David Attenborough conservation video removed amid racism concerns

Julia Hunt
·2-min read
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Sir David Attenborough addresses the UK Climate Assembly on January 25, 2020 in Birmingham, England. The assembly members will give up four weekends between January and March 2020 to discuss questions around how the UK meet the Government’s legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. (Photo by Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)
Sir David Attenborough addresses the UK Climate Assembly on January 25, 2020 in Birmingham (Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)

A conservation charity has apologised after it shared a video in which Sir David Attenborough talks about controlling population growth while images of Asian people were shown.

The World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF UK) clip shows Sir David, 94, urging people to do their bit for the environment.

At one point, the star mentions the need to “stabilise the human population” in order to help the planet, and at that moment the video briefly shows Asian people bathing in a river, before showing a group of white people.

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The video sparked some debate online and the WWF UK removed it hours later.

The organisation wrote on Twitter: “Earlier today we shared a video that could appear to support a narrative that people of colour are responsible for the pressures of a growing world population.

“This is not our intent at all.

“We have deleted the video and apologise - we will do better.”

Many people posted messages online before the clip was taken down.

One person called it “irresponsible” and another said the video “blamed people of colour for a growing global population”.

“Overpopulation as a cause of the climate crisis is a myth based on racism and eugenics,” fumed another person on Twitter.

Sir David Attenborough poses for photographers upon arrival for the premiere of a new series of Our Planet, at the Natural History Museum in central London, Tuesday, April 4, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Sir David Attenborough at the premiere of a new series of Our Planet in 2019. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

However, others have said that critics were being over-sensitive.

“Saying the world is overpopulated is not racism,” insisted one person.

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According to The Times, other versions of the video can still be seen online. However, Asian people are no longer shown when population growth is mentioned.