In July 2009, a UK study found that “one in four Britons would like to see the [human] population reduced by up to a third.” In the same year, seventy-three members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter that urged the White House to spend $1 billion on “slowing the [human] population’s rapid growth.”

These people are not alone in their belief that the world would be a better place with fewer people. Prince Philip, past president of the World Wildlife Fund, said, “if I were to be reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to the earth as a killer virus, to lower human population levels.” The Sierra Club’s first executive director, the late David Brower, said, “childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society.”

These people are not just pro-Earth. They are anti-human.

Paul Ehrlich’s bestselling 1968 book, The Population Bomb, brought anti-humanism into the mainstream. In it, Ehrlich stated, “there are only two kinds of solutions to the population problem. One is a ‘birth rate solution,’ in which we find ways to lower the birth rate. The other is a ‘death rate solution,’ in which ways to raise the death rate—war, famine, pestilence—find us.”

These anti-human humans make an important distinction: they do not think that all life should be reduced on Planet Earth, just the lives of Earth’s most powerful creatures—human beings. Why?  So that less powerful life forms, like plants, animals and even “killer viruses” might thrive.

They believe that Mother Nature is intrinsically valuable and worthy of protection and that mankind is a “cancer” that needs to be wiped from the face of the Earth. According to The Population Bomb, “a cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people…We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer…We must have population control…by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”

As reported in July 2009, Paul Ehrlich co-wrote another book, Ecoscience, with “President Obama’s ‘science czar,’ John Holdren [which] floated the idea of forced abortions, ‘compulsory sterilization,’ and the creation of a ‘Planetary Regime’ that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet.”

Anti-human humans believe that reducing the number of Earth’s most powerful creatures—human beings—would be good for Mother Nature. The problem is; holding such a “pro-nature” belief goes against nature itself.

As Richard Dawkins observed in his bestselling book, The Selfish Gene, “we are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” Which means this pro-Mother Nature, anti-humanism contradicts our biological instinct to survive. It makes human beings the first and only species that actively seeks to limit its own strength and numbers so that other, less powerful life forms might thrive. 

I interviewed Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and bestselling author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, for my book Underdogma, and asked him about these anti-humanists. “I don’t subscribe to that view myself,” he said. “I think that mankind is worth preserving, I think people are worth preserving. If you actually believe that people are a blight on the planet, it would seem logical in some way that you would also make sure that you don’t live yourself.”

To paraphrase Mr. Lomborg: those who believe that mankind should be wiped off the face of the Earth, in order to protect the rights of Mother Nature, should perhaps lead by example.

Michael Prell is the author of “Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power.”