6:17:50 PM

Humanity is a “plague”: Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has taken a break from narrating nature films and has gone back to a very old canard. He recently told the Radio Times in the UK that humans are a “plague on the Earth”. Tell us what you really think Sir David. The full quotation is:

“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”

Now, Attenborough is a patron of the Optimum Population Trust according to the Telegraph. This Trust is now known as Population Matters, perhaps because the Trust couldn’t decide what our “optimum” population should be.  As patron, Attenborough has talked about in the past the “frightening explosion in human numbers” which somewhat contradicts his claim that the natural world is limiting our population growth.  But according to Attenborough we are outstripping our resources, and we can see this in the case of Ethiopia:

“We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and it’s not an inhuman thing to say. It’s the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.”

We’ve debated this argument before on this blog – we are not running out of food. Our famines are not due to there being too many of us, but due to wastage and politics and war. (As we should remember, the world was much more hungry and famine much more common in the past when the human population was much lower.) We are able to feed more people on the same amount of land due to our technological advances (see for example, here and here) and those technological advances are driven by people of course. Humans are not only consumers, but we are also producers and a resource! We have to keep remembering that. 

On a somewhat different tack, Tom Chivers in the Telegraph has also disagreed with Sir David, which apparently “feels like slapping your grandfather in the face.” Chivers argues that population growth is in fact slowing down anyway and that there is no need to force the issue:

“…the most likely outcome at the moment is that the world population will peak some time around 2050 and at a population between eight and 10 billion. Obviously that's more than we have now, but not so many more that we couldn't feed everyone.”

It’s a shame when such respected persons like Sir David Attenborough stoop to scare-mongering and inflamed rhetoric like calling humanity a “plague”. Perhaps Attenborough has let the mask slip however. Do his comments show the innately anti-human mindset of those seeking to limiting our population? In opposition to Attenborough I would like to say that humanity is not a “plague”. Instead, it is a collection of over 7 billiion individuals. Each one of those individuals has his or her hopes, fears, dreams, loves and each is more valuable than we can possibly imagine. And that is not excepting Sir David. 

to make a comment, click here

about this blog | Bookmark and Share

Search this blog

 Subscribe to Demography is Destiny
rss RSS feed of posts

 Recent Posts
Are we ready for the “grey tsunami”?
22 Apr 2014
Iran leads Muslim countries in fertility decline
20 Apr 2014
Russia: Growing and More Assertive
14 Apr 2014
Japan’s Shrinking Role in the World
8 Apr 2014
Why you shouldn’t take alarmist population predictions seriously
6 Apr 2014

 MercatorNet blogs
Style and culture: Tiger Print
Family social policy: Family Edge
US political scene: Sheila Liaugminas
News about bioethics: BioEdge
From the editors: Conniptions

Apr 2014 | Mar 2014 | Feb 2014 | Jan 2014 | more >>

 From MercatorNet's home page

Could we choose to dialogue?
17 Apr 2014
"Anti-choice", "pro-abortion" -- let's stop the name calling and talk about principles.

Disparate bedfellows: same-sex marriage and human rights
17 Apr 2014
The claim that same-sex marriage is a basic human right finds no support in international human rights declarations.

Philippines population control law gets judicial green light
16 Apr 2014
A so-called reproductive health law is “not unconstitutional” says the Supreme Court. But the new contraceptive era could easily become…

Do you want CNN or ESPN with that burger?
15 Apr 2014
Why can't I talk with you in a restaurant? Why do I have to talk to the TV?

3 reasons not to trust the new climate report
15 Apr 2014
The latest report on climate change needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Norman Borlaug, Population Association of America, Gender-ratio, Education, disease, Middle East, Africa, Gender Imbalance, Mothers, Orthodox Church, Fertility Rate, Poland, Uzbekistan, Islam, human trafficking, mobile phones, New Zealand, Rugby, births, ramadan, elections, Retirement, global hunger, infant mortality, population increase, development, urban population, Minority Groups, family planning, population change, Switzerland, saving, Happiness, Manny Pacquiao, antibiotics, Singapore, Lithuania, Europe, tourism, Britain, UNFPA, India, Gompertz law, Guardian, Vladimir Putin, Latvia, workforce, wife-sharing, pi, debt, wages, fertility, sex selective abortion, Intelligence, Sir David Attenborough, Population Research Institute, mothers, World Bank, status of women, stock market, Japan earthquake, Replacement Rate, propaganda, Brad Wilcox, Chen Guangcheng, one-child policy, climate change, Catholic Church, pollution, city life, Birth Defects, subsidy, Overpopulation, Urbanisation, skills shortage, deaths, Maternity Care, healthcare, Copenhagen, census, IVF, career, one child policy, Down syndrome, integration, birth rates, recession, volunteering, Muslims, Burma, baby, UCL, baby boomers, Ehrlich, Detroit, Population reduction, aging, lifestyle, poverty, pension, Denmark,
Follow MercatorNet
Sections and Blogs
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
New Media Foundation
Suite 212
75 Archer Street
Chatswood NSW 2067

+61 2 9007 1187

© New Media Foundation 2014 | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston