David Attenborough, British broadcaster and environmentalist, is at it again, claiming that humans are a plague. According to today’s UK Telegraph:

He said the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.

We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,” he told the Radio Times.

Of course, this is nothing new. Environmentalists have been saying similar things for decades. Prince Phillip, former president of the World Wildlife Fund, said “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”

Let there be no mistake: mainstream environmentalism has become deeply Rio20-Im-sure-youve-got-humansanti-human. Decades after Paul Ehrlich’s dire predictions of famine and mass starvation due to overpopulation were proven completely wrong, environmental textbooks sing his praises. Maurice Strong, the first director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrial civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”

Rich, first-world environmentalists advocate against building coal and natural gas power plants in developing countries, even though thousands of impoverished people will die for lack of electricity and the life-saving things it makes possible, such as hospitals, refrigeration, and heating. They block access to and divert funds from tools that can completely eradicate malaria in favor of bed nets.

John Davis, former editor of Earth First!, said “Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs… I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.” At best, the philosophical foundation of environmentalism assumes that humans have no value. As the above quotations show, however, many environmentalists believe humans are inherently bad–that homo sapiens is a plague.

CFACT believes differently. A human life is inherently more valuable than a slug, a cow, or any other animal. As our statement of purpose reads, we believe in Prospering Lives, Promoting Progress, and Protecting the Earth. We stand with Julian Simon, who said that people are the ultimate resource. Free and prosperous people are best equipped to address environmental concerns. Human ingenuity, imagination, and creative intelligence are the fuel of progress.

History has shown that the environment is best protected when humans prosper. Nature suffers when people suffer. Any environmentalist policy that would drive up the cost of energy, food, or other essential needs in the name of protecting nature must be rejected. Instead, we must pursue constructive policies of political and economic freedom and wise ecological stewardship that will enhance the future of the world’s people.

free and prosperous people are best equipped to address environmental concerns

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  • CFACT, founded in 1985 by Craig Rucker and the late (truly great) David Rothbard, examines the relationship between human freedom, and issues of energy, environment, climate, economics, civil rights and more.