population growth is probably the single most serious long-term
threat to survival. We're in for a major disaster if it isn't
curbed--not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The
more people there are, the more resources they'll consume, the more
pollution they'll create.”
- Prince Philip, co-founder and patron of the WWF
Deep Ecology – The Hidden Agenda
The almost simultaneous emergence
of the Environmental and New Age movements in the 1970s has spawned a
plethora of hybrid ecospiritual philosophies. These include the Gaia
hypothesis, Deep Ecology, Sacred Ecology, Ecosophy, and Creation
Spirituality. These philosophies all overlap with each other to some
extent but tend to focus on different aspects of ‘protecting
the earth from humanity’. Perhaps the most dangerous and
radical is the philosophy known as Deep Ecology.
Deep Ecology is a semi-religious movement that believes modern civilisation’s anthropocentric (human-centered) worldview is the root cause of an imminent complete ecological collapse. Deep ecologists blame humans for this fast-approaching apocalypse and believe that humanity’s destructive activities must be halted immediately, by any means necessary, and at whatever cost.
Deep ecologists argue for a radical reduction in human population, in human "interference" in nature, and in the human standard of living. They argue that primitive peoples lived in spiritual harmony with the natural world, but European industrial culture has severed this harmony and we have become a feral untamed plague on the earth. According to them industrial society is like a cancer spreading through a global host.
In some ways, Deep Ecology has similar roots to Gaia hypothesis, in that humans are part of a sentient super-organism known as Earth. However, Deep ecologists go further than the Gaians in arguing that humanity is genuinely of no more importance than an amoeba or the smallpox virus. Deep Ecology argues that humanity has no hierarchical dominance or any sense of uniqueness. We are just another animal, and a crazed, destructive one at that. While Gaians tend to focus on spiritual aspects of communing with Mother Earth, Deep ecologists focus on the negative aspects of human activity on the earth.
Deep Ecology has greatly influenced grassroots environmentalism, especially in Europe, North America, and Australia. It has spread through “road shows” and ritual processes led by touring movement advocates, through the writings of its architects (often reaching college students in environmental studies courses) and perhaps especially by the dramatic activism of its radical environmental vanguards e.g. Earth First!, Greenpeace, the Earth Liberation Front, and PETA.
The Deep Ecology philosophy was no doubt strongly influenced by The Limits to Growth published by the Club of Rome in 1972. This book claimed that human society was far outstripping the earth’s regenerative capacity and the world was on the brink of an environmental catastrophe. The term ‘Deep Ecology’ was first used by the famous Norwegian philosopher, and ‘mystical Buddhist’, Arne Naess in 1973. He claimed that the science of ecology was shallow and meaningless as it looked at the world from a human perspective, while Naess argued that the human species has the same ‘intrinsic value’ as a bacterium or an earthworm. He stated the eight core principles of Deep Ecology were:
1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
2. Richness and diversity of life-forms contribute to the realisation of these values and are also values in themselves.
3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.
4. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
6. Policies must therefore be changed. The changes in policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.
Naess soon gained a large following in the emerging green movement, especially among the youngest and most radical factions. Deep ecology’s uncompromising rhetoric provided a welcome, radical alternative to the New Age earth-loving, tree-hugging Gaia hypothesis. They saw this new anti-human philosophy as a call to arms against western capitalism. Radical environmental activism flourished during the late 1970s, fuelled by recruits from the anti-Vietnam war and Civil Rights movements. News reports were replete with stories about ‘’hippies” chained to trees and activists burning down animal research facilities.
Radical environmental activism seems to have died a slow death since the 1990s as the wider green movement considered their actions to be counter-productive and harmful to the cause. However, the philosophy behind Deep Ecology has continued to spread and infiltrate the movement. Few people realize that ‘respectable’ environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy were originally formed by radical activists who recognised that their ultimate goals could only be realized through political and social tools
Many of these organisations now act as consultants to the United Nations. Anti-human sentiment and subtle calls for ‘human reproductive control’ are sprinkled throughout Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter. Many prominent environmentalists are now touting population control as the only answer to the world’s problems. Even the original Gaian, Sir James Lovelock, has taken to calling humans “an out of control cancer that Gaia will soon eradicate.”
It appears that the Global Green Agenda includes controlling every aspect of human activity, especially our reproduction. Humans, as a destructive pest species, must have their population tightly controlled, and even significantly reduced according to some:
"The first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size." — Prof Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, p.135
"If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, patron of the World Wildlife Fund
“If the world pollution situation is not critical at the moment, it is as certain as anything can be that the situation will become increasingly intolerable within a very short time. The situation can be controlled, and even reversed; but it demands cooperation on a scale and intensity beyond anything achieved so far.“ - The Fairfield Osborne Lecture by HRH Prince Philip
“I don't claim to have any special interest in natural history, but as a boy I was made aware of the annual fluctuations in the number of game animals and the need to adjust the cull to the size of the surplus population.“ - Preface to Down to Earth by HRH Prince Philip
"A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal."
- Ted Turner, CNN founder and UN supporter
"Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing."
- David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club
"In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill ... All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself."
- Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution, pg.75