01/12/2011 07:58 GMT | Updated 30/01/2012 10:12 GMT

David Attenborough: People Out Of Touch With Nature

People in towns and cities are losing touch with the "realities of the natural world" which is in turn putting the future of the planet at risk, Sir David Attenborough has warned.

The veteran wildlife presenter said that due to rapid urbanisation over the past 60 years, a growing number of people are not regularly coming into contact with the natural world.

In an interview with Eureka magazine, published by The Times, he said: "We have a huge moral responsibility towards the rest of the planet. A hundred years ago people certainly had that...They were aware of the seasons and aware of what they were doing to the land and animals around them."

Sir David, whose Frozen Planet series ends on the BBC next week, said UN figures showed that due to rapid urbanisation since the 1950s, more than 50% of the world's population now live in towns and cities.

"So over 50% is to some degree out of touch with the natural world and don't even see an animal from one day to the next unless it's a rat or a pigeon," added the conservationist.

"That means that people are getting out of touch with the realities of the natural world, of which we are in fact a part."

Sir David's comments came ahead of this week's international climate negotiations in South Africa.