“It was very good information for me that this type of group existed, as a result of one normally, with this type of philosophy, feels alone,” mentioned Mario Buenfil, 73, a water engineer in Mexico Metropolis who has been concerned with the motion for 20 years.
Nonetheless, the phrases “voluntary human extinction” typically elicit reactions of spluttering horror, and phrases like “eco-fascist” and “Malthusian” are sometimes lobbed on the group. John Seager, the president of Inhabitants Connection, a nonprofit that advocates inhabitants stabilization via voluntary means, likened it to a sideshow. But if the group’s provocative title and seemingly pugilistic stance recommend an embittered and even menacing founder, Mr. Knight appears something however.
Tall and delicate, Mr. Knight comes throughout as clear-eyed and considerate, like a mash-up of Invoice Nye and Fred Rogers. Whereas Mr. Knight could also be in opposition to the creation of extra people, he exhibits nice compassion for those that exist already.
A highschool substitute trainer for many of his working life, Mr. Knight is fondly regarded by college students. He spends hours every Sunday morning choosing up litter from the close by foremost highway. Throughout an interview, he paused to understand two juicy backyard spiders taking within the solar on gossamer webs spun between the hedges and garden chairs. The sight was a trigger for celebration, Mr. Knight mentioned, after so many critters had been killed throughout final 12 months’s warmth dome within the Pacific Northwest. A self-professed serial monogamist, he lives alone, however his girlfriend lives subsequent door, and is absolutely on board along with his trigger.
“He doesn’t have an enormous ego that he struts round with, he doesn’t attempt to argue with folks,” mentioned Marv Ross, Mr. Knight’s former school roommate and a longtime good friend. “He was all the time about humor, to make it as enjoyable as potential to get his message throughout, and I noticed him do it many occasions. He’d deflect folks getting upset with a joke or a smile.”
As a toddler rising up in a tolerant household in Oregon, Mr. Knight watched timber firms chop down the state’s forests. After being drafted within the Military in the course of the Vietnam Warfare (he served however by no means obtained deployed), he attended Oregon Faculty of Training and joined the native chapter of Zero Inhabitants Progress, which cemented his resolve to not have kids. “It was all the time due to the ecology, due to the harm that people do to the surroundings,” he mentioned.