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Attenborough: Population Explosion Endangers Human Race

Saturday, 03 January 2015 02:04 PM

The human race could become an endangered species if more care isn't taken to address the problem of population growth, says the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

"It's desperately difficult, the dangers are apparent to anybody," he told The Independent. "We can't go on increasing at the rate human beings are increasing forever because the Earth is finite and you can't put infinity into something that is finite. So if we don't do something about it then the world will do something about it — the natural world that is — we will starve."

According to the United Nations estimates, the human population of the world is expected to reach 8 billion people by the spring of 2024 and hit the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31, 2011, according to Worldometers.com.

The world's population is growing at a rate of 1.14 percent annually, and is estimated at around 80 million a year, the website notes. The growth rate is declining, though, and is expected to go down to less than one percent by 2020 and less than 0.5 percent by 2050.

There is always room for change, though. The Industrial Revolution brought massive growth to the world's population, notes Worldometers. The worlds population did not reach the one billion mark until about 1800, notes the website. It reached the second billion by 1930; the third by 1947; the fourth by 1959 and the fifth by 1987.

Attenborough, who is a patron of the UK charity Population Matters, which advocates sustainable populations, said women worldwide need to be given "political control" of their own bodies if there is to be any hope for the human race.

"The only straw of comfort or/of hope, and even that is pretty fragile, is that wherever women are given political control of their bodies, where they have the vote, education, appropriate medical facilities and they can read and have rights and so on, the birth rate falls, there's no exceptions to that," Attenborough said.

However, there remain many parts of the world where that does not apply, so "those of us who live in the parts where they do apply ought to help the others to have that possibility."

But even if that happens, the naturalist and television broadcaster said he does not believe it will be enough to change the danger.

"It won't be enough, But does that mean we don't do something about it?" he said. "Just because you don't know the answer to the problem doesn't mean you shouldn't say there is one."

Attenborough is working on a new series, "Conquest of the Skies," which will explore the evolution of flight, and said nature documentaries such as his are changing quickly as the digital age grows.

"Simply because of my age, I'm out of tune with the way kids watch things," he said. "It's no good me saying it's either better or worse, but it is different, it's more ubiquitous and attention spans and other factors have changed hugely, beyond recognition."

However, he said he does not plan to change his approach, and that he will continue to pay attention to detail.

"A lot of natural history programs made today are much more about the adventure of finding out than about what is found out, that's OK, but it's different," he said.

The world's five most-populated nations are China, with approximately 1.4 billion; India, at 1.3 billion; the United States, with approximately 324 million; Indonesia, with 254 million; and Brazil, at nearly 203 million, according to Worldometers.

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The human race could become an endangered species if more care isn't taken to address the problem of population growth, says the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
attenborough, human, race, endanger, population
Saturday, 03 January 2015 02:04 PM
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