Here we go again. Newsweek reports—in surprisingly positive terms—on the movement to rid the earth of the vermin species—us:
Environmentalists have their own eschatology—a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us, the 6 billion furiously metabolizing and reproducing human beings polluting its surface. There’s even a group trying to bring it about, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, whose Web site calls on people to stop having children altogether...And “four out of five” of the people he’s told about it, he estimates, thought the idea sounded wonderful. Since we’re headed inexorably toward an environmental crash anyway, why not get it over cleanly and allow the world to heal?The anti-human movement—lets call it anti-humanism—is clearly gaining traction when an MSM outlet of the caliber of Newsweek reports positively about the “intriguing thought experiment” of doing away with all people. To me, respecting such notions—even if in a bemused manner—is a disturbing symptom of a view that evolves all too easily from the abandonment of human exceptionalism.
Over time, though, Weisman’s attitude toward the rest of humanity softened, as he thought of some of the beautiful things human beings have accomplished, their architecture and poetry, and he eventually arrived at what he views as a compromise position: a worldwide, voluntary agreement to limit each human couple to one child. This, says Weisman—who is 60, and childless after the death of his only daughter—would stabilize the human population by the end of the century at about 1.6 billion, approximately where it was in 1900. And then, perhaps, more of the world could resemble Varosha, the beach resort in Cyprus in the no man’s land between the Greek and Turkish zones, where, Weisman writes, thickets of hibiscus, oleander and passion lilac grow wild and houses disappear under magenta mounds of bougainvillea.
Besides, if all the people were gone and earth did return to an alleged paradise: What difference would it make? Only human beings give meaning to the beauty of nature. Only human beings appreciate the grandeur of fauna and flora. Only human beings have stepped sufficiently outside of nature to be able to look back at it as something worth protecting. Indeed, were we to disappear, the remaining denizens of the meaningless planet would just go on and on, suffering through the brutal and desperate tooth and claw struggle for survival utterly indifferent to the awesome beauty that our elimination would bequeath.