For decades, elitist radical environmentalists in academia, popular culture, and politics have vocally longed for the sharp decline and/or extinction of the human race, alternately referring to humanity as a “cancer,” “parasite,” or “virus” that is destroying the planet.

From Canadian oil baron Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro saying, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” to Dr. Charles Wurster, praising the ban on DDT because it would result in millions of unnecessary deaths from malaria in developing countries saying, “People are the cause of all of the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them, and this [ban of DDT] is as good a way as any,” environmentalists and their pop culture lackeys have embraced human extinction or near extinction as a cure for the environmental destruction they believe humans are wreaking upon mother earth.

Need more evidence, as detailed in Reason magazine among other media outlets, University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka told a meeting of the Texas Academy of Science (TAS) that 90 percent of his fellow human beings must die in order to save the planet. Pianka complained war and famine would not do the job, instead saying, “disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved,” whereupon Pianka, who TAS recognized as the Texas Distinguished Scientist of 2006, then went on to explain AIDS was not an efficient killer, being too slow, saying he favored the Ebola virus as his favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s people, because it is airborne, highly lethal, and kills its victims in days, instead of years. In case you are appalled, TAS did not rescind Pianka’s award nor did University of Texas dismiss him for his outrageous statements.

Indeed, in the 1990s, software developer and DJ Chris Korda founded the now defunct Church of Euthanasia, holding rallies and protests and even covering a billboard in Boston with a banner proclaiming, “Save the Planet—Kill Yourself.” More recently, in 2013, celebrated English documentary producer Sir David Attenborough referred to humans as a “plague on Earth.” Parents, think about this the next time you are considering watching one of his environmental docugandas with your kids—he thinks you and your children are a “plague.” And in September 2019, Aquaman actor Jason Momoa, undoubtedly a well-informed climate expert, gave a speech before the United Nations in which he called “humanity a disease that is infecting our planet.” His speech was applauded by most government ministers and leaders of environmental non-governmental organizations in attendance, who wanted selfies taken with him. Rocket Mortgage chose Mamoa as its spokesperson in their commercials, so they must be okay with his view that those starting families and buying homes are killing the planet.

Interestingly, it’s largely been social media silence from these and other misanthropes, whose careers and lifestyles are dependent upon the dollars spent by those who they would condemn to death from starvation and disease, during this growing coronavirus tragedy. One wonders where are their normally snarky tweets and comments praising the disease for ridding the earth of the peasants they so despise? Could it be this one has struck too close to home, do they suddenly fear twitter backlash and a cost to their careers? Could they have changed their minds and grown a conscience? Or could they have simply calculated, rightly I suspect, that, as terrible as it is and as many people as it will kill, the coronavirus won’t bring the death toll they think is sufficient to save the planet. It simply is not enough to substantially depopulate the earth by the numbers they’ve said is necessary.

Even when they don’t go so far as to call for mass death, climate scolds flood the media with harangues calling for an end to the quest for ever more economic growth, calling for living with less, a static or zero growth economy. Thoughtless, wealthy elites like Prince Charles and Leonardo DiCaprio—with multiple mansions, a fleet of fuel guzzling yachts, high powered sports cars, and armored vehicles—fly around the world on private jets spewing more carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere on a single trip than most people do in a year or even five, to accept awards for saving the planet from climate change, while lecturing the hoi polloi, those less sanctified than themselves, to stop flying, give up their private vehicles, and live in smaller homes or cramped apartments.

In this, more limited, but in the long-run, still deadly goal of shutting down the economy, the coronavirus has largely granted environmental hypocrites their wishes. The world’s economy has ground to a sudden halt. People, where not forced to stay home or limit travel by their governments, are self-isolating. Store shelves are empty. Companies that produce goods and provide services are shut down. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions are falling dramatically. Indeed, reports indicate in the time since China first began to lockdown the Wuhan province in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 25 percent. Although measurements have yet to be recorded, it is likely similar reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are taking place in every town, country, and region shutting down normal economic activity in response to the pandemic.

As Christopher Jones, of the CoolClimate Network at the University of California, Berkeley, told NBC News, “Carbon dioxide is tied to industrial activity, electricity production and transportation, so anything that affects those sectors will impact greenhouse gases, as well.”

This is what the breakdown of modern society looks like, and, contrary to the claims made by proponents of the Green New Deal and similar climate proposals, is what it would truly take to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the long-term. If you like shortages of toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, medicine, food, hospital beds, and medical technologies, by all means stop using fossil fuels.

Interestingly, despite world leaders embracing fossil fuel restrictions and utterly pointless international compacts like the Paris climate agreement, they don’t seem to be happy with the current state of the world economy even though something like what would be the logical outcome of the policies they are pushing. Rather than celebrating the sharp decline in economic activity and the resulting carbon dioxide reductions, world leaders, whether heads of government, legislators, heads of industry, and banking and monetary institutions (who, of late, have been pushing fossil fuel divestment), are now pouring gas on the economy in an attempt to halt the slide and bring back the economic prosperity the world had been experiencing of late, powered largely by low cost, reliable fossil fuels.

Everyone now seems to be a proponent of more growth, more production, more wholesale and retail sales, more dining and drinking out. The public, wants their restaurants, bars, theaters, and stadiums open. They want supermarket shelves fully stocked. No one is praising this economic decline, despite its purported climate benefits, at least publicly. Suddenly everyone is embracing deregulation to allow the rapid construction of hospitals and factories to produce and deliver medical devices, tests, medicines, inoculations, and other necessities—it seems in a crisis, all those environmental and public health regulations are seen as detrimental to solving the problem at hand. A thoughtful person might realize, this is equally true during the normal course of life. Many regulations simply hamper economic progress and human well-being, slowing critical infrastructure development and the delivery of beneficial, sometimes life-saving, medical treatments, food products, and all types of other goods and services.

Radical environmentalists and climate alarmists may privately, in their heart of hearts, be cheering the economic collapse the coronavirus has sparked, but if so, they are keeping awfully quiet about it. Perhaps, they don’t want to draw attention to themselves in the current state of furor, or the fact that this is what they’ve pushed all along.

People take note, based on their own past statements, this is the world environmentalists, and global elites would bequeath you, one of death from disease and economic stagnation—fewer people and less stuff for those who survive.

Wake up to the threat misanthropic climate crisis fear mongers pose to human flourishing, and, after this current pandemic and the panic it has sparked passes, embrace freedom of choice, free minds, and free markets. That is the best hope for creating an economy and health delivery system able to prevent and/or respond rapidly to future pandemics when they occur.

Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.