At its core, stewardship of the environment is an important ideal. At its extremes, it has become an anti-human ideology.

Dr. Robert Zubrin explains in detail with extensive references in his book Merchants of Despair. From the forward:

Antihumanism is not environmentalism, though it sometimes masquerades as such. Environmentalism, properly conceived, is an effort to apply practical solutions to real environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, for the purpose of making the world a better place for all humans to thrive in. Antihumanism, in contrast, rejects the goal of advancing the cause of mankind. Rather, it uses instances of inadvertent human damage to the environment as points of agitation to promote its fundamental thesis that human beings are pathogens whose activities need to be suppressed in order to protect a fixed ecological order with interests that stand above those of humanity.

It’s that inverted order of things that’s causing controversy in the scientific and academic community. And in the culture. And Zubrin challenges it in his ideological throwdown.

Antihumanism has recently enormously expanded its influence by raising hysteria about global warming. This phenomenon, by lengthening the growing season and increasing rainfall and the availability of atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, has actually significantly enhanced the abundance of nature, to the benefit of both agriculture and the wild biosphere alike.


Nevertheless, according to antihumanism, punitive measures, especially harmful to the world’s poor, are required to suppress mankind’s activity and economic growth in order to deal with this putative threat.


That antihumanism should propose such global oppression as a response to an improvement in the Earth’s climate should not be surprising, since…similar vicious antihuman solutions to fictitious problems have been repeatedly advocated and implemented by antihumanism’s followers for two centuries–that is, since long before global warming was an issue at all.

And Zubrin says it has a brutal history. Which continues to play out with a lot of social compliance these days under the guise of good and noble causes.

Jarring. Stewardship of the environment is a good and noble cause. However, he warns,

some of today’s most fashionable political and social ideas are essentially replays of earlier ideological fads that have been continually used over the last two centuries to motivate and justify oppression, tyranny, and genocide.

And this nuclear engineer and contributor to The New Atlantis pulls together all these ideas and misdeeds and morphed sensibilities into a book that intends to stop or slow history from repeating itself, and eliminating the humans from the story.

While disputes about overpopulation, racial equality, pesticides, resource limites, nuclear power, biotechnology, and global warming may appear to be about different subjects, they are ultimately but different faces of the same conflict: a fundamental debate over the worth of humankind.

It is a debate we need to win.

And that’s just in the preface.

I interviewed Dr. Zubrin last week before I even knew we were headed into Earth Day weekend (it didn’t get a lot of press this year, with all the political scandals and controversies brewing). A scientist who was listening on radio wrote me a grateful, detailed email commenting on the excesses Zubrin has long written about and the need to dispute false claims. A women who identified herself as ‘a radical environmentalist who happens to be pro-life’ also wrote me, asking for a clear treatment of the issues.

We clearly need to have this discussion. Dr. Zubrin is coming back to continue the conversation. His book has 49 pages of footnotes, and interesting chapters on population control and “pseudo-science.” I’m still wading through it.

Meanwhile, the Population Research Institute has been airing some provocative work  on the myth of overpopulation.

And this time last year

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....