RIO DE JANEIRO — CNN founder and United Nations Foundation boss Ted Turner, speaking ahead of the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, called for a global ban on plastic and new UN contraception and education programs to reduce the human population. He also called himself the “king” of a lot of “things” and proposed — presumably joking — a ban on human breathing.
During a series of panel discussions and talks under the banner of “Women Leading the Way,” Turner, a highly divisive billionaire, discussed the need to “save everything": lizards, snakes, frogs, flowers, and more. And after telling the audience about his massive land buys to preserve wildlife, he offered a series of controversial suggestions that he claimed would help save the earth from the alleged ravages inflicted upon it by humanity.
“We could ban breathing,” Turner proposed, smiling. “We could ban human breathing, and that would really take care of the problem.” He held his breath as his Portuguese translator, looking surprised, exclaimed in English: “I hope you’re joking.” Turner laughed it off. But on other issues, he was certainly not kidding.
Plastics, he said, are at the top of his priority list to save the world. “I think what we should do about plastics is ban them,” Turner explained, citing an African president who prohibited plastic bags in the country and his alleged success in improving the environment there. “Rwanda is now as clean as Switzerland,” he claimed. The crowd laughed again.
“On top of that, that worked out so well that he passed another law — got another law passed — that the third Saturday of every month, for two hours, everybody in the country would go out in the village and pick up trash,” Turner noted approvingly, suggesting involuntary government-mandated servitude without a trace of irony in his voice. “I pick up trash myself — I’m a trash picker upper.”
In case there was any doubt left about whether he was serious, Turner reiterated his demands. “That’s one thing we should do, we should ban plastic bags and have re-usable cloth bags,” he said. “Let’s get rid of plastic bags. That’ll solve the problem in the oceans.”
Then it was the audience’s turn — mostly big-government promoting environmentalists — to weigh in on what should be on the list of forbidden goods and services. “What else do we gotta ban?” Turner asked. The crowd answered with a wide range of shouted proposals: McDonald's, Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils, and dozens of other items.
Beyond an obsession with banning things, Turner, who has five children, has attracted strong criticism for one of his most controversial efforts: population control. In the past, for example, he has spoken approvingly of the Communist Chinese dictatorship’s brutal “one-child policy” — he said it was “wise” — which is enforced by mandatory abortions if necessary. Turner has also called for dramatic reductions in the number of humans on the planet under the guise of protecting the environment.
When asked by The New American about dealing with population, however, he took a more moderate approach, though he still offered comments considered morally repugnant to much of the world. “First of all, there are 240 million women that would use birth control if it was available to them, and it would cost about $3.5 billion per year to do that,” he explained. “That’s the first thing we should do is make, raise that money through the United Nations worldwide.”
According to Turner, providing taxpayer-funded contraception and “family-planning” services to women around the world would cost around $3.5 billion — less than 2 percent of the global military budget. “That would cut the population growth in half if the women who wanted birth control devices had availability to them,” he said hopefully.
The rest, Turner believes, can be eliminated by discouraging motherhood. “The other thing that would take care of the other half of the population growth would be to give women equal rights with men, equal education, equal employment opportunities, and give women another choice for their career rather than just having six or eight children like they do in the places where they don’t have this chance,” he said.
According to Turner, universal tax-funded contraception would also do more than simply slash the number of people being born. “We do that, and that’s all we have to do — abortions get cut way down for people that don’t like abortions because if you don’t get pregnant in the first place you don’t need an abortion,” he claimed. “People haven’t figured that one out. That’ll do it.”
Of course, in reality, studies show that increasing the use of contraception and birth control increases the number of abortions — largely because most “family planning” methods aside from abstinence or sterilization are notoriously unreliable. On top of that, research shows that more contraception also accelerates the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Aside from demands for ever-greater coercive efforts to allegedly save the environment, much of the discussion was dedicated to Turner’s own schemes. Environmentalist Sally Ranney, who moderated the talk, discussed Turner’s past support for feminism and “women’s rights” — both believed feminism is essential to “sustainability” — noting that he participated in a prominent march for the issue.
Ranney started off the segment with a quote from the billionaire environmentalist and UN enthusiast advocating the disenfranchisement of men around the globe: "I think men should be barred from holding public office for a hundred years. The men have been running the world for the last thousand years, and they've mucked it up something awful. If women were in control it would be a much more peaceful, prosperous, equitable world in a very short period of time,” Turner was quoted as saying.
“I like women too,” Turner also commented, referring to an earlier statement by ocean-conservation advocate Sylvia Earle, who had joked about a feminist panel discussion prior to their talk that was widely perceived as anti-male. “Now there’s twice as many women in the world as when I was born. Pretty soon they’re going to take over anyway. I just hope it’s not too late.”
Earle, who also participated in the discussion as a fellow “Ocean Elder,” talked about setting up international governance over the oceans. Turner, meanwhile, touted his efforts to save various animals and wilderness areas on land using his own resources.
“There were there 30 million [American buffaloes] when the white man landed in the Americas,” he said. “The white man, during the first 200 years of his arrival, killed the buffalo down, to make room for cattle primarily; I guess would kill ‘em for fun. They killed them from 30 million down to 200 — almost extinct.”
The CNN founder told the audience that he now owns some 56,000 buffalo and around 250,000 prairie dogs — apparently 10 percent of the world’s population — on millions of acres he has acquired over the years. “I wanted to try and save the buffalo,” he explained. “I’m the prairie dog king, and the buffalo king, and a lot of other things, too.”
When The New American attempted to ask further questions about Turner’s views on population control and related issues, his publicist — in what can only be described as a very rude manner — hindered all attempts, saying his boss would not answer any more questions. Turner seemed bewildered but obeyed his staffer.
While a popular figure among many of the Rio+20 attendees, Turner has attracted fierce criticism for his controversial views on humanity and his continuous efforts to expand the size and scope of government at all levels — especially through the UN. His Turner Foundation and his $1 billion pledge to the UN Foundation, which he leads, have both come under fire as well.
Population control, more abortions, and other related issues are near the top of the broader UN agenda — virtually all of the global body's bureaucrats participating in the summit agree on the alleged need to reduce human numbers and increase access to abortion. However, the advocacy on both subjects has drawn fire from the people being targeted under the schemes and critics around the world.
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Photo: UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, left, poses with Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, second left, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, second right, and UN Foundation President Sen. Timothy E. Wirth, right, at the Global Leadership Awards dinner hosted by the UN Foundation and United Nations Association-USA, on Nov. 8, 2011, in New York: AP Images