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David Attenborough: 'Population Growth Must Come to an End'
Renowned naturalist David Attenborough sat down with BBC Newsnight for a wide-ranging interview about the environment and how the planet cannot accommodate the "alarming rate" of human overpopulation.
"One of the reasons that the population has increased as fast as it has is that people like me are living longer than we did," Attenborough explained. "And so there are more and more people just because the expectancy of life has increased."
Even now, with the world's current population of 7.6 billion, humanity uses up Earth's natural resources 1.7 times faster than the planet's ecosystems can regenerate, according to the Global Footprint Network. This ecological debt is poised to increase as the world population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, the United Nations projected.
As Attenborough noted, "In the long run, population growth has to come to an end."
The legendary English broadcaster, who spoke with the BBC on the 40th anniversary of his groundbreaking Life On Earth series, commented on a variety of environmental topics. He said he's eating much less meat: "We simply cannot destroy the natural forests and plains of the world in order to feed ourselves. We have to modify our diet." On the growing issue of plastic pollution, he said, "We should do our best to avoid the use of plastic."
Also in the interview, Attenborough admitted that up to five years ago he was "very, very pessimistic" about the future of the planet, but the landmark Paris agreement to combat climate change changed his attitude.
"The Paris agreement seemed at the time to be at last nations coming to their senses," he said.
Attenborough remains hopeful despite President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw from the international accord signed by nearly 200 countries.
"It is true that President Trump doesn't go along with it. To what extent the United States is going to withdraw from it, we'll see," he said. "My suspicion is that people will realize that actually the United States' attitude is outdated, it doesn't apply anymore, and I think that will be overcome.
"There's a groundswell internationally of recognizing what we are doing to the planet and the disaster that awaits unless we do something," Attenborough said. "This is the only world we've got."
- To understand population growth, culture matters | Ars Technica ›
- 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050 ... ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."