Attenborough: famines are the fault of 'plague of humans'

We must limit human population growth, says David Attenborough. 'It’s not an inhuman thing to say'

LAST UPDATED AT 14:10 ON Tue 22 Jan 2013

NATURALIST David Attenborough has described the human race as a "plague on the Earth" and warned that our actions "will come home to roost" over the next 50 years unless we limit population growth.
 
The veteran TV presenter told Radio Times that famines in Africa were caused by too many mouths to feed. "Too many people there," he said. "They can't support themselves - and it's not an inhuman thing to say."
 
He told the magazine: "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."
 
The 86-year-old has warned of the dangers of population growth in the past and is a patron of Population Matters, a charity that calls for "everyone to have a smaller family size". But according to The Times, this is "his starkest warning to date about the consequences for the natural world of allowing population to rise from seven billion now to a projected nine billion by 2050".
 
Attenborough’s views are not endorsed by everyone. Daily Telegraph blogger Harry Mount wrote: "If Attenborough visited a gorilla colony in Rwanda and saw the population growing, he'd be rightly delighted," adding that while humans could be "unpleasant" and "destructive", it was clear "we are the kings of the planet and we're in rude health".
 
American website National Review even accused the veteran BBC man of providing  a platform for genocide, and claimed: "Environmentalism is growing progressively anti human." However, the right-wing website rather undermined its credibility by mistakenly attributing Attenborough's comments to his film-director brother, Richard.
 
David Attenborough's groundbreaking wildlife series, starting with Life on Earth, first shown in 1979, will be broadcast on BBC2 from next week. A new show called Natural Curiosities start this week on the Eden Channel.
 
However, he believes presenters like him will soon become extinct. "I'm not sure there's any need for a new Attenborough, " he said. "The more you go on, the less you need people standing between you and the animal and the camera waving their arms about."
  · 

Disqus - noscript

Yet more Malthusian nonsense from David Attenborough - someone so clever and well-informed should know better. The Institute for Mechanical Engineers study only 10 days ago was widely reported in finding 30% - 50% of global food produced goes to waste. We produce more than enough food, with capacity going spare, to feed everyone.

Insufficient technology, ineffecient government and conflict are the problem - too say it's too many people and the world's poor are going to stop having children is a remarkably anti-human thing to say, completely disproved by the evidence.

Yes, thank you. David is willing to mention the PC elephant in the room. Increases in food technology like the petrochemical fertilizer "green" revolution in India simply produced another 500 Million people. And when peak resources hits, they'll just starve to death. But not before they eviscerate the environment.

Yes, we have spare capacity now... But a growing population needs somewhere to live so we will lose farmland as cities expand... So more food needed and less space to grow it... That excess capacity will disappear PDQ...

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.