Sir David Attenborough, the legendary broadcaster most famous for narrating BBC documentary series such as Planet Earth and Life, has spoken out against humanity's effect on the world he has covered for the past six decades. In excerpts from an interview with the Radio Times, the 86-year-old Attenborough says that humans are a "plague on the earth," and that population control will be necessary to curb rampant growth across the globe.

"It's not just climate change; it's sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.

We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that's what's happening. Too many people there. They can't support themselves — and it's not an inhuman thing to say. It's the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a co-ordinated view about the planet it's going to get worse and worse."

According to estimates by the United Nations, Earth's population reached seven billion around October 31st, 2011, and many saw the milestone as a harbinger of unsustainable growth. Paul Ehrlich, president of Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology, told Live Science that he "completely agrees" with Attenborough's assessment, "as does every scientist who understands the situation."