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David Attenborough Blamed For Epidemic Of Eco Anxiety Among Young People

Press Release, Global Warming Policy Forum

London, 27 January: A new video documenting Sir David Attenborough’s inaccurate claims about climate change and Arctic wildlife blames his apocalyptic language and misleading narrative for the dramatic rise in eco anxiety among young people.

The video published today by the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) and written by Dr. Susan Crockford, a Canadian wildlife expert, shows that increasing climate angst felt by many young people around the world started with Attenborough’s films that blamed starving polar bears on human-caused global warming.

The parents and teachers of these youngsters trusted Attenborough’s BBC productions to be accurate portrayals of the effects of climate change but that trust has been betrayed.

David Attenborough’s claims that ‘the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon’ have captured international media attention but it is now apparent he has failed to ensure that the scripts he reads for his Arctic documentaries and the messages they contain are true reflections of the natural world.

Misleading narratives about starving polar bears and fabricated stories of dying walrus, used to support an escalating message of doom about the Arctic, are not supported by facts,” Dr Crockford said.

Attenborough did not verify any facts contained in the scripts he was paid to narrate and passed along misinformation to naïve viewers, including many young children,” she added.

One of these children was Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who said she was shown images of starving polar bears in school when she was 8 or 9 years old. The timing and nature of the material suggests the film she saw was Attenborough’s ‘On Thin Ice’ documentary from the ‘Frozen Planet’ series released in 2011.

David Attenborough bears the brunt of responsibility for the recent epidemic of ‘eco-anxiety’ among children and young adults. Much of their misguidedly negative sense of how Arctic animals are fairing and their bleak outlook on the world come from the heart-wrenching but unverified stories found in Attenborough’s documentaries,”Dr Crockford said.

It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to reassure these worried youngsters that polar bears and walrus are not suffering because of sea ice loss blamed on climate change. Children need to be told the truth: that whatever scary stories some biologists come up with about what might happen in the future, Arctic species have demonstrated that they are much more resilient to changes in sea ice than Attenborough’s films suggest.

The GWPF is sending copies of this video to all head teachers of UK schools together with a letter, telling them that they are responsible for the mental health of their pupils and that they have a responsibility to provide their pupils with accurate information about the state of wildlife in the Arctic.

Notes for editors