Environmentalist Slammed For Saying David Attenborough Has Done More Harm Than Good

Fair question or blasphemy?

A leading British environmental writer has penned a provocative column this week headlined "David Attenborough has betrayed the living world he loves".

The column comes in the very same week that Attenborough, 92, was named as Britain's most popular person.

Attenborough has filled countless viewers with awe over the years -- primarily because his documentaries focus on nature's wonder rather than species depletion and the degradation of the natural environment.

As he told The Observer this week ahead of the release of his new series Dynasties, too much focus on the bad news is a "turn-off" to viewers.

"These are not ecological programmes. They are not proselytising programmes. They are not alarmist programmes. What they are is a new form of wildlife film-making," Attenborough said.

But environmentalist and journalist George Monbiot opened his column by stating that by failing to portray the wider picture, Attenborough is "knowingly creating a false impression of the world".

"It is not proselytising or alarmist to tell us the raw truth about what is happening to the world, however much it might discomfit us," Monbiot wrote.

"Nor do I believe that revealing the marvels of nature automatically translates into environmental action, as the executive producer of Dynasties claims. I’ve come to believe it can have the opposite effect.

"For many years, wildlife film-making has presented a pristine living world. It has created an impression of security and abundance, even in places afflicted by cascading ecological collapse. The cameras reassure us that there are vast tracts of wilderness in which wildlife continues to thrive. They cultivate complacency, not action."

It's strong stuff, and Monbiot knew it.

An avalanche of feedback followed, some of it positive:

But most of it in strong disagreement.

Monbiot copped plenty too from the comments section of The Guardian where readers are normally much more receptive to his columns.

He replied with this.