Snuff It #3
GAIA Liberation Front
Statement of Purpose
(A Modest Proposal)
The Gaia Liberation Front is a concept, not an organization. You become
a member of the GLF by joining us in carrying out our mission, which is the
total liberation of the Earth.
The first thing is to get our message out:
Our object is not merely the continuation of life on
Earth--which is, for all we know, the only life in the universe--but the
preservation of the planetary ecosystem (Gaia) with as much of its
integrity and variety as can be saved. (1)
The Humans have been usefully compared to a cancer
(2) or a virus. (3) But it seems to us
that the must fruitful way of viewing the Humans is as an alien species
(which is why we use the definite article and the capital H). The Humans
evolved on the Earth, but have become alienated from it. They are
conscious of their alienation, drawing a distinction between the Human
and the natural, and proud of it.
Like the alien invading species of science fiction, the Humans possess
a superior technology (superior, in this case, to any of the defenses that
Gaia can throw up against them).
Every species tends to multiply, but while every other
species stops multiplying when it overshoots the carrying capacity of its
ecosystem, the Humans use their technology to keep raising the planet's
carrying capacity for their own species (and a few other species that they
exploit), (4) at ever higher levels of consumption. They
are even able to ward off infectious diseases, which keep every other
species from attaining overly high population densities.
The planet's carrying capacity for a few species can be raised only at
the expense of other species, and, eventually, only at the risk of a
general ecological collapse. Cumulatively, the evidence is overwhelming
that we are rapidly approaching that stage. For all we know, we may have
already passed the point of no return.
The Humans' technological propensities are probably genetic, because
their basic technologies--agriculture animal husbandry, metallurgy,
writing and mathematics, hierarchy and bureaucracy--have all appeared
independently more than once. The Humans come into full view, then, as
a hostile alien species, programmed to kill the planet.
Because of the uncertainties involved, we can ensure Gaia's survival
only through the extinction of the Humans as a species.
- Q. But don't you believe in the interconnectedness and inherent worth of
everything in nature?
A. Yes, but the Humans have disconnected themselves from everything else
in nature, so that principle no longer applies to them. Anyway, there's
no way to preserve a species that's programmed to kill the planet. The
only question is whether that species can become extinct before it takes
the planet with it.
- Q. Wouldn't it be enough to reduce the Human population to some optimum
A. No, because the first chance it got it would bounce right back. The
cancer analogy is useful here: what's the optimum number of cancer cells
in a body?
- Q. But what if the Humans went back to a paleolithic way of life?
A. You're forgetting that the paleolithic experiment has already been
tried, and that about ten thousand years ago it failed. Their technology,
after all, is in their genes. The technologies that have appeared in the
past could be expected to appear again, and this time their reappearance
would be accelerated by any surviving knowledge of formerly existing
But the appearance of specific technologies is less predictable.
In particular, the specific technology that now makes it possible for us
to--assuming we still have time--head off this crisis (more on this below)
might not be available for dealing with the next one.
- Q. Shouldn't we make an exception for tribal peoples, who are living in
harmony with nature? (Another version: Shouldn't we make an exception
for non-Europeans, who were corrupted by Europeans?)
A. No, because they're all Humans. Remember that those
basic technologies were invented independently by Humans of different
races, in the new world as well as in the old. And remember that the
Humans, Europeans included, were all tribal once. Anyway, there are no
Humans left on the planet who are still totally ignorant of those technologies.
Sure, some Humans picked up certain technologies from other Humans, but that
doesn't matter to the Earth. (5) If any Humans are
left, they'll start the whole thing over again. Our policy is to take no
That's it. You can be sure that the Humans won't like it. They'd much
rather listen to somebody telling them how wonderful they are:
What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!
in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of
-Hamlet, II, ii
They're not only in denial about what they're doing to the planet, they
firmly believe that the death of the planet would be a small price to pay
for a few more years of life for their species.
You may even lose a few friends. But somebody has to tell it like it is.
Here are some of the methods that have been suggested: (But first, this
disclaimer: We don't advocate anything illegal, because it's illegal to
advocate anything illegal and we don't want to get busted.)
Nuclear war. (6) (Too much collateral
damage. Definitely not recommended.
Sterilization. (Too slow: even if we managed to
sterilize every Human on the planet the species would still be around for
another hundred years. And they might figure out some way of reversing
the procedure.) (7)
Voluntary sterilization. (8)
(Even slower, and therefore even riskier. But anything is better than
nothing, so this is worth working on while we're spreading the word and
waiting for something else.)
Suicide. (In theory, faster, but how do you get them to do it? So in
practice, probably even slower. Still, you never know. If they could do
it in Jonestown...)
Bio-engineering. Fortunately, we now have the
specific technology for doing the job right--and it's something
that could be done by just one person with the necessary expertise and
access to the necessary equipment. Genetically engineered viruses are
already being custom-designed for use in "pest" control. These
viruses have the advantage of attacking only the target species. To
complicate the search for a cure or a vaccine, and as insurance against
the possibility that some Humans might be immune to a particular virus,
several different viruses could be released (with provision being made
for the release of a second round after the generals and the politicians
had come out of their shelters). Of course, natural viruses, such as
the smallpox virus, that attack only Humans could be used as well.
(9) (But don't, for goodness' sake, go around saying
that you're actually advocating any of this. We can get our message
across just as effectively by, for example, campaigning to make it
legal to exterminate the Humans.)
Winter Solstice 1994
GLF, P.O.Box 127, Station P, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2S7
1. In his essay "The Land Ethic" Aldo Leopold says: "A
thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and
beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
(Stability here should be understood as embracing such dynamic processes
as succession and evolution.) (back)
2. See, for example, Frank Forencich, "Homo Carcinomicus: A Look At
Planetary Oncology," Wild Earth, 2:4 (Winter 1992/93), pp.
72-74. But Forencich fails to take his argument to its logical conclusion:
what does a surgeon do with a cancer? (back)
3. Even a computer virus. Stephen Hawking once remarked (he had been
arguing that computer viruses fit the definition of living systems):
"I think it says something about human nature that the only form of
life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in
our own image." (back)
4. It seems to us to make more sense to say that the Humans have raised the
planet's carrying capacity for their own species than to say that the
Human population has been exceeding the planet's carrying capacity at
least since the invention of agriculture. Carrying capacity, by
definition, can be exceeded only briefly. (back)
5. Any more than it mattered to the buffalo that the Indians who were
helping to massacre them had been "corrupted" by whites.
6. Proposed, for example, by Finnish writer Pentti Linkola-but as a way of
only reducing the Human population, in order to save the species.
7. An even riskier variation on this method, suggested by Australian
environmental activist Helen Caldicott, would be to put contraceptives in
the water supply. (back)
8. The leading voice for this method is the Voluntary Human Extinction
Movement (P.O.Box 86646, Portland OR 97286-0646). (back)
9. Our experience with AIDS suggests that these viruses should be airborne.
AIDS, which once offered so much hope, has proved to be just too easy to
avoid. For a tip on how to produce an airborne version of AIDS, see Jean
Marx, "Concerns Raised about Mouse Models for AIDS," Science,
vol. 247 (16 Feb. 1990), p. 809. (back)
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