Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
By coincidence yesterday I watched David Attenborough's Horizon programme: How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?, which an ex-student recorded for me. It's very thorough, and very disturbing, especially given how little has been done despite earlier warnings about likely future problems:

In a Horizon special, naturalist Sir David Attenborough investigates whether the world is heading for a population crisis.

In his lengthy career, Sir David has watched the human population more than double from 2.5 billion in 1950 to nearly seven billion. He reflects on the profound effects of this rapid growth, both on humans and the environment.

While much of the projected growth in human population is likely to come from the developing world, it is the lifestyle enjoyed by many in the West that has the most impact on the planet. Some experts claim that in the UK consumers use as much as two and a half times their fair share of Earth's resources.

Sir David examines whether it is the duty of individuals to commit not only to smaller families, but to change the way they live for the sake of humanity and planet Earth.


I now find that it's currently available on youtube in very good quality in 6 parts, part 1:


Surprisingly, The Sun has a piece by Attenborough, including quite a bit of the text of the programme, but not the stuff about the damage done by developed countries' consumerist lifestyles:

In the south west of India lies the long narrow coastal state of Kerala. Most of its 32million inhabitants live off the land and the ocean - a rich ecosystem watered by two monsoons a year.

It is also one of India's most crowded states. But the population is stable because nearly everybody has small families.

At the root of it all is education. Thanks to a long tradition of compulsory schooling for boys and girls, Kerala has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

Where women are well educated, they tend to choose to have smaller families. What Kerala shows is that you don't need aggressive policies or government incentives to persuade families to have fewer children.


I'm very aware that this film could be seen as bleak, even depressing. But humans have capabilities that animals don't - to think rationally, to study and to plan ahead. The number of people on the planet depends on the personal decisions we EACH make about how many children we have.

It's clear that humanity will have to change the way we live and use resources - and that may even extend to our political and economic systems.

We are at a crossroads where we can choose to cooperate or carry on regardless. Can our intelligence save us? I hope so.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/2764068/Attenborough-on-a-growing-threat-to-mans-futur e-the-growing-population.html

I recommend watching the programme.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Jun 30th, 2010 at 06:14:26 PM EST

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