Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and naturalist, with a voice recognized by millions. In an interview from 2013, he used his well known voice to speak against the damage that people are causing to the planet. He said that we need to drastically limit our population growth, as we are currently acting like a plague upon the planet. I just found this interview now, and I think it needs more attention.
“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,” he told the Radio Times.
At a first glance, what he’s saying is outrageous. We’re not the bad guys… are we? The thing is, he is kinda right. We’re overusing our resources, destroying the environment, altering the climate… in a way, we pretty much fit the conditions for “plague”.
“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,” he says. “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 co-ordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.”
Sir David, who is a patron of the Population Matters, has spoken out before about the “frightening explosion in human numbers” and the need for investment in sex education and other ways of limiting human population – because no matter how efficient you get, you still have the problem of feeding and providing energy for 7 (soon to be 9) billion people.
So what do you think? Is Sir Attenborough out of line? Is he sadly right? Should we focus more on limiting population? What’s your though?