Natural historian David Attenborough has said the "one thing" everyone can do to help save the planet is "don't waste anything, don't waste electricity, don't waste food, don't waste power".

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning the broadcaster and naturalist said he had been warning about the environment for decades and "yet suddenly, in the last five years maybe, it's as though people have woken up, it's young people...  and not before time".

He continued: The "first time I had absolutely indubitable proof (of what is happening to the natural world) was back in the 60s.

"I swam in a coral reef in Australia and saw a damaged reef. It was a terrible sight...  like a cemetery."

Asked how manages not to feel despondent, he said: "I don't despair because what will you go and do?

"Just go and hide in the corner?

"Crying in the corner and forgetting it all and giving up? And If there's only a fragment of hope we have a responsibility to do something about it."

94-year-old Attenborough has become the fastest person to have one million followers on Instagram after he joined the platform to reach a young audience.

Asked about the scepticism from governments in the US and Brazil, he says: "We have to do what's in our power.

"We can't take that as an excuse for doing nothing... China is taking very big steps in many directions. China is moving in the right direction.

"The present administration in America, is, from a conservationist point-of-view, disastrous but... that's who's been elected and we have to go through it."

He added: "Every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food we eat, comes from the natural world ultimately, and if we damage it we damage ourselves."

If there is one thing everyone can do, it is "don't waste anything, don't waste electricity, don't waste food, don't waste power", he says.

"Just treat the natural world as though it's precious, which it is, and don't squander those bits of it that we have control of."

David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet will be released on Netflix next month