Biologist, natural historian and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has been awarded a "Champions of the Earth" Lifetime Achievement Award by the UN's Environment Programme (UNEP).
The award — the UN's highest environmental honor — is given to individuals, groups, and institutions that have made their mark in environmentalism. Attenborough, whose most recent efforts include the BBC's Green Planet, A Perfect Planet, and Apple TV's upcoming Prehistoric Planet was given the award for his "dedication to research, documentation, and advocacy for the protection of nature and its restoration".
Attenborough's career as a natural historian and broadcaster began in the 1950s. In recent years, he has become much more vocal in arguing for urgent action on the environment and the climate crisis, calling it "our greatest threat in thousands of years" in a speech to the UN.
Attenborough has devoted his life to documenting the love story between humans and nature, and broadcasting it to the world, Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said.
"If we stand a chance of averting climate and biodiversity breakdowns and cleaning up polluted ecosystems, it’s because millions of us fell in love with the planet that he showed us on television.
"Sir David’s work will continue to inspire people of all ages to care for nature and to become the restoration generation."
Accepting the award, Attenborough warned that the world needs to act together if we want to mitigate the climate crisis.
"The world has to get together. These problems cannot be solved by one nation – no matter how big that single nation is," he said in a statement seen by the BBC. "We know what the problems are and we know how to solve them. All we lack is unified action."
"Fifty years ago, whales were on the very edge of extinction worldwide. Then people got together and now there are more whales in the sea than any living human being has ever seen."
"If we act together, we can solve these problems."