Misanthrope David Attenborough says humans are a plague on Earth

David Attenborough, the BBC naturalist and patron of the eugenics group Population Matters, has described the human race as a plague on Earth, demanding that population controls be put in place.

“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.”

“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.”

Protect the Pope comment: Why is it that rich and privileged environmentalists such as David Attenborough, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, insist that the world’s poor should limit the size of their families rather than the world’s rich should tackle their waste of the world’s resources, such as the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted around the world each year? Is it that forcing condoms and pills on the poor is much easier than getting the rich and privileged to change our self-indulgent life styles?


41 comments to Misanthrope David Attenborough says humans are a plague on Earth

  • Karla

    David Attenbrough, Prince Charles and Philip – why don’t you lead the way? Give up your cars, your luxurious lifestyles, your electricity, your frequent plane journeys? This all contributes to ‘climate change,’ correct?

    Population control advocates are total hypocrites. They do not live by what they preach.

    If the world was overpopulaiton, why could in 2003, the entire population, which was then

    There is plenty of space, in 2003, the planet’s entire population was 6,310,549,064, and that entire population could fit in to Arkansas, 1 American state

    Overpopulation is a myth. United Nations say the population will decline in 2050 when it hits 9.2 billion:


    ‘in more than seventy-five countries around the globe, fertility is well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per women, which is needed to sustain the workforce at its current levels’


    • Haslam

      Population is clearly linked to poverty. Whenever a country becomes richer, its rate of population growth declines. No country has ever managed to break that link. The population alarmists should focus on development of poor countries. You make people richer and less likely to die young and the overpopulation problem will solve itself in due course (although be prepared to wait, we are afterall a long-lived species). I dispute the argument that better off countries need to reduce their standard of living to compensate for the higher birth rates of the poor, what needs to happen is that poorer countries need to be enabled to match our standard of living (and given a fair shot at it they undoubtedly will being just as intelligent as we are). I wouldn’t fret about declinign birth rates in some countries either. The world managed just fine when there were 5 billion of us on its surface and we could cope again with that level of population. The only issue here is the pace of change so that population decines are not too sudden but ecven tat can and is mittigated by migration.

      • Spesalvi23

        Yeah, Sure. Pink Glases syndrom here?
        Are you naive enough to believe that the green elite is interested in creating sustainable growth and stability in the third world?
        We can’t even deal with our own problems in Europe!
        Sure it’s easy to force contraception and western ‘values’ on those ‘primitive’
        It’s also easy to connect further monetary aid to the acceptance of those values.
        That’s just sick!

        Low birth rates don’t present a problem?
        Industry in Germany is desperate for workers.
        Not only for engineers, but for regular, blue collar, but qualified assembly workers.
        Feel free to apply – in any sector! I’m working in machinery industry and its really hard finding adequate people.

        Infustry is willing to pay decent wages and will grant a secure job.
        Weather and mentality differences are not stopping young, intelligent people from Southern Europe to apply.
        They are filling vacant positions here, but at the same time, they’re draining their own country.
        A country which looses its young intelligence is bound for trouble.
        Nationalism is on the rise. North and south of the alps.

      • ms Catholic state

        Actually Haslam….ageing populations (ie those with legalised abortion and contraceptive use) are responsible for poverty. Haven’t you heard our ageing population will have to work until 70, and free third level education is a thing of the past.

        No doubt about it….ageing societies bring poverty. Young populous societies bring wealth and development.

      • Lynda

        Countries that have become prosperous have done so because of population growth, strong, big families and organic communities. Contraception and abortion causes societies to go into moral, social and economic decline. I recommend watching Demographic Winter films for the demographic facts.

    • Elyssa DiRienzo

      Space and counting heads is meaningless when resources are involved.

  • Bob Hayes

    It all rather smacks of neo-colonialism, but instead of military force being used to coerce people in developing countries it is Western ‘experts’ who seek to impose their will. As you rightly point out Deacon Nick, Attenborough’s comments utterly fail to address the profligacy and greed on the world’s wealthy. Less still are these liberal individualists willing to promote the notion of a just sharing of resources amongst all God’s people.

    • Haslam

      You seem to think that the generation of wealth, comfort etc is a zero-sum-game. If one set of people are rich then that means that another set of people will neccessarily be poor. Ask any economist and they will tell you that that is not how it works. If the world was run better we could raise the standard of living for everyone.

