Voluntary Extinction 

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of this column (see Portland Mercury 2000 drinking issue), I'd like to raise my foamy beaker with pride and salute you abstrusely for having read along. Unfortunately, just because I'd like to, doesn't mean I will. I'm pretty fucking busy. I'm busy thinking about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (www.VHEMT.org), and what I can do to survive their arcane visionary tactics. They want me to die. They want you to die too! They want everyone to die. It's horrible!

Not oddly, VHEMT's efforts to liquidate human (and huwoman) "kind" are ecologically based. They say we're mucking things up and wiping out other species, that we should throw in the towel and become extinct as means for evolution reparation. It's ghoulish. Boo!

Personally, I like people. I want us to stick around for awhile and live in relative comfort without doing too much damage. I also want to live. I'm not really sure why, but living seems important to me right now. Can't put my finger on it, but it's near the top of my to-do list. I don't want these over-earthy "people-poo-pooers" convincing a Madison Avenue marketing army to sell human-extinction speak through Public Television sponsorships and on recycled-butt-rub biodegradable "wildlife" rave handbills.

They have a compelling argument = I'm not convinced. Sure. We've basically blown the trade-in value of this planet, and we're driving around laughing about it. Plainly, I don't want to become extinct. Rather, let's coexist, try to do better, and if worse comes to worst, we can at least be here to rake things up afterward. Energy-saving, electric leaf blowers are great for cleaning up dead, endangered butterflies. Who would do that if we we're all dead?

None of us want human extinction leaders deciding that white lab coats and rimless specs are out of step with the natural world. Then suddenly, we find ourselves clasping our test tubes on a solar-magnetic death subway--heading for the Natural Gas Chamber, which will most likely be an adobe-thatched hut filled with nameless and flatulent, yeast-fed boudoir piglets. We'll suffocate on pig farts as we save the planet. Big deal! I say, let us survive long enough to light those pig farts.

(The collection, It Sure Is A Scientific World: The Strange Mercury Columns of Portland Oregon, is available at Powell's Books and other fine stores.)

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