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Environmentalists, Misanthropy, and Hypocrisy

Kenai Lake, Alaska - Some of us actually live out in nature. (Credit: Ward M. Clark)

Hypocrisy and activism seem to go hand in hand, and environmental activists certainly fit that mold. From Al Gore’s mansion to John Kerry’s private jet, they are big believers in the “Do as I say, not as I do” school of thought.

There are those among the environmental movement who just don’t like people, as well — except, of course, for the people they see in the mirror every morning.

Anti-humanism has been part of the environmentalist movement for decades. For example, as far back as the 1970s, Canadian green radical David Suzuki denigrated humans as “maggots” that walk around “defecating on the planet.” When offered a chance to take that back in an interview ten years ago, Suzuki refused. Even the staid David Attenborough proclaimed us to be “a plague on the earth.”

This deep misanthropy continues to spread. Now, a new book — Homo Ecophagus — argues that we are a “cancer” that will make ourselves extinct.

Homo ecophagus,” I might point out, literally means “Humans That Eat the Environment.” This is, of course, as nutty as squirrel poop. The problem is environmental radicals want to take this mainstream.

Lest readers dismiss the author and the interviewer as fringe, anti-humanism has become a hallmark of environmentalism. It is also becoming official government policy. Food, fuel, electricity, and other shortages are being created intentionally by policy-makers that will adversely impact human wellbeing and thriving. For example, Ireland is planning on culling up to 200,000 dairy cows to combat global warming. The U.S. is choking its own energy independence. Developing nations remain mired in destitution. Geological features are being granted human-type rights in the nature-rights movement, while activities such as shale-oil extraction is denigrated as “ecocide,” which activists are striving to criminalize internationally as the “5th crime against peace,” akin to genocide and ethnic cleansing.

This isn’t a new thing. Some years ago, I became aware of a nut who goes by the pseudonym “Les U. Knight,” who is a high school substitute teacher living in (where else?) Portland, Oregon. Knight is the primary proponent of something called “Voluntary Human Extinction.” The group is:

…an environmental movement that calls for all people to abstain from reproduction in order to cause the gradual voluntary extinction of humankind. VHEMT supports human extinction primarily because, in the group’s view, it would prevent environmental degradation.

Mr. Knight explains his theory thus:

Fifty years ago, I concluded that the best thing for the planet would be a peaceful phase-out of human existence. We’re causing the extinction of hundreds of thousands of other species. With us gone, I believe ecosystems will be restored and there will be enough of everything. No more fighting over resources. The idea wasn’t as well received as I had hoped.

You have to love that little admission in the last sentence:  “The idea wasn’t as well received as I had hoped.” Ten points for a tiny bit of self-awareness.

While this guy is unarguably a nut, he’s on the edge of a manner of thinking that appeals to all too many. There’s a slang term for many “environmental activists” who have never been out in the actual environment, and that term is “watermelon” – green on the outside, red on the inside. It’s appropriate, and it’s because most of these people aren’t content to apply these ideas to their own lives — which, by and large, they don’t. No, they use the claimed crises – and there is always another crisis waiting to be trotted out – to force you to apply their ideas to your life, as well.

I can’t speculate as to the lifestyle of the anonymous Mr. Les U. Knight, except to note that “substitute teacher” isn’t an occupation that will put you in the top 10 percent income bracket. Many of these people do, however, live pretty plush lifestyles. In many cases, like the above-mentioned David Attenborough (who, despite his environmental screwiness, remains an engaging narrator), they literally live the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Nutty ideas abound, of course, but some of these nutty ideas are being pushed by government and the media, although in the interest of fairness, I should point out that most in the government and media aren’t pushing human extinction, only impoverishment.

Humans may well be the cause of our own extinction one day, but it won’t be fossil fuels, agriculture, or logging that does it. A major nuclear war might; an engineered bio-weapon certainly could. But the “human extinction” people may see that as a feature, not a bug. And yet they, like so many environmental nuts, aren’t practicing what they preach. They may hate humans, but they clearly don’t hate themselves.

Nancy Lake, Alaska. (Credit: Ward Clark)

It’s sad to imagine a world with no people. Nobody to see the world’s beauty, to appreciate warm breezes, sunny days, bright crisp winter mornings, the sky’s reflection on a still lake, or warm surf rolling in on warm, golden sands. We are the only creatures on this planet with the capacity to appreciate these things. We do appreciate these things. Everyone wants clean air and clean water; by and large, we have that, and anyone (like me) who remembers the state of the environment as recently as the late Sixties knows how far we have come. Humans can and do live responsibly on the Earth, mostly especially in the developed Western nations, which, strangely, are always the ones to draw the wrath of environmental radicals.

When it comes to the people who advocate for human extinction, I can only refer to them to a leadership principle I learned in the Army:

Lead by example.

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