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:
1. 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
2. The Humans have been usefully compared to a cancer2 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.
3. 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.
4. 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
Q. Wouldn't it be enough to reduce the Human population to some optimum level?
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 technologies.
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 chances.
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.)
1. Nuclear war.6 (Too much collateral damage. Definitely not recommended.)
2. 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
3. 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.)
4. 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...)
5. Bioengineering. 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.)
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.)
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
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."
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
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.
8. The leading voice for this method is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
(P.O.Box 86646, Portland OR 97286-0646).
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.
Winter Solstice 1994
GLF, P.O.Box 127, Station P, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2S7