Sir David Attenborough: Big families are irresponsible

Sir David Attenborough says couples should value their materialism and have small families to avoid overcrowding the planet.

He said China’s one-child policy has been beneficial, but he is unhappy about the way it is enforced.

The BBC’s veteran natural history broadcaster was speaking ahead of a new TV series.


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.”

Speaking about China’s one-child policy he said: “It’s the degree to which it has been enforced which is terrible, and there’s no question it’s produced all kinds of personal tragedies. There’s no question about that.

“On the other hand, the Chinese themselves recognise that had they not done so there would be several million more mouths in the world today than there are now.”


The 87-year-old says he has no intention of retiring from work. He said: “I’m swanning around the world looking at the most fabulously interesting things. Such good fortune.”

Sir David is a patron of radical eco group, Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust.

The group held a meeting in the Scottish Parliament in 2010 urging the Government to adopt a “two’s plenty” campaign.

The campaign urged Scottish couples to have no more than two children, but critics have branded the group “eco fascist”.

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