In November 2017 at a ball to raise funds for the charity Tusk its patron “Prince” William spoke about wildlife conservation and human population control.
In the middle of his speech the royal discussed population growth on the continent of Africa.
“In my lifetime we have seen global wildlife populations decline by over half. Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050 – a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month. There is no question that this increase puts wildlife and habitat under enormous pressure. Urbanisation, infrastructure development, cultivation – all good things in themselves, but they will have a terrible impact unless we begin to plan and to take measures now. On human populations alone, over-grazing and poor water supplies could have a catastrophic effect unless we start to think about how to mitigate these challenges.”
A proper map that doesn’t diminish the continent’s dimensions, or a globe, or videos from orbit show how huge a continent Africa is with millions of square miles of space. So much room for huge population increases, for huge improvements to infrastructure, for huge increases to farmland and for sufficient space for wildlife. “Prince” William is fully aware how large and spacious Africa is. He knows population growth in any of the countries on the continent need not impact negatively on the wildlife nor on land set aside for the animals. His suggestion that a large increase in human population would cause irreparable damage to animal populations in Africa is a false statement, and he knows it is false.
People living in any of the countries on the continent of Africa have as much right to any of the advantages of developed society as anyone from London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, etc. There is no moral reason why Addis Adaba or Khartoum should be denied all the splendour of a modern city with sufficient infrastructure and farmland to support the population. There should exist more, and bigger, airports, more railways, a huge network of motorways, bigger seaports, thousands upon thousands of enhanced high quality tourist locations, hundreds of “silicon valleys,” more factories, hospitals, universities, parks, etc. A standard of living, both economically and aesthetically, equivalent to the best of Western society should be the starting point for peoples’ expectations throughout the whole of Africa. If that happened, it would not decline the volume or quality of land available for wildlife.
“Prince” William has regurgitated a tired old imperialist axiom about population growth outside of the cossetted Western world. Such beliefs are ingrained within him. His elite school education and his royal background are designed to give him a skewed view of the world, including the possession of an imperialist colonialist viewpoint.
In his speech he omitted the fact that a lot of land in many of the countries in Africa is controlled by non-African companies and governments and is used to extract natural resources which are then stolen from the people of those countries. Coal, gas, oil, gold, silver and uranium are some of the valuable natural assets that disappear from the continent with little or no financial benefit to the people who live there, and whose reckless extraction causes much more damage to wildlife than any increase in population. The “prince” wouldn’t mention such exploitation because his family has investments in such enterprises.
“A staggering increase of three and a half million people per month” is a statement one expects to hear from Farage, or Le Pen, or Trump. It isn’t a surprise that a member of the British royal family uses such an evocative adjective as “staggering.” It is easy to see the motivation for someone like “Prince” William to make such a comment: His family’s background, steeped in colonialist privilege and inherited stupidity, encourages him to see the world from the perspective of empire including its rabid exploitation.
Racial eugenics, expressed as comments about the world’s population, is used by both the far-right and also by corporate wealth terrorists who want to be able to continue to exploit most of the world. The prince can decide for himself to which of those two symbiotic groups he belongs.