      • Bob Hayes

        ‘You seem to think that the generation of wealth, comfort etc is a zero-sum-game. If one set of people are rich then that means that another set of people will neccessarily [sic] be poor.’ My post did not say or intimate that in any way. Ii is the profligacy and greed of the world’s wealthy (with exceptions) that obstructs the better use of resources. By the way, whatever its pretensions, economics is not a natural science. Economists will deliver whatever ‘economic models’ their clients (states, quangos, political parties, charities etc.) desire.

  • John Dare

    Is there a transcript of the whole programme?

  • One could be easily forgiven for imagining that the rich really don’t like the rest of us!

  • Pravin Thevathasan

    We might call this false philosophy ” Extinctionism.” Peter Singer is an extinctionist. So are many in the Green Movement.

  • Gurn

    A rich man who uses 5 minutes worth of fuel on his super-yacht (such as Bill Gates during London Olympics) uses more fuel than the average Kenyan would in his entire lifetime. Heathrow airport itself produces more emissions than the whole of Kenya each year. Capitalism, consumption along with corporate indifference in the west is what is wrecking the environment.

    Then these rich pricks such as Bill Gates have the audacity to turn to poor nations throw condoms at them while telling them to stop breeding because they are wrecking the environment! Just shifting the blame if you ask me. Matthew 19:24 “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” Who says Catholics can’t be left wing.

    • Haslam

      And as rich pricks go, you could do a lot worse then Bill Gates. He will have given away billions of dollars to those in need before be dies. He has given away $28 billion so far and plans to give away at least 95% of his wealth which might be another 50 to 100 billion. The man appears fully aware of his responsibilty to help poor nations and has raised the standard of living for millions of people in the developing world already. He sets more of a good example than a bad one

    • John Dare

      Do I detect a liberalisation of the ‘no rude words’ rule Nick?

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Karla: Thanks for drawing our attention to this case. One can see how it is all developing and how in the future anyone who discriminates between same-sex marriage and traditional marriage will be in trouble.

  • John Dare

    Is there a chance that judgeement could be based on the judges reading all (rather than the graphs very edited bit) of the programme?

  • Mike2

    Attenborough has lots of pals saying much the same thing over many years.

    Population and Poverty
    In the mid 1970s the US government sponsored a travelling exhibit for schoolchildren titled, “Population: The Problem is Us.” (Jacqueline Kasun, The War Against Population, San Francisco: CA, Ignatius, 1988, p. 21.)
    In 1973, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s vote in Roe v. Wade was influenced by this idea, according to Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong: “As Stewart saw it, abortion was becoming one reasonable solution to population control” (quoted in Newsweek of September 14, 1987, p. 33.).
    In 1989, when the US Supreme Court was hearing the Webster case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor brought the idea of overpopulation into a hypothetical question she asked of Charles Fried, former solicitor-general, “Do you think that the state has the right to, if in a future century we had a serious overpopulation problem, has a right to require women to have abortions after so many children?”
    World Bank president Barber Conable calls for population control because “poverty and rapid population growth reinforce each other” (Washington Post, July 16, 1990, p. A13)
    Prince Philip advises us that “It must be obvious by now that further population growth in any country is undesirable” (Washington Post, May 8, 1990, p. A26)
    37 Senators wrote President Bush in support of funding for population control (Washington Post, April 1, 1990, p. H1)
    The Trilateral Commission and the American Assembly call for reduction in population growth (U. S. News and World Report, May 7, 1990)
    Newsweek’s year-ending cover story concluded that “Foremost of the new realities is the world’s population problem” (December 25, 1990, p.44)
    The president of NOW warns that continued population growth would be a “catastrophe” (Nat Hentoff in the Washington Post, July 29, 1989, p. A17)
    Ted Turner (Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wed. Dec. 2, 1998) in an address to the Society of Environmental Journalists in Chattanooga – blamed Christianity for overpopulation and environmental degradation, and argued that the people who disagree with him are “dummies.” He stated in part, “The Judeo-Christian religion says man was given dominion over everything, and his salvation was that he was to go out and increase and multiply. Well, we have done that … to the point where in Calcutta, it’s a hellhole. So it’s not an environmentally friendly religion.”
    Ellen Goodman laments “People Pollution” (Washington Post, March 3, 1990, p. A25)
    Herblock cartoon shows that the U. S. neglecting the “world population explosion” (Washington Post, July 19, 1990, p. A22)
    Hobart Rowen likens population growth to “the pond weed [which] grows in huge leaps” (Washington Post, April 1, 1990, p. H8).
    A Newsweek “My Turn” suggests giving every teen-age girl a check for up to $1200 each year that she does not have a baby “in order to stop the relentless increase of humanity” (Noel Perrin. “A Nonbearing Account”, April 2, 1990, p. 9).
    Source: http://www.terry.uga.edu/~mustard/courses/e2200/pop.htm

  • Rifleman819

    If one stated that we would instantly commence the eugenics programme starting with you, Attenborough, followed by you Dawkins , you Stopes,the Gates’s, Mr Hitchens(oops-problem solved)…together with your families and all their dromaderies……….all the condescending pagan elites whose blinkered awfulness is only outshone by their arrogance might suddenly pause and think a bit.
    The inhabitants of comfy north Oxford villas have grown used to rules whereby they can dictate to poor villagers in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Except that the sands of time in their hour glasses are fast draining and judgement awaits.

