BBC One Planet on population

In: Uncategorized

26 Oct 2010

The latest programme in the BBC World Service’s One Planet series – a useful way of following environmental debates – was on the “taboo” subject of population.

For me two things stood out:

* John Guillebaud of the Optimum Population Trust was anxious to come across as an egalitarian and an opponent of coercion. He emphasised that those in the West, as well as in the poorer countries, should voluntarily restrict the number of children they have. However, he spoilt his case towards the end when he argued that every baby born is a potential Adolf Hitler or Genghis Khan.

* Matthew Connolly, the author of Fatal Misconception and the anti-Malthusian voice on the programme, failed to convincingly take up Guillebaud’s arguments about natural limits to consumption. He should have made the basic point that humans are producers as well as consumers.