Choosing our own extinction: the better option?

One of the most discussed topics these days is the issue of climate change. Many might have already seen the new documentary on Netflix: A Life On Our Planet. David Attenborough warns people of the threat climate change poses. In his words, we have created a world by humans for humans, without taking into consideration the non-human world. However, he does introduce ways in which we can act better in the future. But would human extinction not just be the best solution for all of these problems?

Whereas many people are aware by now of the threat climate change poses to nature, they may not be as aware of the threat it poses to their own lives. We might be paving the way to our own extinction. For me, this brings up the question of whether this would be a tragedy.

Humans have an enormous influence on the world and are in the process of destroying it further. We seem to have a very hard time finding an equilibrium to live in peace with the world around us. We keep acting as if the world is ours and our place in it is guaranteed.  David Attenborough puts it nicely by saying that as long as we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. But at some point, humans stopped to take care of nature, destroying the equilibrium on earth by driving other species to extinction. Rediscovering this equilibrium is hard, but not impossible according to Attenborough.

The message that Attenborough gives is that there is an urgent problem but that it can be solved by changing our behaviour. If people will change, it will be possible to find an equilibrium again. But will people ever change? Why search for an equilibrium if it is obvious that nature can do without us perfectly well? Wouldn’t it be for the better if humans were not around to destroy the world any more than they already have? In the Netherlands, we’ve now started to sterilize fallow deer because they cause unrest. Do you know who we should sterilize because they’re causing unrest? The human population.

In my opinion, human extinction would not be a tragedy. It would not be a tragedy as long as in the process of becoming extinct we do not damage the world any further. In other words, if were to choose our own extinction, this would not be a tragedy since no one would be hurt by it (the only ones who could feel hurt by it would be us, but once extinct, that hurt does not exist anymore). What I would consider a tragedy, is if we would simply continue damaging the world around us, driving all species to extinction first and after it ourselves. There is a group of people who have decided to actively choose human extinction: The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Les Knight, the founder of this movement explains the idea behind it as follows:

‘’our message is simple: we encourage people to stop procreating so the biosphere might return to its former glory, and everyone already here will be able to live life more abundantly”

Les Knight

Although it might feel weird to think about choosing our extinction, in our day and time, thinking twice about reproducing ourselves is very much necessary. We have to start thinking about having children in a different way, taking into consideration the damage it does to the world around us.