BBC America this Sunday will air a conversation between President Barack Obama and Sir David Attenborough, the beloved natural history producer and iconic voice of Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Frozen Planet. They spoke at the White House in May, on the occasion of Attenborough's 89th birthday, and climate change and protecting the planet were on the president's mind, the network said.
Obama interviews Attenborough in their meeting. The special will broadcast on BBC America at 5:30 p.m. ET – simultaneously with the BBC One broadcast in the UK. BBC America will air an extended version at 8 p.m. ET and make it available on BBCAmerica.com at 9 p.m. ET.
According to the BBC, "the leader of the Western world wanted to meet Attenborough to talk to him about climate change, its effect on the environment, and to ask Attenborough his thoughts on the most critical issues threatening our planet. The President has long been a huge admirer of Attenborough’s work. He grew up watching Attenborough’s films, and after 60 years exploring the globe Sir David has witnessed the changing natural world first-hand."
Obama talks about "his initiatives for tackling climate change and addressing environmental issues, as well as his paternal roots in Africa and how his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia established an enduring love of the natural world. David Attenborough relates tales from his long career, his recent record-breaking dive on the Great Barrier Reef and what he believes needs to be done about pressing issues such as the rising population, climate change and renewable energy," the programmer said in a release.
During the interview, President Obama says:
“I have been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time…you’ve been a great educator as well as a great naturalist.”
“We’re not moving as fast as we need to and part of what I know from watching your programs, and all the great work you’ve done, is that these ecosystems are all interconnected. If just one country is doing the right thing but other countries are not then we’re not going to solve the problem, we’re going to have to have a global solution to this.”
"What we’re seeing are global trends that depend on the entire world working together, and sadly we haven’t made as much progress as we need to on climate change.”
David Attenborough says:
“On my 89th birthday it was to my considerable surprise to find myself in a place that I’ve never been to before... to visit the White House with the President of the United States. (He was) friendly, hospitable and genuine.”
“I believe that if we find ways of generating and storing power from renewable resources, we will make the problem with oil and coal disappear – because economically, we’ll wish to use these other methods. If we do that, a huge step will be taken in solving the problems of the Earth.”
“I think what’s required is an understanding and a gut feeling that the natural world is part of your inheritance. This is the only planet we’ve got and we’ve got to protect it. And people do feel that, deeply and instinctively, it is after all where you go in moments of celebration and in moments of grief.”
Commissioned by Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, and Tom McDonald, Head of Natural History and Specialist Factual Formats, the program producer for Atlantic Productions is Anthony Geffen.