Pentti Linkola in 2011
|Born||Kaarlo Pentti Linkola
December 7, 1932
|Subject||Nature, environmentalism, deep ecology|
|Notable awards||Eino Leino Prize
Kaarlo Pentti Linkola (born December 7, 1932) is a radical Finnish deep ecologist, polemicist and fisherman. He has written widely about his ideas and in Finland is a prominent, and highly controversial, thinker. Linkola was a year-round fisherman from 1959 to 1995. He has fished on Keitele, Päijänne, Gulf of Finland and from 1978 he fishes on Vanajavesi.
Linkola blames humans for the continuous degradation of the environment. He promotes rapid population decline in order to combat the problems commonly attributed to overpopulation. He is also strongly in favour of deindustrialization and opposes democracy, which he calls the "Religion of Death,": 168 believing it to be an agent of wasteful capitalism and consumerism. He considers the proponents of economic growth to be ignorant of the destructive effects which free market policies have had on the biosphere over the past two centuries.
Linkola grew up in Helsinki, spending the summers in the countryside, at the farm of his grandfather Hugo Suolahti. His father Kaarlo Linkola was a botanist and phytogeographer and the Rector of Helsinki University and his grandfather had worked as the Chancellor of that same university. Pentti Linkola chose not to continue his zoological and botanical studies after his first year.
In the essay collection Unelmat paremmasta maailmasta (Dreams about a Better World) (1971) he explained for the first time his ecological attitudes. He has continued to speak against the modern Western way of life and the overconsumption of natural resources. His latest books Johdatus 1990-luvun ajatteluun (Introduction to the Thinking of the 1990s) (1989) and Voisiko elämä voittaa? (Could Life Prevail?) (2004), translated in 2009 into English as Can Life Prevail? are collections of his writings that have been published in various Finnish newspapers and magazines.
As a philosopher Linkola can be described as a biocentric empiricist. He demands that man return to a smaller ecological niche and abandon modern technology and what he describes as the almost-religious pursuit of economic growth. Linkola considers human population growth the biggest threat to life on Earth.
Linkola's first political publication was the pamphlet Isänmaan ja ihmisen puolesta (For Fatherland and Man) (1960), in which he spoke strongly for pacifism and encouraged conscientious objection. In contrast, in 2002 he derided those he considers to be "sanctimonious in their opposition to violence," when the earth is suffering from severe human overpopulation.: 169 Linkola's metaphor for the quandary is as follows:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and only one lifeboat, with room for only ten people, has been launched? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides of the boat.: 130
He advocates eugenics, genocide, and abortion as possible means to combat overpopulation. He describes the Stalinist and Nazi massacres as "massive depopulation operations," but ones which have "not overturned our ethical norms".: 132 He has suggested that "the great inhabited centres of the globe" should be attacked with "limited" nuclear strikes or with "bacteriological or chemical" agents by "some trans-national body like the UN or by some small group equipped with sophisticated technology and bearing responsibility for the whole world.": 131-132 Linkola has described humans as "the cancer of the earth",: 155 and he desires that the human population "be reduced to about ten percent of what it is now.": 185 Linkola also insists that the problem is not just the "inflation of human life, but its ever-increasing, mindless over-valuation.": 132
Linkola has also written glowingly of the September 11 attacks as those who died, in his view, represented the "wealthy" and "environmentally damaging and world–devouring portion of mankind," but noted that "never before have foreign casualties elicited such great sympathy, never before has so much attention been paid to the suffering of families," given that "only a couple thousand people died." He contends it was "little more than a brawl if compared to other events in the recent history of mankind," such as the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg, the siege of Leningrad, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.:157-162
In May 1994 Linkola was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal Europe. He said he was for a radical reduction in the world population and was quoted as saying about a future world war, "If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating, if it meant millions of people would die."
Linkola often expresses his admiration for forests and nature in general. He is known for his deep love of birds. He considers education to be the "most precious aspect of society," and advocates for universities to be maintained regardless of the cost.: 193-194 In a 2004 interview given at the international bookfair at Turku Linkola describes the origins of his bitterness towards humankind. In his essay, Women as Protectors of Life,: 141 he opines that the "soul of a man, beneath its rough surface, is paradoxically more sensitive, fragile and weak than that of a woman."
In 1995 Linkola founded the Finnish Nature Heritage Foundation (Luonnonperintösäätiö). It concentrates on preserving the few ancient forests still left in southern Finland and other nature conservation. The forests are donated to the foundation.
- Linkola, Pentti & Olavi Hilden: Suuri Lintukirja. Otava 1955, renewed edition 1962.
- Linkola, Pentti: Isänmaan ja ihmisen puolesta: Mutta ei ketään vastaan. Fourth edition. Helsinki: Suomen sadankomitealiitto, 1981 (originally published 1960).
- Linkola, Pentti: Pohjolan linnut värikuvin: Elinympäristö. Levinneisyys. Muutto. Otava 1963–67.
- Linkola, Pentti: Unelmat paremmasta maailmasta. Fourth edition. Porvoo: WSOY, 1990.
- Linkola, Pentti: Toisinajattelijan päiväkirjasta. Porvoo: WSOY, 1979.
- Linkola, Pentti & Osmo Soininvaara: Kirjeitä Linkolan ohjelmasta. Porvoo: WSOY, 1986.
- Linkola, Pentti: Johdatus 1990-luvun ajatteluun. Porvoo: WSOY, 1989.
- Vilkka, Leena (ed.): Ekologiseen elämäntapaan: lead article. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino, 1996.
- Linkola, Pentti: Voisiko elämä voittaa. Helsinki: Tammi, 2004.
- Linkola, Pentti: Can Life Prevail?: A Revolutionary Approach to the Environmental Crisis. UK: Arktos Media, 2nd Revised ed. 2011. ISBN 1907166637 (English translation of Voisiko elämä voittaa).
- Kämäräinen, Kauko: Linkola, oikeinajattelija. Tampere: Määrämitta, 1992.
- Alén, Eero: Linkolan soutajan päiväkirja. Turku: Sammakko, 2006.
- Mika LaVaque-Manty, "Arguments and fists: political agency and justification in liberal theory", Routledge, 2002, p. 159
- George C. Schoolfield, "A history of Finland's literature", U of Nebraska Press, 1998, p. 271
- Henry Minde, Svein Jentoft, Harald Gaski, "Indigenous peoples: self-determination, knowledge, indigeneity", Eburon Uitgeverij B.V., 2008, p. 100
- Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Arktos Media, 2nd Revised ed. 2011. ISBN 1907166637
- Humanflood by Pentti Linkola. Translated by Harri Heinonen and Michael Moynihan. Originally published in Apocalypse Culture II, ed. Adam Parfrey (Feral House, 2000). ISBN 0922915571
- Neuhaus, Richard John (1997). The best of The Public square: selections from Richard John Neuhaus' celebrated column in First things. Institute on Religion and Public Life. p. 61. ISBN 0-9659507-0-0.
- Milbank, Dana (24 May 1994). "A Strange Finnish Thinker Posits War, Famine as Ultimate 'Goods'". The Wall Street Journal Asia. p. 1.
- "Eino Leinon palkinto" (in Finnish). The Finnish Book Foundation. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
- Media related to Pentti Linkola at Wikimedia Commons
- Quotations related to Pentti Linkola at Wikiquote
- Pentti Linkola: Biography
- Bull’s Eye by Pentti Linkola