Despite making meaningful lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, climate change remains a critical issue in Canada and around the world. That's why some Canadians have resorted to "unconventional" means of fighting climate change. Canadians are joining the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" in an effort to reduce their carbon footprints.
According to their website, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) is an environmental protection campaign led by a global community of people who believe that abstaining from reproduction will prevent environmental degradation. The theory is that if people refrain from giving birth to offspring, humankind will gradually become extinct.
The organization's mission entails decreasing the human population to prevent the significant suffering experienced by our global ecosystem that human beings cause and propagate. The group often refers to non-human species extinction and the lack of supply and availability of natural resources as proof that human overpopulation is causing serious and nearly irreparable damage.
A member of the community, Roy Sasano, was interviewed by CP24 to discuss his experience as a voluntary human extinction supporter. Sasano explained that he was sterilized several years ago in order to reduce his carbon footprint, and had engaged in numerous other "green" activities, such as going vegan and decreasing his use of plastic.
Sasano told CP24, "I know quite a few people, especially men, who have chosen to get sterilized and I know women who've done the same. Why should we be creating more people to create more suffering for ourselves and the rest of the planet?" Many VHEMT members are taking to Twitter to express similar sentiments:
Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University, explained to CP24 that individual decisions make a significant impact when opposing climate change.
She told CP24, "Personally, I can't advocate for people not to have children in order to fix climate change because why am I fixing climate change? I'm doing it because of my child and because of everybody else's children. So that's what gives us hope. Again, I'm not having 12 children. I have one child."
Hayhoe also explained that participating in climate-damaging activities in developed countries like Canada as opposed to developing nations presents an additional factor to consider, since Canadians produce more carbon than Zambians per capita.
She said, "If the entire world were like Zambia we would not really have much of a problem. If the entire world was filled with people with the carbon footprint of the average Canadian though, we would have a huge problem."
Another advocate of voluntary human extinction, Alistair Currie, who is the head of campaigns and communications at the U.K.-based charity Population Matters, believes that deciding to give birth to fewer or no children at all is crucial to guarantee future generations have a "decent living" on Earth.
According to the United Nations, the global population will increase by over one billion people within the next 15 years, and will rise to 8.5 billion by 2030. In 2050, the population will increase to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.
"We can keep feeding people in their billions for a long time," explained Currie. "But we cannot do it without the planet staying healthy and sustaining its soils ... water and our forests."
Currie confirmed that more affluent countries generate greater impacts on the climate, adding that an American produces nearly 160 times the amount of carbon as someone residing in Niger.
"That sounds like a more concerning situation when you are looking at both sides ... each person producing more carbon and there being more people."
To learn more about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, visit the community's website.
Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.