Pentti Linkola

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Pentti Linkola
Pentti Linkola in 2011
Born Kaarlo Pentti Linkola
(1932-12-07) December 7, 1932 (age 90)
Helsinki, Finland
Period 1955–
Subject Nature, environmentalism, deep ecology
Notable awards Eino Leino Prize

Kaarlo Pentti Linkola (born December 7, 1932) is a radical Finnish deep ecologist,[1] polemicist and fisherman. He has written widely about his ideas and in Finland is a prominent,[2][3] 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. Nowadays Pentti Linkola receives an old-age government pension and fishes only during the winter.

Linkola blames humans for the continuous degradation of the environment. He promotes rapid population decline[4] 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,"[5] 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 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 2004 he derided those he considers to be "sanctimonious in their opposition to violence," when the earth is suffering from severe human overpopulation.[6]

He advocates eugenics, genocide, and abortion as possible means to combat overpopulation. He describes the Stalinist and Nazi massacres as "massive thinning operations," but ones which have "not overturned our ethical norms".[7] He has suggested that big cities should be attacked by "some trans-national body like the UN", with nuclear weapons or with "bacteriological and chemical attacks".[8] Linkola has described humans as a cancer of the earth, and he desires that the human population "be reduced to about ten percent of what it is now."[9]

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.[10] 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,[11] 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 May 1994 Linkola was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal Europe.[12] 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."[13]

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 Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis. UK: Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009 (English translation of Voisiko elämä voittaa).


  • Kämäräinen, Kauko: Linkola, oikeinajattelija. Tampere: Määrämitta, 1992.
  • Alén, Eero: Linkolan soutajan päiväkirja. Turku: Sammakko, 2006.


  1. Mika LaVaque-Manty, "Arguments and fists: political agency and justification in liberal theory", Routledge, 2002, p. 159
  2. George C. Schoolfield, "A history of Finland's literature", U of Nebraska Press, 1998, p. 271
  3. Henry Minde, Svein Jentoft, Harald Gaski, "Indigenous peoples: self-determination, knowledge, indigeneity", Eburon Uitgeverij B.V., 2008, p. 100
  4. George C. Schoolfield, "A history of Finland's literature", U of Nebraska Press, 1998, p. 271
  5. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 173
  6. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 174
  7. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 137
  8. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 136
  9. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 192
  10. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 200-1
  11. Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 146
  12. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Milbank, Dana (24 May 1994). "A Strange Finnish Thinker Posits War, Famine as Ultimate 'Goods'". The Wall Street Journal Asia. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Eino Leinon palkinto" (in Finnish). The Finnish Book Foundation. Retrieved 30 January 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Media related to Script error: No such module "Commons link". at Wikimedia Commons
  • Quotations related to Pentti Linkola at Wikiquote