"The Enemies of Progress: The Dangers of Sustainability"

"The Enemies of Progress: The Dangers of Sustainability"
Book published by Societas. Orders: http://www.imprint.co.uk/books/williams_enemies.html

David Attenborough & the Optimum Population Trust

David Attenborough has become the patron of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT). He says: “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more."


Finding that "the nation's favourite broadcaster" is a miserable Malthusian is a bit like hearing that your favourite uncle is a eugenicist, or something. But we shouldn't be shocked to see that some people genuinely follow the logic of sustainability. After all, for environmentalists and carbonistas: more people = more breathing = more energy consumption = more carbon use... and we all know that "more carbon is a BAD thing".

Ironically, the OPT still thinks that "the greens" refuse to acknowledge the issue and that the OPT are thinking the unthinkable. With Jonathon Porritt (patron, OPT) pushing his "Stop at Two" (two-child policy) and Sir Crispin Tickell (patron, OPT) Sir Crispin Tickell, suggesting that the desirable UK population should be around 20 million (currently 60 million). And Paul Erhlich arguing that the global population would only be sustainable at 1.5 billion (as opposed to the current 6+billion).

All of these reactionaries - and yes, I include the loveable Attenborough under that rubric - are peddling the survivalist line that we should minimise our footprint - our impact - upon the world to suit what the earth needs.

But ACTUALLY… it is ‘growth’ and ‘development’ (without ‘sustainable’ prefixes) that are the very things that are needed - by people - in order to lift populations out of penury and to make affluent countries even more labour-efficient. Human's needs and "the earth's" needs (if there be such a thing) are often diametrically opposed. It is NOT subsistence that determines the number of people that can adequately be supported BUT progress and technology - without artificial limits - that can raise people’s capacity to thrive.

Unfortunately, it is the complete lack of human-centredness exemplified by Attenborough and his new-found allies, that is going to destroy the very project of human emancipation.