David Attenborough Deserves Our Adoration. His Future Deserves Our Antipathy

Markus Spiske (Unsplash)

“I am 93.” He says. “This film is my witness statement.”

“Then there were 3 billion people on Earth. Now there are almost 7 billion — all needing space.”

“The planet cannot support billions of large meat eaters — there simply isn’t space.”

“There have been prophets who’ve warned about this impending disaster of course; one of the first was Thomas Malthus. His most important book, An Essay on the Principle of Population, was published over 200 years ago, in 1798. In it, he argued that the human population would increase inexorably until it was halted by what he called misery and vice.”

“It’s true that he did not foresee the so-called “Green Revolution” which greatly increased the amount of food that can be produced in any given area of arable land. And there may be other advances in our food producing skills that we ourselves still can’t foresee. But such advances only delay things. The fundamental truth that Malthus proclaimed remains the truth: there cannot be more people on this planet than can be fed.”

“The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.”

“It’s quite straight forward; it’s been staring us in the face all along. To restore stability to our planet, we must restore its biodiversity — the very thing that we’ve removed. It’s the only way out of this crisis we have created. We must rewild the world.”

“The holocene was our Garden of Eden. It’s rhythm of seasons was so reliable that it gave our own species a unique opportunity: we invented farming.”



Conjecture Magazine is dedicated to progress through ever better explanations, criticism thereof, and avoiding appeals to authority in all its guises.

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Tom Hyde

Science. Philosophy. Everything optimism. Twitter: @tomhyde_