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Don’t bother to plant; the world is about to end
Spring is a time of hope, rebirth and renewal - a time when farmers take to the fields to plant another crop, full of optimism that the yields will be good and the prices high. Yet, there is a growing number of our fellow humans who believe it is all futile because civilization is about to end. Furthermore, they see the impending Armageddon as a good thing.

Doomsday predictions are not new; check the tabloids in any supermarket checkout line and you will find headlines predicting the end of the world, along with the latest UFO and Elvis sightings.

Increasingly, however, Malthusian scenarios have been coming from mainstream academia and media.

Take, for example, Eric Pianka, the professor at the University of Texas who wants to kill off 90 percent of the world’s population.

Pianka, a zoologist, has received media attention, academic acclaim, along with tons of hate mail and a death threat, for his paper and subsequent speech suggesting the elimination of most of the human race. Pianka states the world would be a better place without most humans in it. He advocates the reduction of more than 6 billion people. He even has some ideas on how this can be accomplished. He tells his students that a worldwide spread of Ebola virus or a pandemic of Avian Flu would do the trick.

What is really scary is that this nutcase is serious and is being taken seriously by fellow scientists and the media. Pianka received a standing ovation when he presented his plans to the Texas Academy of Science meeting. Nicknamed “Dr. Doom” by students, his Biology 357 Ecology class is very popular. What I find even scarier is that these students are getting college credit for this course on mass genocide.

Pianka is just the latest in a long line of predictors of doom. Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in 1968, which convinced many unthinking people that there are just too many of us around.

He predicted that in the 1970s and 1980s millions of people around the world would starve to death and our world would be plunged into a barbaric fight for survival. The fact that Ehrlich’s logic was faulty and his predictions failed to materialize has not stopped him from preaching his nonsense and from being listened to by many.

The concept that people are the problem and that we are all just in the way is a recurring theme in the radical environmental movement. A few years ago, I wrote a column on the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. This group, whose motto was “live long and die out,” advocated that humans should stop reproducing so the human race would eventually be extinct and the world could return to its “natural” state.

Since then things have taken a sinister turn with the adoption of a more aggressive effort to remove humanity from the earth. It would be easy to dismiss these people as crackpots, but they are gaining acceptance and credibility, and, as farfetched as their ideas sound, they are being taken seriously.

James Hansen of NASA recently told CBS 60 Minutes, “Humans control the earth’s climate.” Thus, we are to blame for hurricanes and Global Warming. Time magazine’s recent cover story on global warming states that “it is a near certainty that humans are causing Global Warming.” Time did not back up this claim with any evidence, yet it perpetuates the myth that humanity is the problem.

Anyone who has spent time on the land or working with nature understands that humans do not control the climate. Anyone with half a brain understands that people are part of the natural order of things and were placed here to play a very specific role. Anyone who will honestly look at the facts can see we are not running out of food, not running out of resources, and not killing the planet.

So, go ahead, plant those crops, plan for the future and dream those dreams, for there is a bright future for humanity as long as Pianka and his ilk don’t get control.

This farm news was published in the April 19, 2006 issue of Farm World.