Frank Furedi of Spiked Online does an excellent job of explaining the radical misanthropy that underlies much of modern environmentalism:
Where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Malthusians warned that population growth threatened people with starvation, today’s Malthusians denounce people for threatening the planet by consuming too much. As a result, contemporary Malthusianism has an unusually strident and misanthrophic streak. In the West, the population-control lobby castigates those who have large families for being environmentally irresponsible. Having children, especially lots of children, is now discussed as an ‘eco-crime’ on a par with pollution. From this perspective, a new human life is seen as little more than another producer of carbon; new life is seen as a form of pollution. So it would be better, the Malthusians argue, if these new human lives did not exist at all. As one Malthusian crusader notes: ‘A non-existent person has no environmental footprint; the emission “saving” is instant and total.’ This preference for the non-existent over the existent speaks to a powerful anti-humanist sensibility. And it is not only eccentric and isolated misanthropes who value ‘non-existence’ as being somehow morally superior to existence – rather, this outlook is symptomatic of a wider trend for devaluing the status of human life today.For an elegant response to the classic Malthusian argument, see the writing of Julian Simon and, more recently, of Indur Goklany.