The linguist, philosopher, and political radical Noam Chomsky spoke at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on Monday evening.
The event was hosted by Haymarket Books, a non-profit that publishes radical books, and the Lannan Foundation. Rockefeller was filled to capacity and over 1,200 people watched via livestream, according to a Facebook post by Haymarket Books.
Chomsky, a professor emeritus at MIT, spoke about how he believes that the human race is inducing what he called “a sixth mass extinction” event through climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“For the first time in human history, it’s necessary to make a crucial decision: will organized human life continue to exist on this Earth, or will it not,” Chomsky said.
Chomsky discussed the several accidents that have almost resulted in global nuclear war since nuclear weapons were first used in 1945. He said that nuclear proliferation still poses an immense threat to life on Earth.
He then talked about how plants and animals have seen incredibly high extinction rates in recent decades and how the increasing use of fossil fuels is accelerating changes to the climate.
Chomsky also stressed the importance of this election in the United States, saying that it could determine the fate of humankind, expressing special concern about Donald Trump’s environmental policies.
“The two most important questions in human history on which the fate of the species depends are virtually missing from the extensive commentary on choice of leader for the most powerful country in world history,” Chomsky said. (Hillel Steinmetz)