The War on Humans

Original Article

During its first century, environmentalism succeeded brilliantly. In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law creating Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. Today, there are 1200 national parks and preserves conserving nature’s beauty around the world.

In the mid-twentieth century, environmentalists led the way as governments confronted unacceptable industrial pollution, created industrial standards to reduce emissions, and set about the important task of cleaning up past messes. Within a few years we were breathing easier, polluted rivers and lakes again became habitable for fish and other wildlife, and toxic waste dumps were remediated.

But beginning in the late 1960s, a subversive misanthropy began to gestate within environmentalism. This view does not see the earth and the fullness thereof—in the Biblical turn of phrase—as ours to develop responsibly for human benefit, but instead castigates humans as a “disease” (or “parasites,” “maggots,” “cancer,” take your pick) afflicting the planet, best treated with the antibiotic of radical human depopulation and implacable opposition to economic growth.

Over the years, this anti-human contaminant leached into the environmental mainstream, to the point that it has become a prominent feature of the most prominent environmental cause of our time, the climate change controversy. Reasonable people can differ on the persuasiveness of the evidence for man-caused global warming and the extent of danger that it might present. But there should be no disagreement that children should not be taught to hate humanity in the cause of preventing a feared climate catastrophe.

But that is precisely the anti-human message too often communicated to the young by global warming warriors. Take the “No Pressure” advocacy ads in support of the “ 10-10 Campaign,” an anti-global warming initiative aimed at convincing people to cut their individual carbon footprint by ten percent and convince ten friends to do likewise.

In one advocacy commercial, an elementary school teacher asks how many of her students are willing to commit to the cause. All but two raise their hand. She smiles at the two dissenters and pushes a big red button: BLAM! They explode so violently and graphically that their classmates are splatted with blood and sheets of flesh.

In a similar vein, the Website of the Australian Broadcasting Network featured a children’s game called “Professor Schpinkee’s Greenhouse Calculator,” a now erased on-line game that determines the age at which the player—remember, this was aimed at children—should die because they had exhausted their individual share of the world’s resources.

Once again, the visual involves explosions—gorily depicting a cartoon pig blowing up in a bloody mess. That imagery was not only violent but told children they are pigs for consuming resources.

Professor Schpinkee was a tough grader. When I played the game I was told I should have died at age 7.4.

Misanthropy in the name of preventing climate change is only the beginning. The “nature rights” movement seeks to grant flora and fauna a “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles”—essentially a right to life that explicitly erases the moral distinction between humans and all other life forms.

The putative rights of nature may also extend to inanimate matter. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Nature announces that the rights of nature are “inalienable . . . without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, origin, use to human beings, or any other state.”

The movement has made astonishing inroads in just a few years. Nature has already been granted “rights” by Ecuador and Bolivia, as well as in some thirty U.S. municipalities, including Santa Monica, California. Ban ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations has thrown his support behind the movement, and nature rights has been proposed for inclusion in an eventual UN treaty to fight climate change.

I could go on and on—and in my new ebook, The War on Humans, I do: Switzerland has declared the dignity of individual rights in its constitution. The “ecocide” movement seeks to punish large scale projects like the Alberta Tar Sands as an international crime akin to genocide and ethnic cleansing. A river in New Zealand has been granted full rights of “personhood,” as an “integrated, living whole” possessing “rights and interests.” Mainstream environmentalists, such as Sir David Attenborough, have extolled China’s tyrannical one-child policy that includes forced abortion and female infanticide.

Declaring war on humans won’t make for a cleaner planet. To the contrary, the green misanthropes harm the cause by undermining environmentalism’s good public standing. It’s time for responsible environmentalists to push the anti-humanists back to the movement’s fringe, where they belong.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.