Thursday, 20 July 2006

QUOTE: "The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing..."

I mentioned yesterday in the debate about Charlie Pedersen's speech some pretty horrifying quotes from some relatively mainstream environmentalists. A commenter challenged me, arguing that mainstream environmentalism isn't as misanthropic as I've claimed.  So here, first of all, is what I said in response, and then you can read those quotes.  Prepare to be horrified.
It's manifestly clear that mainstream environmentalism doesn't put human beings first (indeed, quite the opposite), and values instead the so-called 'intrinsic values' of wild nature and natural processes over the human values of human wealth and happiness. In fact, this is characteristic of the 'deep ecology' mindset that is now mainstream. "Humans," says my commenter, "are important primarily in their capacity to provide stewardship for the eco-system." As Phil H. says in response, "Why?" We're primarily important because we get to sweep the rain forests and rake the beaches? Is that the real answer to the question, "Why are we here?"
If you want examples of mainstream ecologists who subscribe to a 'dep ecology' mindset, I could mention how mainstream environmentalists opposed the fighting of the fires that tore apart Yellowstone Park -- these fires were "natural" and so sacrosanct; I could mention the opposition by environmentalists to the harvesting of the Pacific yew from 1989 to 1997 in a bid to develop paclitaxel (Taxol), a revolutionary anti-cancer drug; or the local Green party's opposition to Ruakura's research to find a cure for multiple scleroris; or the worldwide opposition to the production of Golden Rice, which can help with third-world anaemia, blindness and death.
Or I could point out that mainstream environmentalists are happy to continue with the DDT ban, despite it not even being clear that DDT is toxic to birds as claimed, and despite the ban arguably being responsible for the deaths by malaria of around 55 million people. That's more than Mao Zedong managed to kill!
Or I could just offer you these views below from environmentalists within the mainstream, and that make clear that positions I've mentioned above are not surprising, given the mainstream environmentalist's view that human beings come second, at best. 
  • World Wildlife Fund leader Prince Phillip of England told the UN in 1990 he wished to be reincarnated as "a killer virus to lower population levels."
  • Honorable representatives of the great saurians of older creation, may you long enjoy your lilies and rushes, and be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty. - A benediction to alligators by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, quoted with approval as "a good epigram" by environmentalist Bill McKibben in 'The End of Nature' (New York: Random House, 1989) pg. 176
  • We have wished...for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us back into the stone age... - Environmentalist Stewart Brand in 'The Whole Earth Catalog' [Stewart might recently have seen the light, if his recent comments are anything to go by, that that "Over the next ten years ... the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power."]
  • You think Hiroshima was bad, let me tell you, mister, Hiroshima wasn't bad enough! - Faye Dunaway as the voice of "Mother Earth/Gaia" in the 1991 WTBS series 'Voice of the Planet'
  • Given the total, absolute, and final disappearance of Homo Sapiens, then, not only would the Earth's Community of Life continue to exist but ... the ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty 'Good riddance!' - Paul W. Taylor, ethics professor at City University, NYC, in 'Respect for Nature' (Princeton Univ Press, 1989) pg. 115
  • If you'll give the idea a chance ... you might agree that the extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions if not billions of other Earth-dwelling species. - The 'Voluntary Extinction Movement,' quoted by Daniel Seligman in 'Down With People,' in 'Fortune' magazine, September 23, 1991
  • The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing... - Editorial in 'The Economist,' December 28, 1988
  • A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people ... We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer... We must have population control ... by compulsion if voluntary methods fail. - Paul Ehrlich, 'The Population Bomb' (Ballantine Books 1968) pg. xi, pg. 166
  • ...Man is no more important than any other species ... It may well take our extinction to set things straight. - David Foreman, 'Earth First!' spokesman, quoted by M. John Fayhee in 'Backpacker' magazine, September 1988, pg. 22
  • I see no solution to our ruination of Earth except for a drastic reduction of the human population. - David Foreman, 'Earth First!,' quoted by Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic, April 30, 1990, pg. 18
  • If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS. - from a good old Earth First! periodical, quoted in 'Access to Energy,' Vol.17 No.4, December 1989
  • As radical environmentalists, we can see AIDS not as a problem but a necessary solution. - 'Earth First!' periodical, quoted in 'Planet Stricken' by Alan Pell Crawford and Art Levine, Vogue magazine, September 1989, pg. 710
  • I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded the Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We're still waiting for someone to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable. - "Mainstream" environmentalist David Brower, quoted by Virginia Postrel in 'Reason' magazine, April 1990, pg. 24
  • We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have...more value - to me - than another human body, or a billion of them...Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. - David M. Graber, National Park Service biologist, in a review of Bill McKibben's 'The End of Nature,' in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 22, 1989, pg. 9
  • Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society...all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing. - Herr David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, quoted in 'The Coercive Utopians' by Rael Jean Isaac and Erich Isaac (1985 Regnery Gateway Inc.)
  • I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds. - Paul Watson, a founder of 'Greenpeace,' quoted in 'Access to Energy' Vol.17 No.4, December 1989
  • We, in the Green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which the killing of a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year old children to Asian brothels. - Carl Amery of the Green Party, quoted in 'Mensch & Energie,' April 1983
  • A reporter asked Dr. Wurster whether or not the ban on the use of DDT would not encourage the use of the very toxic materials, Parathion, Azedrin and Methylparathion, the organo-phosphates, [and] nerve gas derivatives. And he said 'Probably'. The reporter then asked him if these organo-phosphates did not have a long record of killing people. And Dr. Wurster, reflecting the views of a number of other scientists, said 'So what? People are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them; and this is as good a way as any.' - Victor J. Yannacone, Jr., lawyer and co-founder of the Environmental Defense Fund, on EDF co-founder Dr. Charles Wurster, at a May 20, 1970 speech at the Union League Club in New York City. Published in the Congressional Record as Serial No.92-A of Hearings on Federal Pesticide Control Act of 1971, pg.266-267
  • Shit happens. They were in the croc's territory. - A commenter at 'Not PC' in response to the death of two human beings by crocodile attack.
TAGS: Environment, Conservation, Ethics, Quotes


  1. You really should have more sympathy with the croc. After all it is a sluggish animal which takes a huge bite, and rarely moves except when it wants to kill something.

    What's more the unprovoked bite rate in the US is about one bite for every 2.4 million residents- which is far better than yours.

  2. Another reason for sympathy : it's a protected animal and it is illegal to capture, feed, molest or kill them without a permit.

    Not that that fact deters some people

  3. Ui mai koe ki ahau he aha te mea nui o te ao, Mâku e kî atu he alligator, he crocodile, he Ebola virus!


  4. I kind of agree with the last one. Personal responsibility and all that.

  5. Tanslation? It's the Maori proverb from the head of Ruth's blog, paraphrased slightly to reflect her views as given here and elsewhere.

  6. Rockhead

    I find it interesting that those who feel that there are too many people on this earth are not willing to put into practice on themselves what they wish on others.


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