AHEAD of his new BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet, Sir David Attenborough says that he sees Extinction Rebellion as a young person’s thing, insisting: ‘For young people, it’s their world . . . Lots of them haven’t got political power, so they’re making their voices heard, and who can blame them?’
Now in his 90s, Sir David ‘has gained messiah status among the young’, according to Telegraph interviewer Joe Shute, and has ‘done more than anyone to push conservation to the top of the political agenda’. Last week, demand for tickets to an early screening of his new series ‘outstripped that of Glastonbury’. However, Sir David’s longstanding promotion of population control jars with his belief that the future lies with young people. In this interview, his habitual misanthropy – blaming human beings, especially from Africa, for pollution and ‘climate change’ – is laid aside, and for once he appears to suggest that young people might be of some use for preserving his beloved wildlife – but only if suitably influenced by messages like his.
The increased drum beat of ‘climate change emergency’ has not succeeded in drowning out stories about the hypocrisy of public figures on the issue, not least their habit of jetting around the world lecturing the poor about having too many children. Nonetheless, Sir David says that his new series has taken such concerns into account by keeping flights ‘to a minimum’, using more drones for filming and ‘looking at offsetting the carbon generated during filming’. But the message remains the same: that driving and flying are activities that should be restricted to really, really important people.
In this connection it seems strange that hedge fund billionaire Sir Christopher Hohn, who has donated £200,000 to Extinction Rebellion has bought a stake in Heathrow airport, long the subject of ‘flight-shaming’ protests by greens.
Perhaps he is hedging his bets, sensing that the general public is starting to tire of all the ‘green’ protests, and that even the BBC, which has given acres of free publicity to Extinction Rebellion, may quietly row back on their unstinting support. It will still give a platform to Sir David Attenborough, portrayed as a kindly grandfather, but one under whose influence young people are agonising over whether to have children of their own because of the ‘climate emergency’.
Far from a ‘messiah’ figure who will lead children out of the wilderness wrought by ‘climate extinction’, he is a Pied Piper who sees wild animals under threat from innocent babies; and he is leading his young acolytes away from the place of prosperity built by human hands to a future desert of economic ruin without children, without jobs and without hope.