Pronounced Vehement, the Voluntary Human Extinction MovementA? (VHEMT) is a group of "extremist hippies" who think that after all the environmental damages done to the planet, humans should stop breeding, and go excting for the betterment of Earth.
The movement was founded in 1991 by Les U. Knight, a substitute middle school teacher in Portland, OR. After working with the environmental group Zero Population Growth in the early seventies, he became disenchanted with their “stop at two” slogan, which he felt wasn’t drastic enough. He imagined a more effective alternative: stop at zero. The VHEMT, according to Knight, is not a “code of behavior to live by” and “it can’t get into arguments, tell people what to do and think, nor get punched for doing so.” It’s only concern is ceasing all human reproduction, to allow the environment to recover.
Knight claims that the idea has always existed in the private thoughts of a few enlightened people throughout history, and that he has merely provided a name and context for it. This is dubious, though many writers and organizations have raged against the environmental dangers of overpopulation: Thomas Malthus’s infamous An Essay on the Principles of Population was published in 1798; numerous population-focused groups formed in the sixties and seventies, including the shady1 Population-Environment Balance and Zero Population Growth; there’s a subreddit for overpopulation (of course there is) founded in 2009 with over ten thousand readers; and the Church of Euthanasia, run by Rev. Chris Korda2, who—following the instructions of an “alien intelligence known as The Being”—advocates for the suicide and cannibalism of everyone on earth. The VHEMT is the only serious organization committed to peacefully annihilating all of humanity.
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