Attenborough warns on population
The broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has become a patron of a group seeking to cut the growth in human population.
On joining the Optimum Population Trust, Sir David said growth in human numbers was “frightening”.
Sir David has been increasingly vocal about the need to reduce the number of people on Earth to protect wildlife.
The Trust, which accuses governments and green groups of observing a taboo on the topic, say they are delighted to have Sir David as a patron.
Sir David, one of the BBC’s longest-standing presenters, has been making documentaries on the natural world and conservation for more than half a century.
In a statement issued by the Optimum Population Trust he is quoted as saying: “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.”
The Trust, which was founded in 1991, campaigns for the UK population to decrease voluntarily by not less than 0.25% a year.
It has launched a “Stop at Two” online pledge to encourage couples to limit their family’s size.
Other patrons include Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, and Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall institute.
BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said population was a fraught area of debate, with libertarians and some religious groups vehemently opposing measures by governments to influence individual fertility.
In turn, the Trust accuses policy makers and environmentalists of conspiring in a “silent lie” that human numbers can grow forever with no ill-effects.
In January 2009, Sir David revealed that he had received hate mail from viewers for not crediting God in his nature programmes.
His most recent documentary focused on how Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution and why it remained important.
Hillary Clinton’s advisor thinks the Earth population ‘exceeds limits’
By Steven Duke
Earth population ‘exceeds limits’
There are already too many people living on Planet Earth, according to one of most influential science advisors in the US government.
Nina Fedoroff told the BBC One Planet programme that humans had exceeded the Earth’s “limits of sustainability”.
Dr Fedoroff has been the science and technology advisor to the US secretary of state since 2007, initially working with Condoleezza Rice.
Under the new Obama administration, she now advises Hillary Clinton.
“We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can’t support many more people,” Dr Fedoroff said, stressing the need for humans to become much better at managing “wild lands”, and in particular water supplies.
Pressed on whether she thought the world population was simply too high, Dr Fedoroff replied: “There are probably already too many people on the planet.”
In a wide ranging interview, Dr Fedoroff was asked if the US accepted its responsibility to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be driving human-induced climate change. “Yes, and going forward, we just have to be more realistic about our contribution and decrease it – and I think you’ll see that happening.”
And asked if America would sign up to legally binding targets on carbon emissions – something the world’s biggest economy has been reluctant to do in the past – the professor was equally clear. “I think we’ll have to do that eventually – and the sooner the better.”