The quote you'll see in the headline of just about any post that surfaced last week on this interview is where Attenborough says humans "are a plague on the Earth," but of course that's out of context. He also said completely reasonable, if somewhat harsh things like:
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 co-ordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.
Unsurprisingly, right-wing blowhards sounded off in quick time. Take Wesley J. Smith, who, over on his National Review Online column entitled "Human Exceptionalism," says this "anti-human" view of "radical depopulation" demonstrates his thesis that "environmentalism is growing progressively anti human." Get that? This anecdote demonstrates his thesis, everybody!
Attenborough's views are hardly new, though (The Population Bomb was written almost 50 years ago), and it's not at all outlandish or radical to say that the world's human population, which is estimated to have surpassed seven billion last October, is growing at an unsustainable rate. According to the UN, nearly half of the humans on the planet are under the age of 24. Also, we hit six billion just 12 years ago. The United Nations estimates that there will be nine billion by mid-century. There are just too damn many of us, and if you believe in this thing called science, it's undeniable that we're already a major stress on the planet. Forget your Prius and obsessive recycling, the best thing an American can do for the environment is not have a kid.