    • Haslam

      David and Jane Attenborough voluntarily choose to have two children. David is now simply asking that other couples on this planet be given the choice to voluntarily do that same as they did if they wish. I don’t see the hypocracy there.

  • These people will not be complaining for very long given 17% of countries already have falling populations. And those with a population growth around +0.5% like the UK and the West in general will soon find themselves in the case when the babyboom generation has disappeared. (http://thebreadoflifeblog.com/2013/01/09/overpopulation-is-a-very-old-myth-part-1/#more-436)

  • comtedefrebonius

    This morning, BBC Radio Ulster carried a piece about young Spanish heading to Cologne in the search for work and one of the memebers of the Cologne Business Faculty stated that we need young workers since we are “running out of such people.” Does that not state a truth with which The Servant of God, Pope Paul VI warned us about in 1968? They may al;ways try and hid it, but the truth has different ideas!

  • The ghost of Malthus refuses to be laid to rest. You ask why Attenborough and members of the Royal Society?

    Here’s the answer:


  • Amanda Peter

    David Attenborough and all the smug privileged people who have no consideration of the higher laws of God run the risk of finishing in hell for their contempt of our loving God. They think they know it all. They think they have all the right answers as if if they owe no accountability to God. What hubris !!!! To David Attenborough if you read this blog please ask God forgiveness and Mercy for your sins while you still have time.

  • Haslam

    Attenborough is not religious…

    “I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature. To which I reply and say, “Well, it’s funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the Almighty, always quote beautiful things. They always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses.” But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he’s five years old. And I reply and say, “Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well,” and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action. And therefore it seems to me safer to show things that I know to be truth, truthful and factual, and allow people to make up their own minds about the moralities of this thing, or indeed the theology of this thing.

  • John Dare

    I know that this may come across as a bit obsessive, but has anyone who’s commented so far actually watched the whole programme, or read the transcript of the whole programme?

  • Mark Thorne

    If I were being a cynic, I would say that the Western World looks at the developing countries in Africa and South America, then looks at its own countries with their declining influence, wasted industries, ageing populations, pitifully low birth rates, loss of productivity etc. and says, “If we can suppress these countries by reducing these populations and make it look as if it’s all to their benefit, things will work out better for us in the long run”. People on this planet should always be assessed for their potential, not seen as a problem that needs to be rectified.

    Deacon Nick, I hope you don’t mind a “plug” on this post for the Catholic Truth Society, but anyone interested in this issue ought to read a copy of the CTS booklet entitled “Population and the Planet” by Dermot Grenham. It offers very clearly and succinctly the alternative human ecological approach to the challenges set by of a rising global population, and is a welcome antidote to misanthropes and die-hard Malthusians like Sir David Attenborough. Sadly, too many Catholics buy into the secular worldview and fail to see what lies beneath the surface.

    • Haslam

      I think you might have fallen into your own trap of over-estimating the influence that the Western World has on the developing world. Look at China, Brazil and India and their remarkable achievements and you see countries which have largely pulled themselved up by their own bootlaces. The only real influence that the west has had on those countries in recent years has been buying their stuff. Developing countries are more than capable of doing what they want. They are perfectly capable of ignoring Malthusians and religious attempts to influence them. They are not helpless playthings of anyone.

      • Mark Thorne

        Your rebuttal makes some fair points.

        • Mark Thorne

          ….However, India and China are going to undergo demographic transitions in the not-too-distant future far more drastic than anything the countries in the occidental world have experienced before. There are plenty of countries not on a par with the likes of Brazil, China and India who are dependent on Western aid, but for them this often comes with “strings attached”.

      • Christopher

        Then they’re doing a terrible job of ignoring them, as China is seeing a huge influx in Catholic growth, same with South Korea. One also needs to look at how Western pop-culture is also developing in the East, Japan is a clear statement of this. African nations being pressed into accepting abortions or funds being cut. The Western World is definetly making it’s presence known in the East, and in all their efforts to ignore this influences, they’re doing a terrible job.

