A video has attracted more than one million views in posts that misleadingly attribute a quote about reducing the world’s population to primatologist Jane Goodall. However, Goodall did not call for any kind of active reduction in the world’s population, but said that we would not have problems such as deforestation if the population was smaller. She did not say that reducing the global population would “solve all the world’s problems”.
The video was shared in an Instagram post on December 12, attracting more than 19,000 likes.
The footage shows Goodall, a prominent environmental activist known for her pioneering six-decade study of chimpanzees in Tanzania, speaking at a World Economic Forum event in January 2020 called “Securing a Sustainable Future for the Amazon”.
Text overlaid on the clip says: “We can solve all the worlds (sic) problems if we reduce the world population to where it was 500 years ago”.
Screenshot of the misleading post taken January 12, 2023
The video was shared in similar posts around the world, including in Australia, the United States, India and Germany, and racked up more than one million views in a tweet that claimed it showed evidence of the WEF’s “depopulation agenda”.
The WEF, which hosts meetings between world leaders every year in Davos, Switzerland, is regularly targeted by misinformation, especially conspiracy theories around its “Great Reset” project.
The full recording of Goodall’s remarks posted on the WEF’s YouTube channel shows she did not make the remarks attributed to her in misleading posts.
At the 27:45 mark, BBC journalist Mishal Husain asks the primatologist about the Trillion Trees Project, which aims to protect forests around the world.
Husain asks: “How important is it that the trees that are planted through that (project) are ones which will be valuable enough to go as far as possible to making sure that they are not cut down by local communities or big corporations?”
Goodall then discussed the impact of deforestation, saying: “The Trillion Trees Project now acknowledges the importance of saving our existing forests and restoring areas where the forest has fairly recently gone, even in the oil palm plantations.”
She then talked about the impact of population growth on forests: “We cannot hide away from human population growth because, you know, it underlies so many of the other problems.
“All these things we talk about wouldn’t be a problem if there was the size of population that there was 500 years ago.”
Goodall has outlined her views on the global population in various interviews.
She told the Chatham House think tank in November 2021: “When I first began to talk about the human population, I was told, I better not, because it would be seen as blaming the developing world. But that’s totally not true.
“People were talking about population control at the time but that’s wrong. It’s nothing to do with control. That’s autocratic. I was talking about voluntary population optimization.”
Speaking to CBS News in July 2020, she said: “Population issues are politically sensitive so I talk about voluntary population optimization. So that’s OK, it’s voluntary, it is your choice. You optimize it for your financial situation.
“People are desperate to educate their children and they can’t educate eight anymore. So they love family planning, and women can space out their children so that they can have a child and look after it.”
Support Lumiserver & Cynesys on Tipeee
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.
Now you can get a free first transfer up to 500£ with your ESNcard. You can access this offer here.