David Attenborough Meets Barack Obama

A candid meeting, discussing the future of the planet, passion for nature and what can be done to protect it

The former leader of the Western world wanted to meet Attenborough to talk to him about climate change, its effect on the environment, and to ask Attenborough his thoughts on the most critical issues threatening our planet.

Barak Obama has long been a huge admirer of Attenborough’s work, he grew up watching Attenborough’s films, and after 60 years exploring the globe Sir David Attenborough has witnessed the changing natural world first-hand. During this candid meeting, they discuss the future of the planet, their passion for nature and what can be done to protect it.

Viewers will witness a unique exchange between the two men; the former President talks about his initiatives for tackling climate change and addressing environmental issues, as well as his paternal roots in Africa and how his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia established an enduring love of the natural world.

David Attenborough relates tales from his long career, his recent record-breaking dive on the Great Barrier Reef and what he believes needs to be done about pressing issues such as the rising population, climate change, and renewable energy.


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During the interview, President Barack Obama says:

“I have been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time…you’ve been a great educator as well as a great naturalist.”

He adds, “We’re not moving as fast as we need to and part of what I know from watching your programs, and all the great work you’ve done, is that these ecosystems are all interconnected.   If just one country is doing the right thing but other countries are not then we’re not going to solve the problem, we’re going to have to have a global solution to this.”

“What we’re seeing are global trends that depend on the entire world working together, and sadly we haven’t made as much progress as we need to on climate change.”

David Attenborough says:

“On my 89th birthday it was to my considerable surprise to find myself in a place that I’ve never been to before…  to visit the White House with the President of the United States.  (He was) friendly, hospitable and genuine.”

“I believe that 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. If we do that, a huge step will be taken in solving the problems of the Earth.”

“I think what’s required is an understanding and a gut feeling that the natural world is part of your inheritance. This is the only planet we’ve got and we’ve got to protect it.  And people do feel that, deeply and instinctively, it is after all where you go in moments of celebration and in moments of grief.”


“As the US home to the BBC’s landmark natural history series, we are privileged and delighted to present this extraordinary conversation with President Obama and Sir Attenborough, one of the greatest naturalists of our time.”


“It is extraordinary to see these two charismatic individuals together, thoughtfully addressing some of the most important issues facing the planet. This intimate film which includes behind-the-scenes footage of President Obama and Attenborough at the White House, provides the context for their important debate. It includes previously unseen footage as well as some of the highlights from Attenborough’s greatest films – including Life on Earth, Blue Planet, and Galapagos.”



Anthony Geffen

Ruth Roberts

Olivia Colman

Supervising Producer
Mike Davis

Commissioning Editor for the BBC
Tom McDonald

Dominic Lester

Location Camera
Edward McGown


Assistant Producer
James Manisty

Production Manager
Naomi James

Special Projects Manager
Emily Finch

Director of Production
Ruth Sessions

Additional Editor
Andrea Cuadrado

Additional Script Editor
Patrick Makin

Archive Producer
Mike Lewis

Production Coordinator 
Oladunni Thomas

Production Team
Mimi Gilligan
Claudia Perkins
Barry Ronan
Alex Marlow

Original Music
Graham Hadfield


Production Accountant
Vincent Pretorius

Michael Sunderland
Philip Edkins

Dubbing Mixer 
Beth Newth
Daniel Taylor

Online Editor
Dan Preston-Bear
Ian Mander

AP Archive
Atlantic Productions
Colossus Productions
ITN Source
Rex Features
Video 77

With thanks to 
The White House