Environmentalism's Deep Misanthropy

Man is “plague on the Earth,” the BBC’s David Attenborough said recently. At First Things, Wesley J. Smith punches back twice as hard:

That someone of Attenborough’s stature (he has been knighted, among other official honors, and is so popular in the U.K. that he was named one the One-Hundred Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll) would compare us to cholera evidences how mainstream anti-humanism has become within the environmental movement. Indeed, in the wake of the media firestorm about Attenborough’s remark, Population Matters—the U.K.’s largest population control trust, for which Attenborough serves as a patron—affirmed the analogy as “apt,” stating that we are indeed “like a plague of locusts, which consumes all it sees and then dies off.”

This is nothing new for environmentalists. In 1972, the young David Suzuki told students: “One of the things I’ve gotten off on lately is that basically . . . we’re all fruit flies.” He likened us to “maggots” who are “born as an egg” and “eventually hatch out and start crawling around” eating and “defecating all over the environment.”

One might forgive the excessive zeal of a young radical in a socially radical time for calling us embryonic flies. But given the opportunity in 2009 in a Canadian television interview to retract his insulting depiction of humanity, the now world-famous Suzuki demurred, lamenting merely that “Humanity is humanity. . . I just wish they’d stop being so human!”


Don’t worry, efforts to strip man of his humanity are proceeding apace.

And note this, later in Smith’s essay:

This deep misanthropy has found its way into curricula. A few years ago, for example, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website carried a children’s feature called Planet Slayer, featuring “Dr. Schpinkee’s Greenhouse Calculator,” with which kids added up their carbon score. The game ended with a “carbon hog” bloodily exploding. Data then told children how much longer they could live until they used up their respective “share of the planet”—strongly implying a duty to die thereafter in order not to be a plague on the earth.

Bloodily exploding, you say? That sounds very reminiscent of the infamous “No Pressure” PSA out of England in 2010:

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Unfortunately, the new issue of National Review on Dead Tree is only available online to subscribers, but this passage from James Lileks’ column on Obama’s inauguration speech and its reference to global warming squares the circle of the environmentalists’ misanthropy, “Maybe he was throwing this out as a bone to the Left, which believes that people are a scourge on the planet and global warming is bad because it will . . . hurt people.”


But is the misanthropy present because they’re leftwing environmentalists, or simply because they’re leftists? The recent pro-abortion — and pro-Courvoisier — video put out by the Center for Reproductive Rights is self-parodying enough, but that doesn’t stop PJTV’s Alfonzo Rachel from piling on, and making some excellent points about the intense misanthropy of the eugenics-oriented left, which was present decades before radical environmentalism joined the cause in the early 1970s:


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