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Do you agree with David Attenborough?

(54 Posts)
Riverwalk Tue 22-Jan-13 12:24:52

He claims that humans are 'plague on earth'

David Attenborough

nanaej Tue 22-Jan-13 12:31:25

Well I guess in the sense that we have trashed so much of it at the expense of other species he is right. But it is hard to go back..we can do some damage limitation...

Riverwalk Tue 22-Jan-13 12:39:49

Nanaej it seems so smug somehow - every single person alive has just as much right to be here as he does!

How much of the world's resources have Attenborough and his camera crew used over the years, jetting here and there, compared to the average peasant scratching a living.

nanaej Tue 22-Jan-13 12:45:06

Oh I agree he speaks from a privileged position and has enjoyed so many sights and experiences that most of us can only dream of.

But I do think that if we want to preserve things we have to think carefully about our impact. I have enjoyed his programmes but have little desire to travel to see the exotic species /places but i can see that some people would be inspired to go!

Mishap Tue 22-Jan-13 12:46:03

I get very tired of people coming up with this all the time. Every species plunders the planet in its own way as each is programmed towards its own survival - that is just the law of nature, as is the urge to reproduce. We are not responsible for that.

If you are to single out humans as a negative force, it is worth also remembering their positive contributions towards nature conservancy and the existence of human conscience that motivates us to altruism and concern for the planet - no other species has that in any conscious way - three cheers for us!

If DA falls ill I am sure he will not refuse treatment on the grounds that the planet is overpopulated and it would be better if he shuffled of this mortal coil.

nanaej Tue 22-Jan-13 12:49:36

sorry accidently pushed post..
travel has brought devastation to parts of the world.
It is by one part of the world being 'rich' and depleting resources elsewhere that causes the imbalance of population/health and food supply.

I think he does not think he has more of a right to life than others just that everyone needs to give serious thought on how to maintain what is left!

Bags Tue 22-Jan-13 12:51:11

Malthusian gloom and doom all over again. The only proven way to reduce population growth is to improve living standards for people in poverty.

Bags Tue 22-Jan-13 12:51:56

What is Attenborough doing about that?

Ariadne Tue 22-Jan-13 13:16:04


Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 13:42:50

I don't think any other living creature destroys the ecological balance of the world the way that humans do [eg importing rabbits to Australia and cats to New Zealand] so we're probably pretty much responsible for any animal that becomes endangered/extinct for reasons other than natural selection. That's not a very good record. We then try [quite poorly] to make good the damage as long as it doesn't mess up our economies. I can't say that I'm proud of my species a lot of the time. We're one of the few creatures that kill for pleasure and not just for food as well.

JessM Tue 22-Jan-13 14:03:51

As a species we have been too successful for the good of very many other species and the ecosystems that support them. The evidence is irrefutable. We have hunted many species to extinction. We have destroyed great swathes of habitat that other species need for their survival.
We have damaged other habitats and rendered species extinct by transporting species to other locations where they have outcompeted local species, as tegwan points out.
How could anyone argue that this is not true?
And if it is true, why shoot the messenger? Just because he is uttering an unpalatable truth.

Elegran Tue 22-Jan-13 14:45:00

Without someone recording the lives of other species, we would not know how they lived or even that they existed, so we would be unaware of the damage to their environment. They could go extinct without a trace of their passing. "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air"

Is it better to stay blissfully unaware of what we trample underfoot, or to have it on film?

At least those travelling to make documentaries are not there to shoot dead everything they see, to hang as trophies on their walls.

Riverwalk Tue 22-Jan-13 14:54:46

Does it really matter if some species become extinct? Dinosaurs are extinct.

Film crews flying hither and thither to entertain/educate us are using up more than their fair share of resources - bit of a cheek for Attenborough et al to say that other humans shouldn't share in this world, by not being born.

I hate to see people suffer and not have enough to eat but no-one starves in a country that's not run by corrupt regimes and/or is war-ravaged.

Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 14:56:11

So many conservationists did start out as hunters initially, for example Ernest Thompson Seton.

Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 15:02:17 - Similarto The Wolf That Changed America - What's Your Connecti... - Similarto The Wolf That Changed America - What's Your Connecti...

Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 15:04:18

Damn; wrong link again [but it has got My Life as as a Turkey which I can recommend]

Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 15:12:26

There's a difference between something becoming extinct due to human intervention rather than happening naturally. For example, they wiped out the wolves in the National Parks in America because they were killing the deer. The deer then overgrazed the vegetation and the trees and plants started to die off. They then had to cull the deer and are now re introducing wolves [ok the wolves weren't actually extinct but they could have been had they continued to kill them].

JessM Tue 22-Jan-13 15:55:37

Depends really whether you value other forms of life or just humanity. Do humans have a right to try to plunder the world's resources as we do, just because we can.
But ultimately if we keep damaging the environment as we do humanity will go down with the ship. We do rely on other species, such as bees. Deforestation and intensive farming leads to soil erosion. and so on.

Tegan Tue 22-Jan-13 16:03:38

D'you remember the Eric von Danicken [sp] book, Chariots of the Gods that maintained that humans didn't originate from this planet because, if they did they wouldn't be so destructive? I've still got a copy of it somewhere [borrowed it from someone and never gave it back].

Bags Tue 22-Jan-13 16:06:50

99% of all species that have ever existed (that's EVER! Humans have only been around for a dot of time) are now extinct.

Elegran Tue 22-Jan-13 16:33:31

The planet has taken millenia to develop to this point, including the gradual extinction of species which no longer fitted their niche, and doubtless will evolve further. However the human population can move round the globe so fast, and use such sophisticated machines to extend their power, that the processes of change are being accelererated.

Genuine naturalists take care of their environment as they record it. If seeing the variety and interdependence of other living species prompts people to be aware of how every form of life on the planet interconnects with everything else, and should not be b******d about with, then filming them is worth while.

j07 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:37:01

I agree with him.

Not much that we can do about it now. (victims of our own success?)

JessM Tue 22-Jan-13 16:37:25

But the rate of extinctions is shooting up at the moment.

Bags Tue 22-Jan-13 16:38:46

Some extinction events were not gradual at all. Some of them obliterated nearly all life in one go. There have been several like that. Natural forces over which we have no control are far more destructive than anything else. Humans do not set out to be destructive. They set out to survive and to improve their lot. OK, we make mistakes, but I don't agree that we're destroying life on the planet. How can anyone say that when we know so little about so much of it?

j07 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:47:27

We have concreted over an awful lot of it. That can't be good. And there are so many of us. And we all have high expectations. (not saying that's not good, but still...)