Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. Les Knight Wishes There Were None. – The New York Times

Buckley interviewed Mr. Knight in Portland and was surprised to find him curiously uplifting.

PORTLAND, Ore. — For someone who wants his own species to go extinct, Les Knight is a remarkably happy-go-lucky human.

“He has regularly hosted meteor shower parties with rooftop fireworks. He organized a long-running game of nude croquet in his backyard, which, it should be mentioned, is ringed by 20-foot-tall laurel hedges. Even Tucker Carlson proved no match for Mr. Knight’s ebullience. During a 2005 interview with Mr. Knight on MSNBC, Mr. Carlson criticized him for espousing “the sickest” of beliefs but then added, “You are one of the cheeriest guests we’ve ever had.”

Mr. Knight, 75, is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which is less a movement than a loose consortium of people who believe that the best thing humans can do to help the Earth is to stop having children.

Mr. Knight added the word “voluntary” decades ago to make it clear that adherents do not support mass murder or forced birth control, nor do they encourage suicide. Their ethos is echoed in their motto, “May we live long and die out,” and in another one of their slogans, which Mr. Knight hangs at various conventions and street fairs: “Thank you for not breeding.”

David Lindsay: I wrote a comment to the following comment:

United States Of The Socialist Republic1h ago

“. . . . This is a good idea. I have four adult children. None of them have kids. The oldest two (40-ish) have decide not to have kids. The youngest two (early 20s) are still trying to figure out what it means to be an adult. While my wife and I would love to have grandchildren, I tend to agree with Mr. Knight. It’s time to start depopulating this planet. I don’t think we should ALL stop having children at once, but limit it to two or less. Not as a government mandate, but voluntarily. It took a long time to get to 8 billion. We’ve built civilizations on the idea of perpetual population growth. If everyone just stopped having children, civilizations would collapse. That would be awful for the survivors. But if we ramped down over centuries, we could eventually get down to a reasonable population. I’m not sure what amount is reasonable, but maybe something under a billion would be a good start.” . . . .


David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT   NYT Reply 

@Seriphussr Good comment, good thoughts. We went from 2 billion to 8 billion since about 1930, just 92 years. That is fast, since it took us 200,000 years to get to 1 billion. It took us about 300 years to get to 2 billion. I read that several scientists have agreed that the possible limit of humans on the planet for sustainablily and biodiversity might be 4 billion. My source might be Edward O Wilson or Elizabet Kolbert. EO Wilson calls us to set aside half the earths real estate for non human species to live in, and he co-founded the Half-Earth Foundation to promote this idea, as well as writing it up in his book Half Earth. \

David blogs at

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