        God Bless.

  • Dalma

    This antisocial article, propagated by the pseudo rich and so called Royals is pathetic, discriminate, and adolescent. Of course, if you were supported by the Commonwealth and the Bank of England, or like Attenborough by Big Business and Sporting sponsors with much to gain from the publicity and paltry hoo-hah, the oratory might carry much weight, but it doesn’t. Clearly, people who sponge on others, and then become critics of Socialism, have got their priorities askew ! For that matter, Historians will tell you King Henry XVIII was the greatest womanizer afloat, and it didn’t matter who he seduced, raped or digitally penetrated – because he was King and impervious to the Statute Law ? Besides his outrageous bedroom antics, he created his Country’s bullion to pay for his Wars with France & Spain, and created the Royal Navy in the process. He sent discarded wives to the Tower & beheading. Is it any wonder, the wealthy prefer to maintain their position at the expense of the masses.
    Follow Bill Gates, and donate in Africa, India, China with more condoms to cull the indiscriminate population growth or follow modern Medical advice today, and opt for an abortion ( pro choice )on NHS for free. The ” final solution ” – Au switch, might even appeal to some.

  • John Dare

    Would I be right in thinking that no-one has seen the whole programme?

  • John Dare

    Just in case anyone is wondering why I persist in asking if they’ve seen the whole show, the reason is this. We have a soundbite, from a paper read by ‘the people who think they own the country’, and this has been siezed on by lots of you to defame Mr A and exhibit various ongoing hobby horses. There seems to have been no attempt to think, shall I look at the whole thimg in context and give a considered response.

    All of which contasts strongly with the measured way in which Nick is considering the question I asked last Thursday.http://protectthepope.com/?p=6461

    • Spesalvi23

      Personally, I don’t give a **** about members of British royalty.
      Even though Prince Albert was a local boy. :)

      The problem people are having is not specifically linked to whatever was uttered by Mr. A or not.
      It’s a general problem with smug, arrogant, rich, privileged types who are abusing their influence in society by preaching environmental and humanitarian doom to the gullible.
      Honestly, I’d ignore him and his like and the stupidity they spout.
      It’s a waste of time getting worked up about it.

  • John Dare

    I think we agree then spes, but for different reasons. A lot of people don’t like their world and want to rant about it, but would very much prefer a scapegoat as a focus for that rant.

    I bet Jesus wouldn’t be catholic enough for some.

  • ajs

    Wow, I knew people like some of the posters here existed, but wow, how blinkered!

    The amount of tripe spouted from what are perfectly reasonable and reasoned comments astounds me.

    “We are a plague on the Earth”: We are, it’s unquestionable, there are simply too many of us. Forget rich or poor, black or white, there are simply too many of us for a finite amount of resources to continue supporting us for an extended period of time. Fact. Unless something is done about it.

    “It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde”: Seriously, you people are doubting this? I’ve been saying it for years. Look beyond YOUR lifetime. Sure, there is space for a few more yet, but don’t forget that food needs to be grown and water needs to be stored. Cutting down jungle to make space isn’t going to work, we need what little we have of it left. You can’t keep putting houses on land – you need land for food too – where do you think food comes from?

    “Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.” Did you miss this bit or what? Seems to me that he is saying that we have to work as a global community to sort this out, not be so insular, work together, everyone do their bit. And he’s right.

    And as for the editors comments:

    “Why is it that rich and privileged environmentalists such as David Attenborough, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, insist that the world’s poor should limit the size of their families rather than the world’s rich should tackle their waste of the world’s resources”: Really? That is what you got from that? Really? Then there is no hope for this world then is there if all you can do is to spout bile. I refer you to the paragraph above.

    I don’t disagree that there is a huge amount of waste and it disgusts me. Bet you’re one of those people that throw stuff out just because it’s gone out of date though? Ever thought about tasting and smelling things to see if they are alright to eat? I digress, so what he is actually alluding to is that the west needs to sort the waste problem and the poor countries need to control population and both need to do a bit of each.

    “Is it that forcing condoms and pills on the poor is much easier than getting the rich and privileged to change our self-indulgent life styles?”: No, that is not what was said. I refer you to the paragraph above.

    Of course, until the pope actually wakes up and gets some sense the population problem in poorer countries is never going to be resolved. With a single wave of his hand, the pope could lift millions of people out of poverty and hunger by just allowing contraception as so many of these poor deluded people hang on his every word.

    I guess you were too busy complaining that some of these people have done quite well for themselves (and you find this objectionable) to actually read, understand and comprehend what was said.

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