William Shatner is holding a grudge against his fellow humans. During an interview for the People TV show Couch Surfing, Shatner talked about the roles that made him famous, how science-fiction gives people hope for the future, and why Star Trek remains so popular.
He also talked about the future of humankind, or the potential lack thereof, and how individual behavior is sealing humanity’s grim fate.
Shatner Called Humankind a ‘Pestilence’
When asked why Star Trek is still so beloved decades after its beginning, Shatner went off on a bit of a rant that seemed completely unrelated to the question.
“We are on the verge, and everybody knows this, either dimly or with nightmares, we are on the verge of extinction. We are posioning ourselves out of life. And the Earth, Mother Earth, Gaia, will survive. And this little cancer called mankind that’s growing all around her will die off. The way a body gets a temperature and kills the germs off, Mother Earth will get rid of us because we’re a pestilence. But we don’t have to be, and we can join with the rest of life that makes it here on Earth with equanimity.”
Shatner then tied his rant back to the question by saying that Star Trek offers “hope” that if humans change their behavior and try to live with that equanimity, then the utopian future Star Trek imagined can be real. However, if humankind doesn’t change its behavior, we’ll never have access to that future.
What does Shatner think humanity needs to do in order to achieve Star Trek’s vision for the future? Treat the Earth better than it has been up to this point in history.
Shatner is a Climate Activist
Though Shatner didn’t specifically mention climate change in the interview for Couch Surfing, his comments made his environmentalist views clear. In the past, Shatner has been vocal about climate change, how humans have caused it, and the need for action.
In an interview with the Washington Post in 2016, Shatner called out humans for destroying the planet.
“The technology [is] spilling of toxins into Mother Earth, and we’re killing our Earth and nobody is irate about it enough. And not enough people are irate about it. People like yourself — young people like yourself should be screaming at the top of your lungs to the people who lead.”
He continued, saying that he’s worried humankind won’t exist long enough to see the hopeful universe Star Trek predicted. Shatner stressed that unless something changes drastically and soon, humankind is headed for extinction.
In 2017, Shatner teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to educate people about climate change and the adjustments people around the country are making to “build the clean economy of the future.” He narrated a video for the organization detailing the importance of the Paris Agreement, action steps that businesses and organizations can take to reduce their carbon footprint, and the importance of individual, daily actions to reduce environmental impact.
Shatner is also vocal about climate change on social media. He often engages with his followers, explaining how climate change is real and how human actions have hurt the planet.
Shatner’s passion for the environment has guided his advocacy for several years, and he’s continuing the fight today.