Stop pro­cre­at­ing and killing the Earth you bad, bad peo­ple

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Acou­ple of years ago, I let my Na­tional Geo­graphic sub­scrip­tion lapse be­cause of the mag­a­zine’s re­lent­less earth wor­ship. But I missed the su­perb pho­tos, crisp writ­ing and mind-bog­gling sta­tis­tics, so I started get­ting it again.

Boy, am I get­ting it. Af­ter pe­rus­ing the May is­sue, I’m once again ashamed to be hu­man. Peo­ple, peo­ple, peo­ple! We’re car­boniz­ing the clouds! We’re wreck­ing the co­ral reefs! We’re re­duc­ing the po­lar bear’s habi­tat to the size of a McDon­ald’s park­ing lot! We’re scoop­ing sand off beaches to build more McDon­ald’s park­ing lots!

Worst of all, we keep hav­ing . . . chil­dren!

In vir­tu­ally ev­ery fea­ture ex­cept the cover piece on rope­free climbers at Yosemite’s El Cap­i­tan, the May is­sue of Na­tional Histri­onic is packed with ev­i­dence of hu­man per­fidy.

The let­ters page is a cornucopia of alarm. A guy from Cu­per­tino, Calif., chides the maga- zine for its Jan­uary cover story about the Earth’s pop­u­la­tion near­ing 7 bil­lion. Not enough hys­te­ria: “I was thrilled when I saw that your lead ar­ti­cle was fo­cused on hu­man pop­u­la­tion. . . . I was dis­turbed when I re­al­ized that the mes­sage of the ar­ti­cle was: ‘Find out why you shouldn’t panic — at least, not yet.’ ”

A San An­to­nio woman asks, “Shouldn’t world­wide birth­con­trol pro­grams be im­ple­mented be­fore we de­stroy the planet?” A Rich­mond woman gets to the nub: “The out­come is here; the fu­ture atroc­ity is pre­dictable. This topic rep­re­sents an­other as­pect of the cul­ture war be­tween those who would live with self-serv­ing spir­i­tual myths that re­in­force fer­til­ity and those who look at the sys­tems of the world clearly and sci­en­tif­i­cally.”

Ap­par­ently, be­ing in the lat­ter camp means never hav­ing to ra­di­ate hu­mil­ity. It also means toss­ing aside scrip­tural cel­e­bra­tions of hu­man life (“Be­hold, chil­dren are a her­itage from the Lord,” Psalm 127; and “Be fruit­ful and mul­ti­ply; fill the earth and sub­due it; have do­min­ion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over ev­ery liv­ing thing that moves on the earth,” Ge­n­e­sis 1:28). Of course, this in­cludes proper stew­ard­ship of our en­vi­ron­ment (Adam’s first job). In­stead of sound con­ser­va­tion, how­ever, Na­tional Geo­graphic’s re­lent­less litany of hu­man-gen­er­ated threats smacks of Planned Par­ent­hood in a pith hel­met.

Did you know that we ate 52 bil­lion chick­ens? And far more ducks (2.6 bil­lion) than cows (293 mil­lion)? Add a bil­lion rab­bits and an­other 1.3 bil­lion pigs, and we’re re­ally start­ing to talk back­yard bar­be­cue!

Read­ing Na­tional Geo­graphic is like min­ing for gold. The Great Bar­rier Reef off Aus­tralia is 1,400 miles long, has more than 10,000 square miles of co­ral rib­bons and isles and is “the most mas­sive liv­ing struc- ture on earth.” It’s teem­ing with col­or­ful fish and plants, which we see close up thanks to the Geo­graphic’s peer­less pho­tog­ra­phers. Now to the text. Darn. We’re killing the reef ev­ery time we rev up our lawn mow­ers.

The clos­ing ar­gu­ment comes in a fea­ture story, “The Com­ing Storm,” about the mis­er­ably poor nation of Bangladesh, whose 164 mil­lion peo­ple are jammed into an area the size of Louisiana athwart three rivers that con­stantly over­flow. If hell is wet, it looks like Bangladesh. The mes­sage is that the whole world will look like this — even the de­pop­u­lat­ing coun­tries of Rus­sia and West­ern Europe — if we don’t stop pro­cre­at­ing and caus­ing global warm­ing.

Whose fault, you might ask, is Bangladesh’s chronic flood­ing and poverty, apart from those “spir­i­tual myths that re­in­force fer­til­ity?”

The an­swer is any­one who lives in a First World coun­try. The mag­a­zine cred­its us for help­ing with tech­nol­ogy and “low-tech adap­ta­tions” while not­ing that such ef­forts are “sup­ported by gov­ern­ments of the in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries — whose green­house emis­sions are largely re­spon­si­ble for the cli­mate change that is caus­ing seas to rise.” But we’ll get ours. “Over the com­ing decades, as sea lev­els rise, cli­mate change ex­perts pre­dict that many of the world’s largest cities, in­clud­ing Mi­ami and New York, will be in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble to coastal flood­ing.”

Near the end of the mag­a­zine is the other rea­son I still get Na­tional Geo­graphic. The fan­tas­ti­cally illustrated cover story, show­ing a man hang­ing with noth­ing but his hands from a cliff 2,000 feet above Yosemite Val­ley, is head­lined “Dar­ing. De­fi­ant. Free.”

I guess I’ll re­sub­scribe.

Robert Knight is a se­nior fel­low for the Amer­i­can Civil Rights Union and a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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