Interview: Morgan Freeman on lemurs and over-population

Morgan Freeman Lemur
Morgan Freeman poses with his best friend, a lemur. / Getty

Morgan Freeman steps behind the voice-over microphone once again for “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” giving another nature documentary his “March of the Penguins” treatment — only the gig left him with more questions than answers. For example: Do people in Madagascar eat lemurs? He got a sobering answer at the film’s press conference, learning that, due to worsening poverty on the island nation, people are actually eating the adorable creatures. So naturally we wanted to talk more about that with him.

So people are actually eating lemurs now.

It’s not f—ing OK. Yeah, people are poor. I don’t know what we’re going to do about that. There are too many of us, I think. And because there are too many of us we are going to continue to grow, and we grow even faster because population growth is exponential. If you’ve got two people creating babies, next thing you know you’ve got four creating babies, and then eight and then 16 and then… So it’s a problem. And I just read about how these countries get really concerned if the population starts to decline because they suffer economically.

With Japan, right?

Yeah, yeah. They’re concerned about the leveling off of the population growth. As long as your population is growing, I suppose, you’re getting a bigger consumer base. That’s not really what we need, is it?

It’s not a topic people like talking about, though, population control.

Well, they won’t until it’s too late. And we won’t know it’s too late until it’s too late. We’re at 7.3 billion — probably more than that now. And as I read it, in about 15 to 18 years there will be 8 billion.

What do we do with all of them?

Well eventually there just won’t be enough food. We’re turning everything on the planet into food for humans. Daniel Quinn, who wrote “Ishmael,” he talks about the difference in humans between “takers” and “leavers.” Leavers are those people who live simplest — the forest people of Borneo, the leaf people of the Amazon, the Tasadays in the Philippines. These are people who still live in the forest, and they don’t require much. They don’t have cars. S—, I’ve got three cars and an SUV.

That’s a lot of cars.

Yeah. My point being, we’re takers. We’re just gobbling up s—. And we’re encouraged to do it. It’ll be too late before we know it’s too late.

Have you thought about ways you yourself can pare things down?

Well, one of my cars is a Tesla, so I’ve reduced my carbon footprint somewhat. They’re awesome, awesome cars. Very, very nice. A technological marvel. It’s key-less — but you have to have a key.

It senses you.

Yeah. And it tells you it senses your presence. Door handles come out, car lights up, it’s like, “Oh! It’s happy to see me!”

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick


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