Radio 4 listeners praise Greta Thunberg’s ‘touching’ David Attenborough interview

The climate change activist guest edited an episode of the BBC's current affairs show

Schoo climate change activist Greta Thunberg joins David Attenborough for new documentary Climate Change: The Facts (Getty/BBC)

Listeners have praised Greta Thunberg’s interview with prolific natural historian David Attenborough, which took place on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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The 16-year-old activist was one of five people to guest edit the flagship current affairs show during the Christmas break, centring her episode on leading climate change figures.

During a discussion chaired by Today’s regular host Mishal Hussain, Thunberg spoke to Attenborough (via webcam), who praised her work in raising awareness.

He said: “She’s achieved things that many of us who have been working on it for 20 odd years have failed to achieve. That is you have aroused the world. I’m very grateful to you.”

Thunberg also felt huge admiration for Attenborough and attributed his decades-long career as a source of inspiration for her.

She said: “I think everyone is grateful for you for taking on the climate crisis and on the environmental crisis. I hope you understand how much difference you have made and that we are all very thankful for that.”

She continued: “When I was younger, documentaries about the natural world and what was happening, what was going on, that was what made me decide to do something about it.”

The former Foreign Minister of Thunberg’s native Sweden, Jan Eliasson, described the interview as “touching” and other Twitter users agreed.

Attenborough’s main piece of advice to Thunberg was to explore ways of ensuring her message continues to receive the same historic levels of attention that it has enjoyed lately.

He said: “It’s very difficult to know when you get that sort of degree of pressure, how long can you sustain it? How long can you go on saying the same thing with the same impact? And of course you can’t.”

He added: “You can’t expect that to happen, to continue for a month or six months or a year, unless you introduce some new element in everything, and that’s one of the problems that those of us concerned with awakening the world have to deal with.”

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Radio 4’s Today programme airs every weekday from 6am, while Thunberg’s episode is now available on iPlayer.