The fact is, silencing discussion of overpopulation primarily hurts those most affected by it.

Population Institute Canada/Population Matters Patron Sir David Attenborough
CCA 3.0 Australia/

Earlier this month, Sir David Attenborough (a patron of both PIC and the UK-based Population Matters) was at the centre of a Twitterstorm unleashed on the World Wildlife Fund UK for a 50-second video. The short video was a promotion for Our Planet, a series created by Sir David with the help of the WWF, to be shown on Netflix. During one 5-second clip, we hear Attenborough say “stabilize the human population as low as we fairly can,” among a list of things we can do to save the planet.

That might’ve been bad enough for those who think that concern about overpopulation reflects a colonialist, if not a white supremacist mentality, but the unpardonable offense was that the video showed a river crowded with bathers while Attenborough advocated population stabilization. And the people bathing were south Asians.

Which, by social justice “reasoning,” proves that Sir David is racist.

The Problem With “Hate Facts”

In an age when “hate fact” is treated as a serious term, the truth becomes something that must be addressed with caution, if not avoided altogether. A hate fact is something that’s true but that could reflect poorly on or potentially offend some protected group and should therefore not be mentioned. To do so can be career-terminating.

Attacks on the video were along these lines:

One Garry Dunion, hashtagging #blacklivesmatter, wrote: “A lot of people must have seen that before it went up and they either didn’t notice the racism or they were fine with it. I would appreciate hearing what WWF UK will be doing to educate its staff on the inherent racism of overpopulation narratives, so this error is not repeated.”

Another respondent on Twitter, Gavin Thomson, wrote: “…The video blamed PoC [people of colour] for a growing global population, and asserted that this population growth is driving climate change (wrong, racist), and further that you would “control” this growth (terrifying, frankly).”

Other comments were equally nonsensical. The general sentiment is summarized by Meg Montague’s “Overpopulation being a driver for climate change is a racist myth in and of itself;…

One barely knows where to begin “unpacking” the incoherent nonsense of Attenborough’s attackers. They wrongly assume that the only environmental problem is climate change and consequently, that being concerned about both climate change and population growth means blaming the poor for climate change. But population growth also results in habitat and biodiversity loss, deforestation, erosion, overfishing, pollution, water shortages, and more. Furthermore, Attenborough did not in any way imply that any identifiable group bore disproportionate responsibility for any particular global problem. The WWF video moves rapidly through many changing scenes.

The “Inconvenient Truth” About Population Growth

Attenborough has recently been speaking out more about overpopulation, and his videos have shown various aspects of overpopulation with different people and settings. The offensive WWF video was replaced by one showing white people at the point where Attenborough mentions overpopulation.

What made those five seconds in the first video, possibly shot in India, so offensive? Is it a “hate fact” that most global population growth is occurring in countries where the majority of people are “of colour”? Western Europe’s growth rate is near zero, while Canada, the US and Australia are growing only through immigration, mostly of people of non-European origin. In contrast, sub-Saharan Africa is growing at 3% annually, which means a population doubling time of about 23 years, and Africa is on track to add one billion people a few decades hence. India’s growth rate has fallen greatly in recent years, and is now down to about 1.19% annually. However, with a population of close to 1.4 billion, this comes to an increase of 16 million people a year. China has a lower growth rate than India’s but a higher population at over 1.4 billion, and is still growing at 0.39% annually, resulting in an increase of 6.5 million each year. Certain other countries, such as PakistanAfghanistanIraq, and Syria, also still have high growth rates.

Social Justice or Some Other Agenda?

For “social justice” bullies, facts don’t matter. The term “social justice” is in fact a misnomer. As is evident by the symbols displayed, slogans shouted, vandalism and even violence, a significant proportion of those allegedly promoting social justice are in fact promoting Marxism and the end of Western culture. The US Attorney General says that there is evidence that the left-extremist group Antifa has been “involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity.” Social justice warriors ignore the fact that those who will suffer the most from inaction on overpopulation are those that they presume to be protecting from racism.

Nature Doesn’t Care About A “Social Justice” Agenda

Nevertheless, true to the general pattern of corporations capitulating to the “social justice “ mob, the WWF withdrew the video and wrote on Twitter: “Earlier today we shared a video that could appear to support a narrative that people of colour are responsible for the pressures of a growing world population. This is not our intent at all. We have deleted the video and apologise – we will do better.”

Doing better could start with dealing with reality and not being bullied by those who won’t. The population issue is not going to go away because the social justice mob demands it. And there will be no social justice on a dead planet.

What do you think? Feel free to respond to us by email or comment on our Facebook post about this issue, which features an article written by Growthbusters’ Dave Gardner, whose views are substantially similar to those expressed here.

Madeline Weld, Ph.D.
President, Population Institute Canada
Tel: (613) 833-3668