The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) is an environmental movement that supports human extinction. The VHEMT believes that we can help prevent environmental degradation by abstaining from reproduction.
Although the VHEMT’s views may seem a little extreme or even ludicrous to some people, they do however make some very valid points. Aside from saving the environment and wanting to avoid the costs, is there really even one logical and sensible reason to have children? Obviously‘because I want to’ does not count . Neither does the fact that you are getting old or that your maternal instincts are acting up.
For most people, having children is simply just a way of living up to what society and family expect from them. Not to mention the constant assault from veiled social controls in the form of conventional celebrations like Mother’s Day, that implicitly promote subconscious notions of what we as a society really think women ought to be or live up to. The other excuse that most of us use is when we try and convince ourselves that submitting to the blind wills of our instinctual needs actually makes sense, simply because we are doing it so that our family names or genes can live on. But is your family name really that important? And are your genes really thatspecial? The other problem is that your instinctual needs do not really care about what is best for you as an individual, nor do they care about what you really want in life. For the most part you are actually letting blind instinctual agendas shape and determine how your life is going to be like, and not the other way around.
Some might even argue that reproduction is an imperative responsibility. That is, your genes are somehow special and important because your ancestors endured and survived plagues, wars, famine, and centuries of deaths to deliver their genes to you today, so naturally you own it to them to make them last longer.
Then again, there is always another way to pay back your ancestors. Simply by living a more meaningful life and doing something important or worthwhile that will leave a lasting legacy of your time here on this planet.
If it still is a question of responsibility then maybe you need to first ask yourself to whom or what should you and your ancestors really owe gratitude to. Obviously your ancestors as well as your genes did not survive on their own, they owe it to the hundreds and thousands and millions of people who co-existed with them within their tribes, villages and communities throughout the generations. So technically speaking you owe your existence to the entire human race. More so, the human race itself ultimately owes its existence to the animals, resources and planet that helped sustain it.
So the only real responsibility or obligation that you have is to the planet, not just your genes or immediate family. Thinking individually, yes, you have every right to reproduce and propagate your genes. But at some point you have to ask yourself, is living, thinking and making decisions based solely on your own individual needs always the best and most ethical way to live?
The planet now hosts close to 7 billion people, the human population is said to be increasingexponentially every year. Rapid population growth has placed incredible stress on Earth’s resources. Not to mention that the demand for those resources is also increasing.
But is overpopulation really happening or is it just a myth?
Is it important that we always remain of all ideas and notions in order to better judge their truth and credibility. However we must always be careful of lapsing into obscurantism.
The only way to live consciously and ethically is to always remain critical.
Despite the fact that human overpopulation may be over estimated or a myth, it still does not change the fact that we do have a problem of sustainability. For instance though more than two-thirds of the planet is covered with water, only a small fraction – around 0.3% – is available for human use and reuse. And no more of this renewable fresh water is available today than existed at the dawn of human civilization. Global demand for water has tripled since the 1950s, but the supply of fresh drinking water has been declining because of over-pumping and contamination. Half a billion people now live in water-stressed or water-scarce countries, and that number is steadily increasing.
We can’t solve all the problems in the world, but sometimes it’s the little things that we do, that make a difference. The VHEMT ‘s views may seem a little bit judgemental and exclusive, especially to people who already have children. But the important thing here is that sometimes your choices do have a larger effect on the world than you would like to believe. So in the end the most ethical thing you can do for the planet and the environment is by learning to live more critically and consciously.