An Open Letter David Attenborough: Exposing Overpopulation as the Causes Climate Change

Sir David Attenborough. Copyright BBC 2019.
  • this highly problematic video (2011) which includes the quotes ‘We now know the disasters that continue to inflict the natural world have one element that connects them all… The unprecedented increase in the number of humans beings on the planet.’, ‘It needs actions by governments. In my view, all countries should develop a population policy’, and finally a prompt for a room full of powerful people to also start pushing the overpopulation agenda.
  • this clip in you say ‘I have no doubt that the fundamental source of all our problems, particularly our environmental problems, is population growth. I can’t think of a single problem that would be easier to solve if there were less people.’
  • this recent interview (September 2020) in which you said “we’ve overrun it’, when talking about Earth.
  • this video by WWF, where you state ‘stabalise the human population as low as we fairly can’ whilst images of people of colour flash across the screen. WWF later deleted the video, and apologized for the overt racism.

Overpopulation and Climate Change.

Let’s be clear… Overpopulation ideologies that link or blame the demise of nature, biodiversity, and ecosystems on overpopulation have a name. It’s called Eco-Fascism.

Problems Contributing to Climate Change that aren’t Overpopulation, and How to Fix Them.

Anyone who cares about climate change needs to know that the following issues:

  • Capitalism and Wealth Disparity
  • Negligible Governments and Businesses
  • Fossil Fuels and Green House Gas Emissions
  • Industrial Agriculture
  • Dismantle Capitalism and Distribute Wealth
  • Accountability and Environmental Justice.
  • Divestment from Fossil Fuels, Investment in Renewable Energy
  • Regenerative Agriculture and Permaculture

Climate Issue: Capitalism and Wealth Disparity

David, I am sure you know that Capitalism is the driving economic platform for continual neverending growth. We all know that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible*, so why do economists and capitalists push consumption? The more we consume, the more we degrade the planet, so should we not be focusing on how to drastically reduce said consumption?

Climate Solution: Dismantle Capitalism and Distribute Wealth

In the first video linked above, you speak of the UK’s growing population, then switch the conversation to compare the birth rates of women in countries of the global south, some of which have readily available contraceptive health care, while others do not.

  1. Oppressive to women and marginalized people because they uphold patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, and heteronormativity.
  2. Extractive to the Earth’s resources in pursuit of profit.
  3. Enable a cycle of wealth disparity that makes the rich richer and poor poorer.

Climate Problem: Negligible Governments and Businesses

Despite 97% of climate scientists speaking so urgently to the issues we are currently and will continue to face, you would think that governments and businesses would buck up and start taking action. But no, unfortunately, David, the majority have sat idle and done the bare minimum. It’s only in the last few years that a select few banks, universities, and governments have taken action against climate change.

Climate Solution: Accountability and Environmental Justice

David, we need businesses that operate for social good first, instead of always chasing profits that make owners and investors richer. We need governments that operate with care for the most marginalized at the fore-front of policy. And we need those who make that policy to be held accountable, especially if the policy benefits themselves (or their rich friends, who incidentally own the businesses chasing profit), and not the most marginalized in society. Don’t you agree?

Climate Problem: Fossil Fuels and Green House Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted in the pursuit of fossil fuels and industrialization — whether its the over-farming of cattle, the fracking of gas, or the production of plastics, problematic gases are emitted.

  • Emissions rose by 60% between 1990 to 2015.
  • The increase in emissions from the richest 1% (those earning over $100,000 per year) was three times greater than the increase in emissions from the poorest half of the global population.
  • The richest 10% of the global population (those earning $35,000 per year) are responsible for 52% of global emissions over the 25-year period.

Climate Solution: Divestment from Fossil Fuels, Investment in Renewable Energy.

Money matters, there’s no doubt about it. Sustainable/ethical purchases are important, but so is sustainable and ethical investment. Not only does it matter where you move money, it also matters where you store it, where you save it, and where you invest it. It also matters where intuitions, such as banks, university’s, and even governments, put their money.

Climate Problem: Industrial Agriculture

Roughly, 24% of GHG emissions arise from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. The way we grow our food and extract from the land is highly disruptive, not just in terms of the atmosphere, but also to biodiversity.

Climate Solution: Regenerative Agriculture and Permaculture.

For a far more interesting overview of regenerative agriculture watch The Need to Grow and Kiss the Ground.



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Chelsea Webster

Chelsea Webster

Activist for joy. Writes to highlight how power systems steal your joy and how you can steal it back.