Les Knight, a climate activist in Portland, Oregon, has a novel solution for improving the environment: eradicate the human race.
In an article in the UK's The Guardian newspaper, Knight detailed his five-decade long journey of advocating for an end to mankind.
Fifty years ago, I concluded that the best thing for the planet would be a peaceful phase-out of human existence. We're causing the extinction of hundreds of thousands of other species. With us gone, I believe ecosystems will be restored and there will be enough of everything. No more fighting over resources.
Surprised, Knight conceded his idea "wasn't as well received" as he hoped. Still, the climate activist said he led by example and voluntarily had himself sterilized in the 1970s.
"At 25, I wanted to show I was serious. A medical school gave me a discounted vasectomy in exchange for being a student doctor's first try at the procedure, which was successful," he wrote.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Project
Then, in 1980, Knight settled in Portland where he founded the Voluntary Human Extinction Project. "Our message is simple," he wrote, "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."
Knight says his organization has a global presence. "We have active volunteers across the world, from India to Mexico," he wrote while lamenting how his vasectomy has limited his dating life.
"In my own relationships, I've always explained that pregnancy is impossible," Knight said. "Marriage never made sense to me anyway: I would have missed getting to know many wonderful women had I stuck with one."
Attacks capitalism, says it will be a "magnificent world" without humans
The climate activist said that couples limiting themselves to just one child is not good enough. "Procreation today is the moral equivalent of selling berths on a sinking ship," he wrote.
Knight said his motivations have also changed. "I was a deep ecologist at first, caring more about our impact on the ecosphere than human needs," but now the Portland-based activist's concerns extend beyond the environment.
"I've become more concerned about any new humans being brought into existence," he declared. "It's true that society would be greatly diminished without children, but it isn't right to create them just because we like having them around."
Unsurprisingly, Knight also attacked American capitalism. "We don't need to breed more wage slaves to prop up an obsolete system," he wrote, concluding the world will be a better place without human beings.
"If we go extinct, other species will have a chance to recover. I'll never see the day when there are no humans on the planet, but I can imagine what a magnificent world it would be – provided we go soon enough," he said.