An Environmentalist's Hero

The Sunday Denver Post tells of a 41-year old man who hiked into the Rocky Mountains to starve because he "hated the materialism and greed that, in his view, prevented people from connecting with nature. And he was frustrated that he could not change that." [HT: Ari]
So, in a story that has dark parallels to the book and film "Into the Wild," this philosophical former Denver disc jockey and Silverton coffee-shop owner, went into the wilderness of western Colorado last summer to think through this quandary — or to die.

"He couldn't figure out how to make people change so they were not so caught up in money and cars and big houses and all that," said his sister, Jovanka Mersman, of Colorado Springs. "He ultimately ended up checking out."
What a brave environmental hero, right? Our evil natures are killing the planet, so unless he could come up with a solution, the only alternative was a slow, painful suicide. It is truly tragic that he didn't live long enough to read Doug Reich's "Corpses for Change" proposal. That would have been right up his alley.

He kept a "meticulously updated" journal, but sadly, it appears that we will never learn about his innermost hallucinations thoughts. It "was soaked by the 20 feet or so of snow that had entombed his body through the winter. The few decipherable words gave no clue to his thoughts."

One can only imagine what insane ramblings this journal contained. Surely, however, it would have been reprinted millions of times and been on Oprah's bestseller list.

What this guy did to himself reminds me of that terrible film, The Happening, except that instead of some mysterious substance that causes people to commit suicide for the sake of the planet, it was the toxic, literally death worshiping, ideas of environmentalism itself that drove this guy crazy.


Mark Wickens said...

"it was the toxic, literally death worshiping, ideas of environmentalism itself that drove this guy crazy."

After reading the article, I'm not so sure about that. He was pretty clearly mentally ill, and his bad philosophy can't have helped matters, but it seems at least as likely that his mental state stemmed primarily from genetic or other physiological causes.

C. August said...

Perhaps you're right that I too strongly stated the connection between his proposed reason for his walkabout and his actual suicidal actions while ignoring the possibility of serious mental illness, but I didn't see any indications of genetic or physiological causes in the article.

It sure looks like his world "unraveled" after his business failed. People thought he was "witty, friendly and cool" until he nearly went bankrupt and seemed to lose it. Did he become unhinged because the world and other people didn't conform to his view of them? Because his wishing couldn't make it so? I have no idea. That's as much speculation as is a genetic cause.

But taken on face value, his explicit "mission" with the hike and its correlation to the supposed ideal of environmentalism is hard to ignore. What he did, and the reasons he gave, are precisely what the most radical environmentalists want everyone to emulate.

Kyle Haight said...

One can only wish that others who share his ideas would implement them in a similar way.

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