Sunday, January 19, 2020
Home News Saturday essay: Planet Attenborough – too precious to be wasted on children

Saturday essay: Planet Attenborough – too precious to be wasted on children

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The national treasure Sir David Attenborough wants children to reconnect with nature,  though he doesn’t tell us how. Perhaps he is oblivious to the treadmill to which today’s children are subjected, designed to harmonise with parental working hours, involving long hours in ‘day boarding schools’ starting with those ‘breakfast clubs’ for which competition is ever fiercer. The photo opportunity provided by parents queueing up from the early hours to win a place at one such club for their offspring provided a disturbing insight into their lack of home life.

With the ‘family space’ so squeezed, where is the time for nature walks? Even play areas in parks, if not closed as a cost-cutting measure, are often accessible only through fields of free-running dogs – and their excrement.

And arguably when people take Sir David’s advice to exchange the ‘virtual nature world’ for the real one and attempt to ‘reconnect’ to it they end up endangering nature even more. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly reported human disturbance of wildlife up by a third last year.

Meanwhile schools teach ‘climate change’ and environmentalism, and TV nature programmes reinforce the message of ‘green politics’. While religious education declines, veganism is on the rise – up four-fold in the last decade – and all for the sake of ‘the Planet’.

Sir David’s Blue Planet TV series has been rightly praised for highlighting pollution, though his kindly onscreen manner sometimes slips. One interview with him revealed that the ‘species Sir David is most concerned about is humans’, namely that there are far too many and they should not ‘breed so fast’.

In fact as a patron of Population Matters, a charity which campaigns for measures to control population growth, he sees the human race as a ‘plague’. He is also a patron of Marie Stopes International, named after the birth control pioneer with racist, eugenicist and anti-Semitic views, which promotes population control in poor countries as the answer to pollution. It is somewhat ironic that someone who wants children to reconnect with nature should see children as the problem and sex education and abortion as the answer.

All this makes me wonder whether ‘the Planet’ is more important than children and whether Sir David’s ‘vanishing wildlife’ narrative sends the message that animals are too. He is an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature, whose founder Max Nicholson had close links with the Eugenics Society in the 1930s. In his book The New Environmental Age (1989), Nicholson called mankind a ‘plague species’ and welcomed the growing links between the environmental and population control movements. Dreaming of making a religion of ‘the Planet’, arguably he succeeded.

While neo-Malthusian doomsayers ignore the problem of declining births, they boost the case for another enduring neo-Malthusian preoccupation, euthanasia. At the age of 89, Sir David declared his intention to end his own life should he feel the need.

The religion that the ‘The Planet’ has indeed become is one that demands human sacrifice. While Sir David and other wealthy media personalities jet around the world helping us ‘get closer to nature’, abortion and sex education are advocated to ensure that not too many other people can do the same. It raises the question of whether ‘environmentalism’ is being used as a cover for population control – ‘voluntary’ in the West, as ‘green guilt-tripping’ makes us feel responsible for trashing ‘the Planet’, but compulsory in the same Communist China that belts out greenhouse gases while ‘recycling’ our plastic, and whose population control programme Sir David praises.

Nature walks used to be part of the school experience; children were taught not to waste food, discard litter or trample on nature; they learned the Biblical lesson that Man must be a responsible steward of the natural world. Meanwhile, popular TV programmes teach ‘climate change’ alarmism while negatively portraying the Church as historically anti-science.

Sir David Attenborough may be a secular saint in the religion of ‘the Planet’, but whatever he says on the subject, it’s our children who are our natural treasure, and our future. We should be prizing and protecting them, not sacrificing them on the altar of neo-paganism.

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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