Before we turn to more optimistic
topics, let's take a look at the website of the Voluntary Human
Extinction Movement
(VHEMT), whose creed is "Phasing out the
human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's
biosphere to return to good health." Are they serious? Not
serious, exactly, but "vehement": "Returning Earth to
its natural splendor and ending needless suffering of humanity are
happy thoughts — no sense moping around in gloom and doom."

Serious or not, someone has put a lot
of work into the site. While not pretty, there are versions in 17
languages, including Catalan and Slovenian, both languages which are
in danger of dying out with their population — evidence, perhaps,
that VHEMT is on the job.

Naturally, so dramatic a solution to
environmental problems raises a few
troublesome questions — and all are answered comprehensively on the
website. For example, "Won't another species come along and do
the same thing after we're gone?"

It
isn't impossible that another species will come along and do as we
are, just highly unlikely… E.O. Wilson wrote, "Darwin's dice
have rolled badly for Earth. It was a misfortune for the living world
in particular, many scientists believe, that a carnivorous primate
and not some more benign form of animal made the breakthrough."
We have an opportunity to prove we can behave benignly despite our
biological heritage. We may never be able to stop fighting with each
other, exploiting the natural world, or giving in to other primal
urges, but we can stop breeding and eventually our nature will be
history.

 
The
most frequently asked question is "Why don't you just kill
yourself?" VHEMT has a very measured response to this
provocative query:

It’s
hard enough just to get people to consider not breeding. Advocating
suicide, by any method besides old age, would be a particularly hard
sell… Shortening an existing person’s life by a few decades
doesn’t avoid as many years of human impact as not creating a whole
new life — one with the potential for producing more of us. We have
a responsibility to help the world as much as we’re able before we
die. Leaving the work for others would be irresponsible. VHEMT is a
cause to live for not to die for.

There's
lots more, including links to a Facebook page and designs for tatoos for those who are truly committed. Definitely a site which deserves to be much better known.
~
Thanks to Richard
Umbers.

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.