Les Knight is an extremely happy man, considering the fact that he himself wishes for the extinction of the human species. During a 2005 interview on MSNBC, the host criticized Mr. Knight, who was his guest, for espousing “the sickest” beliefs, but then added: “You’re one of the happiest guests we have ever had».
The 75-year-old man is the founder of the movement Voluntary Human Extinctionin which those involved believe that the best thing people can do to help her Earth is to stop having children.
Mr. Knight added the word “volunteer” decades ago to make it clear that his supporters movement it is not in favor of one mass murder or forced birth control, nor do they encourage suicide. Their ethos is echoed in their motto: “May we live long and disappear”while another of their slogans, which Mr. Knight posts at various conferences and street fairs is: “Thank you for not breeding.”
On November 15, according to the official data – records, the Earth is home to eight billion people. Despite the decline in the birth rate, the number is projected to peak at 10.4 billion in the coming decades, largely due to the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in child mortality.
Mr. Knight is among those who believe that Mr overpopulation is the main factor in climate crisis, but this idea can be dangerous. Poor countries that have the largest share on the planet, such as India, contribute relatively little to the greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet. On the contrary, the “richest” countries with a relatively smaller population such as United States produce most of the pollution that causes global warming.
“The problem that is getting out of control is the consumptionsaid John Wilmoth, director of the United Nations’ population division, who says the focus on limiting population as a possible climate change distracts from the urgent need for everyone to get off fossil fuels as well as more efficient use of reimgs .
The idea that the population must be “controlled” has led to forced sterilizations and proven measures inhumane or have been linked to racist theories. But Stephanie Feldstein, director of population and sustainability at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that while human longevity and health is a positive thing, it comes at a cost to other living things on the planet.
According to official figures, as the human population doubled in the last half century, the wild animal population decreased by 70 percent. “Biodiversity loss can be just as devastating as it unravels the ecosystems we need to survive,” Ms Feldstein said. “We already use almost twice the number of reimgs of those that the Earth can replace in a year.” One of the most effective ways to combat it global warming, say both climate activists and those worried about overpopulation, is to expand access to education for girls around the world, in addition to birth control and family planning. It is worth noting that almost half of all pregnancies worldwide, approx 121 million annually, are involuntary. The Center for Biological Diversity, for its part, distributed a million condoms with an endangered species theme, colorfully packaged with slogans such as “for the sake of the lizard, love the wizard.”
Mr. Knight never had children and did sterilization in 1973 at the age of 25. During this particular operation, the two spermatic vessels – the male spermatozoa – are cut and tied in order to prevent the entry of sperm into the urethra and thus exclude the possibility of impregnating a woman through sexual intercourse. “The lack of freedom not to reproduce,” says Mr. Knight that despite our great achievements, humans they are pure evil for the Earth.
“Look what we’ve done to this planet”Mr. Knight said during an interview in his backyard recently. “We are not a good species”. It is unclear how many supporters are in Mr. Knight or what the extent of her appeal is. After being largely underground, the movement gained popularity when Mr Knight set up a website in 1996. Text-heavy but engaging, the site includes quotes from the philosopher Schopenhauer and cartoons by the artist Nina Paley, as well as arguments against procreation and for adoption. It has been translated into about 30 languages and remains a “refuge” for many.
“It was very gratifying for me that this particular group exists, because one usually, with this kind of philosophy, feels alone,” said 73-year-old Mario Buenfil, who has been involved in the movement for 20 years. However, the words “voluntary human disappearance” often cause reactions.
Commentary on the movement doesn’t seem to faze the affable Mr Knight, who appears clear-eyed and thoughtful. While the founder of the movement, is against the creation of more people, it looks great compassion for those who already exist. A high school substitute teacher for most of his working life, Mr. Knight is treated with love from students. He spends hours every Sunday morning picking up trash from the streets.
During an interview, he stopped to see two spiders basking in the sun on webs twirling between hedgerows and lawn chairs. The sight was cause for celebration, Mr Knight said, after so many creatures were killed during the heat dome in the Pacific Northwest. The self-proclaimed monogamist, he lives alone, but the his girlfriend she stays by and is completely in line with his purpose. “He has no ego and he doesn’t try to pick fights with people,” said Marv Ross, Mr. Knight’s former college roommate and friend. “He does everything with humor, to make the way he gets his message across as entertaining as possible…. It would stop people from getting upset with a joke or a smile.”
As a child he grew up in Oregon and watched lumber companies cut down the state’s forests. After being drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War (he served but was never drafted), he attended the Oregon College of Education and joined the local dept. Zero Population Growth, which cemented his resolve not to have children. “It’s always been because of the ecology, because of the damage that people are doing to environment“, he said. His beliefs were rooted in deep ecology, which challenges assumptions of human dominance and argues that all species are equally important. Mr. Knight came to see humans as the most destructive of invasive species and as super predators. “Because we’re smart enough, we should know enough to finish it,” Mr Knight said.
“People bring up music and art and literature and the great things we’ve done – it’s funny that they never mention the bad things we’ve done,” he continued. “I don’t think the whales will be missing from our songs».
While the United States saw an increase in births during the coronavirus pandemic, reversing the country’s declining birth rate, a 2020 poll found thati one in four Americans who had not had children mentioned her climate change as a reason. Ms. Feldstein said that Mr. Knight managed to get the attention of people and start conversationsbroadcast the NewYorkTimes.
“He stands for so many of the same things as the rest of us, trying to make sure that everyone has the ability, the autonomy and the reimgs they need to choose if and when they will have children“, he said. And although the world’s population is at a record high, Mr Knight said, it is not “falling”.
“I never expected to succeed”, he said. “I think that’s the secret to not burning out,” he concluded.
Source: News Beast
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