Six days ago a man named James J. Lee was shot to death by US police. Armed with a gun and explosive devices, he had held three people hostage at the offices of a media company for four hours.
Lee appears to have been obsessed with the harm humans are allegedly inflicting on the planet. He felt Discovery Communications was doing too little to address this concern and, after peaceful picketing outside the building failed to accomplish his goal, he escalated.
Lee was mentally ill first and an environmentalist second. Lots of other folks no doubt experienced an “awakening” while watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. But they didn’t respond by arming themselves and threatening third parties.
He is not, therefore, representative of environmental activists. He is an individual whose mental health issues tragically led to his destruction.
That being said, there is a chilling similarity between Lee’s views and those expressed by leading environmentalists. In January, I drew attention to the fact that The Ecologist, a magazine that claims to have set the environmental agenda for 40 years, said some ugly things in its debut editorial.
Humans, it claimed, are planetary parasites. We are an infection, a “disease [that] has spread and is still spreading.” The editorial discusses “swarming human masses” and says that we, the food we produce, and the artifacts we manufacture all amount to waste products that make no ecological sense and serve no ecological purpose. As the last line of that 1970 editorial reveals, The Ecologist believes that halting “the spread of the disease with which [man] is afflicting the biosphere is an admirable goal.
Sorry to point this out, but these views are pretty much indistinguishable from those of Lee – as expressed on his website, SaveThePlanetProtest.com. He wants humans to:
live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution.
Much like The Ecologist, he believes human civilization should cease expanding and should be “reversed.” He thinks television shows should “stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants.” Instead, “programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility” should be aired. He believes humans to be “the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and [that we] are wrecking what’s left of the planet.”
Back in January, I argued that The Ecologist‘s perspective is profoundly anti-humanitarian. So is Lee’s. He explicitly declares that the “planet does not need humans” and that:
Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
James J. Lee was off his rocker. But my friends in the environmental movement need to explain how they can dismiss him as a madman and yet continue to revere a publication that expressed virtually identical views in its first editorial.