The message from 'The People's Seat' at the United Nation's COP24 climate summit in Katowice, Poland on Monday—presented by the octogenarian British naturalist Sir David Attenborough—was as succinct and simple as it was profound and terrifying: "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."
Attenborough, most recently known for his work on the BBC's 'Planet Earth' documentary series, was chosen to deliver a speech on behalf of the 'People's Seat,' and the effort was backed from people from across the world who shared in a video compilation about just how urgent and perilous the current moment in human history has become.
"The world's people have spoken," Attenborough told the crowd, which included leaders and diplomats from around the world. "Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision makers, to act now. They're behind you, along with civil society represented here today."
He explained that while the people of the world have suffered and continue to suffer from the impacts of human-caused global warming, it is the people who have shown they are ready to make the necessary sacrifices and take bold action. Now elected leaders, governments, and powerful interests must do the same.
"The people have spoken," Attenborough concluded. "Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilization and the natural world on which we depend, is in your hands."
Collected using the #TakeYourSeat hashtag, millions of people from around the world were invited to share their stories about climate change and the impact it has had on them, their families, their health, and their communities.
As a result, the following video was also presented to the UN on Monday:
"It's not your future to sell," says one teenager at the video's end, "So please don't sell it."