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HomeFact CheckJane Goodall Speech At 2020 WEF Event Falsely Shared With ‘Depopulation’ Spin

Jane Goodall Speech At 2020 WEF Event Falsely Shared With ‘Depopulation’ Spin

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

A video is doing the rounds of social media, with users claiming that the video shows English primatologist Jane Goodall advocating for “depopulation” as a solution to all major world problems. The video shows Goodall speaking at what appears to be a World Economic Forum (WEF) event.

The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here, here and here.

What is depopulation?

Depopulation refers to the process in which the population density of an area decreases steadily over time. A “depopulation agenda” has been the subject of various conspiracy theories involving the WEF and “global elites”. For example: Many falsely believed that the Covid-19 pandemic was deliberately engineered to depopulate the world through the vaccines that “cause death and are a secret plot for mass extermination”. 

Fact check

Newschecker analysed the 16-seconds viral video and noticed that she did not say the population should be reduced, contrary to the text overlaid on the video, but that the “problems” wouldn’t be there if the population size is what it was 500 years ago.

Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search for “Jane Goodall population WEF”, which led us to this Youtube video, dated January 22, 2020, titled “Securing a Sustainable Future for the Amazon | DAVOS 2020”, and uploaded by the WEF. According to the description, the session, which was developed in partnership with the BBC, was about the Forum’s Tropical Forest Alliance project.

“Amazonian nations are hard-pressed to secure economic opportunities and social stability in a context of slow commodity-led growth. Which approaches are most promising for developing sustainable markets that maintain livelihoods while securing the future of the Amazon forest?” read the description of the panel discussion, which added that the speakers were Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Mishal Husain, Carlos Afonso Nobre and Ivan Duque.

At the 27:48 mark, BBC journalist Mishal Husain, who was moderating the discussion, asked Goodall about the Trillion Trees Project, which works to protect and restore rainforests. Goodall spoke about the importance of protecting trees, the factors that lead to deforestation and mitigating poverty, corruption, land overuse, political corruption and human population growth.

At the 31:35 mark, she said, “We cannot hide away from human population growth. Because, you know, it underlies so many of the other problems. All these other things we talk about wouldn’t be a problem if there was the size of the population that there was 500 years ago,” thus confirming that she never called for population reduction.

We also learnt that Goodall has previously spoken about the impact of population growth on the environment and natural resources for decades and how measures like better education and women’s empowerment can slow it. They can be seen here, here (page 162) and here

Conclusion

Conservationist Jane Goodall did not push for depopulation efforts and her speech at a 2020 World Economic Forum event has been taken out of context and misquoted. 

Result: False

Sources
Video analysis
Youtube video, WEF, January 22, 2020


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Kushel HM
Kushel HM
Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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