I was running at a local park and started thinking about overpopulation. Today we officially have 6.9 Billion people on this earth, however many estimate that this number is in fact short by as much as a Billion. The issue is if we today 100% to stop how we live our wasteful lives, go green – every single one of us on this earth – there there is data out there that says it would not be enough. So a new line of thinking has brought the ultimate solution “voluntary Human Extinction”
Reprinted: Planet Green Rachel Cernansky 9/09
Some environmentalists advocate for battling climate change by reducing waste and cutting down on carbon emissions by, say, driving or flying less, and eating less meat. Others say the best solution is for humans to wipe themselves out. Overpopulation is killing the planet, and the only way to save it from the path of environmental destruction we’ve already begun, says the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, is to eliminate our impact on it. Zero population is the goal, and a growing number of people are getting behind it. “Another ray of hope shines through the gloom,” says its website, “each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet.”
A recent Oregon State University study found that, in terms of carbon footprint, having even one child is more significant than any amount of recycling, waste reduction, or energy efficiency a person can incorporate into their life. Based on current trends, every child in the U.S. adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the average parent’s carbon footprint–in effect, increasing almost six-fold the emissions that a person will create over a lifetime. The level of impact, however, is directly related to lifespan and an individual’s level of consumption, and thus differs a great deal between nations. So that child born in the U.S., according to the study, will have an impact five times that of a child born in China.
The authors of the study make it clear they are not trying to advocate for any government-initiated population control, but while they do not take a political stance, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement uses this demonstrated impact to stand firmly behind one. It has a growing number of “volunteers,” who refuse to produce any more children and often physically eliminate their ability to do so (including Nina Paley, who had her tubes tied for the cause and will thank you for not breeding), and “supporters,” who agree that reproduction exacerbates the environmental crises we currently face but may feel that extinction, per se, is going too far.
Whatever an individual’s level of personal commitment to the cause, the bottom line for the human extinction movement, says its website, is that when all humans stop breeding, “Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory.” And the success of the movement, for those who are measuring, can be seen “each time one more of us volunteers to breed no more.”
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in comments below!