Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT[A]) is an environmental movement that calls for all people to abstain from reproduction in order to cause the gradual voluntary extinction of humankind. VHEMT supports human extinction primarily because, in the group's view, it would prevent environmental degradation. The group states that a decrease in the human population would prevent a significant amount of human-caused suffering. The extinctions of non-human species and the scarcity of resources caused by humans are frequently cited by the group as evidence of the harm caused by human overpopulation.
VHEMT was founded in 1991 by Les U. Knight, an American activist who became involved in the American environmental movement in the 1970s and thereafter concluded that human extinction was the best solution to the problems facing the Earth's biosphere and humanity. Knight publishes the group's newsletter and serves as its spokesman. Although the group is promoted by a website and represented at some environmental events, it relies heavily on coverage from outside media to spread its message. Many commentators view its platform as unacceptably extreme, while endorsing the logic of reducing the rate of human reproduction. In response to VHEMT, some journalists and academics have argued that humans can develop sustainable lifestyles or can reduce their population to sustainable levels. Others maintain that, whatever the merits of the idea, the human reproductive drive will prevent humankind from ever voluntarily seeking extinction.
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