At the Tusk conservation awards, Prince William suggested that population growth was responsible for the endangerment of wildlife in Africa. He was promoting the theory that argues humans are overburdening the planet and that some populations are more responsible than others. It is an ideology with racist undertones – in short, Black, Brown and marginalised people are blamed for overpopulation and consequently the environment’s demise.
Heather Alberro, a lecturer in global sustainable development at Nottingham Trent University, explained, “Focusing only on human numbers functions as a red herring. What research increasingly shows is that extreme poverty, socioeconomic inequality and capitalist systems predicated on endless growth for maximising shareholder value are greater predictors of ecological decline.
“Is it any wonder that a poacher, driven by poverty and the lucrative price tag associated with ivory, would be compelled to kill an elephant?”
She argued, the focus should be on how global inequities are at the heart of the climate crisis.
“Reckoning with the ongoing, violent legacies of colonial capitalism, which continue to drive the exploitation of people, places, resources, other species, is an important first step towards truly transformative change,” she said. “The irony is that recent research has found that Indigenous peoples are often the best stewards of ecosystems.”
“‘Conservation’ comes from a very colonial time. It treats people who are living there as feckless and worthy of being kicked off the land,” Josina added. “Some of the most dangerous narratives come from upper-class environmentalists. It’s not just Prince William; it’s not just his father, it’s also David Attenborough, it’s also Jane Goodall,” they said, referring to the British broadcaster and natural historian, and English primatologist.
“All these people promote this idea that it’s other people irresponsibility, that it’s poor people’s responsibilityJosina, from the grassroots environmental collective Land in Our Names, who also has a background in sexual and reproductive health, told Al Jazeera that the narrative on overpopulation is often linked to the “demonisation of Black and Brown women’s fecundity”.
“There’s a long history of Black women being blamed for having too many children. Now, what is too many? There’s no one in the royal family who will be demonised for having too many children. Boris Johnson has got quite a lot of kids.”
We should also recall the environmental damage done to the moors by the Royal Family with its game-bird shooting and heather burning.
Most experts agree that Africa will witness a population boom. However, according to the UN, the continent only contributes to 2 to 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Experts critique Prince William’s ideas on Africa population | Wildlife News | Al Jazeera