Uncaring Humanoids

Selection for Uncaring Humanoids

Eric R. Pianka

Many people care intensely about the state of our planet, and a substantial number have curtailed their own reproduction in an effort to lessen the population pressure of humans on the Earth. Some try their utmost to be "green," growing their own vegetables, riding bicycles, minimizing water use, becoming vegetarians, and/or using so-called "green" diapers in order to decrease their ecological footprint. One such mother just doesn't get it, she brags about using green diapers but has 5 kids! Another one makes an excellent spoof of saving Earth's dwindling resources for her "five children". Such efforts are admirable, but . . .

Buying carbon credits or driving a Prius may make you feel good about yourself, and it may buy a little time for the planet, but what if your neighbor chooses to drive an SUV or a Hummer? Indeed, reducing your own footprint only allows others to continue their excesses. Cleaning up trash along highways only makes things seem better than they are and may actually encourage litterbugs.

Unfortunately, too many others remain oblivious to impending problems, continuing to consume, waste, and propagate (some, such as the Duggar family, are literally breeding like bunny rabbits, and are actuslly ptoud ! Rather than be celebrated and admired on TV, such people should be treated as social pariahs, ostracized from society, because they are stealing your right to reproduce.

If, as Garrett Hardin suggested, those who have a conscience and who do care about the future state of the planet leave fewer genes than those who do not care, in time humans will evolve into uncaring humanoids. Indeed, this insidious process may well have already begun.

Unless we can reverse this trend and convince others to change their lifestyles (including controlled reproduction) to exist in a sustainable way on renewable resources, there is little hope for future generations.

Our economic system based on continual growth must be replaced by a sustainable system where each of us leaves the planet in the same condition that it was in before we were born. This will require many fewer of us and much less extravagant lifestyles. We won't be able to move around so freely (airplanes will become a thing of the past) and we will have to go back to walking and riding horses. In addition, humans will have to be more spread out, living without big cities. Before it is all over, we are going to have to limit our own reproduction, un-invent money, control human greed, revert back to trade and barter, and grow our own crops, among other things.

Lorenz, K. and R.W. Kickert. 1989. The Waning of Humaneness. HarperCollins.

Download Garrett Hardin essay

In progress, last updated 23 July 2008 by Eric R. Pianka