as well as having the most degrees of any person to have ever lived with a grand total of 31. To me he has always been an inspiration; the epitome of a television extraordinaire, naturalist and genius. Sir David is the only person to have won a BAFTA for shows created in black and white, colour, HD and 3D. To me this emphasise the true genius of the man, in that he captured the worlds imagination in such a way that over 60 years on he still has them.
I have a long standing interest in fossils and palaeontology so when Sir David did a series on fossils and evolution called “first life” I became hooked. His captivating dialogue of exploration and his personal interest drew me in and made me even more fascinated with the topic. His lulling voice and intriguing tone is well known and obvious for all to hear but I feel his infectious genuine fascination about what he is discussing is what really makes him such a success.
He is no doubt a star in the naturalist community, having discovered species of plants and animals and had numerous named after him, but many do not recognise his considerable efforts on behalf of the environment and his outspoken views in favour of gender equality. His environmental efforts have been so great that he even secured an appointment to discuss with President Obama personally, the environment.
It seems David Attenborough has changed with the times in his approach to conservation – considering Zoo Quest (his first hit TV series) was based around capturing animals in the wild and shipping them off to London zoo. He now speaks actively in favour of conservation of wildlife and the importance of preserving animal habitats.
Despite, through his extensive and unparalleled television career, accumulating a net worth of approximately $35 million I feel that he is not a man driven by money, especially since it has been reported that on BBC paid trips he refused business class, unless his crew were also travelling in it, until he was 75. Attenborough is driven by knowledge and exploration. When he became the oldest man to visit the North Pole at 84 he displayed what that kind of drive could do. At 84 most are sitting at home going the odd walk to the shop, or are in a care home but Attenborough is at the North Pole.
Not only do I admire and appreciate Sir David’s astounding life and works, but I am also profoundly jealous of them. He has seen the Himalayas from 11000 feet above them, he has explored rainforests across the world on countless occasions, he has seen the magic of: bioluminescence, blue whales, mountain gorillas and much much more. In addition to all of this he has a stunning fossil collection and an elephant bird egg that I would really love to get my hand on.
So to sum up: Sir David Attenborough has, and no doubt will continue to fulfil the mantra by which I try to live my life and I use to head up my Blog: “Live as though you will die tomorrow, learn as though you will live for ever”