Awarded for his 60 years of dedication to environmentalism and for his work on climate change and environmental emergencies.

Category: Special lifetime award

For more than 60 years, Sir David Attenborough has devoted himself to informing humanity about the beauty and fragility of the natural world. His countless stunning series and programmes, produced by the BBC, have inspired and educated three generations or more, opening a window onto the world that would otherwise have remained closed.

Sir Attenborough was banging the environmental drum long before it was fashionable to describe such action as “green”. His pioneering approach made ecology, once the province of bookish hobbyists, a subject of mainstream interest.

During the early years of his broadcasting career, Sir Attenborough typically assumed the role of admiring observer, describing what he saw and sharing in the viewer’s awe. But by the turn of the millennium, his authored documentaries adopted a more overtly environmentalist stance.

In State of the Planet (2000), he used the latest scientific evidence and interviews with leading scientists and conservationists to assess the impact of man’s activities on the natural world. He later turned to the issues of global warming in The Truth about Climate Change (2006) and human population growth in How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth? (2009).

He also contributed to a programme which highlighted the plight of endangered species to the BBC’s Saving Planet Earth project in 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Natural History Unit.

David Attenborough’s programmes are among the BBC’s bestselling international exports, ensuring that his message is heard by a global audience. His irresistibly down-to-earth style and indefatigable passion for life in all its guises have spanned generations, cultures and continents, sealing his place in history as a uniquely important environmental educator.