Sir David Attenborough may brighten up people's homes with his insightful and often magnificent documentaries, but the man with the golden voice isn't always as upbeat as he sounds. The naturalist recently gave his views on where our planet is heading, and according to Attenborough it isn't heading in a particularly good direction as the population skyrockets to uncontrollable levels and resources are continually drained.
Sir David has a bleak vision of our future if things continue the way they are
Things may look bad now, with strain put on food and water supplies around the world and natural fuel sources becoming increasingly scarce, but Attenborough claims we are only tipping the iceberg of our inevitable collapse as a species. Speaking to the Radio Times, the naturalist doesn't foresee extinction for the human race, but he predicts the end of natural selection and evolution in our species as we continue to determine our own fate through controlled birth and the ability to raise a child no matter what defects they may have.
"I think that we've stopped evolving," he said in his interview. "Because if natural selection, as proposed by Darwin, is the main mechanism of evolution - there may be other things, but it does look as though that's the case - then we've stopped natural selection. We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 95 - 99% of our babies that are born. We are the only species to have put a halt to natural selection, of its own free will, as it were."
The beloved naturalist also claims that we have stopped evolving as a species
As for our own future as a species, Sir David isn't so optimistic about things. Although he doesn't think extinction is on the cards, he does think that "things are going to get worse" for us if we do not stop over-populating the world and putting strain on the planet. He said, "We're very clever and extremely resourceful - and we will find ways of preserving ourselves, of that I'm sure. But whether our lives will be as rich as they are now is another question."
The documentarian, who is presenting a two-part documentary for BBC 2 on the ascent of man, Rise of Animals, spoke of China's one child policy and said that, although he admits that the way it is imposed has cause tremendous heartache for many, that wthout it the world would be awash with millions of mouths that it probably couldn't feed and insisted that a similar policy of restricted birthing should be a world-wide priority. He said, "If you were able to persuade people that it is irresponsible to have large families in this day and age, and if material wealth and material conditions are such that people value their materialistic life and don’t suffer as a consequence, then that’s all to the good."
Rise of Animals airs Friday, 20 September on BBC 2, with the concluding episode airing the week after.
At 86, Sir David is still as active as ever