Sir David Attenborough, the legendary naturalist and narrator behind so many of our favorite documentaries, will soon use his powerful voice to address leaders at the Paris climate summit.
The 89-year-old will host a panel discussion on Dec. 6 to discuss how climate change is threatening the Great Barrier Reef. The 1,400-mile reef, the single largest living thing known to man, has been referred to by Attenborough as one of the most magical places on the planet. It's also the subject of his latest documentary, a three-part series set to air on the BBC at the end of this month.
In an interview with President Obama this past May, Attenborough explained both the threats and solutions to helping protect the Great Barrier Reef.
"The real problem on the reef is the global one, which is what is happening with the increase in acidification and the rise in the ocean temperature and the Australians have done research on coral now, and they know for sure it will kill coral," he said.
Attenborough added that a shift away from fossil fuels would go a long way to protecting sensitive coral from the devastating effects of acidification. "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," he told Obama. "If we do that, a huge step will be taken in solving the problems of the Earth."
Problems, solutions and the fragile wonder of the reef itself will likely dominant Sunday's panel in Paris. Joining Attenborough in the discussion will be Dr. Sylvia Earle, Director General of WWF-International Marco Lambertini, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland, and billionaire philanthropist and mogul Sir Richard Branson.
In a video published this morning, Branson explained why the health of the oceans is such a pressing issue for humanity and all life on Earth.
A special screening of "The Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough" will take place immediately following the panel. As for how he plans to celebrate his upcoming 90th year, Attenborough told RadioTimes it will be business as usual.
"Another film for BBC1 in the new year, which is about the biggest dinosaur yet discovered in Patagonia — a record-breaking dinosaur," he said. "It’s an astonishing thing to do and I’m very, very privileged and lucky to be able to get there and talk to the people who are discovering these things."