Pentti Linkola
Linkola in 2011
Linkola in 2011
BornKaarlo Pentti Linkola
(1932-12-07)7 December 1932
Helsinki, Finland
Died5 April 2020(2020-04-05) (aged 87)
Valkeakoski, Finland
SubjectOrnithology, environmentalism, nature, deep ecology
Notable worksCan Life Prevail?: A Revolutionary Approach to the Environmental Crisis (2011)
Notable awardsEino Leino Prize

Kaarlo Pentti Linkola (7 December 1932 in Helsinki – 5 April 2020)[1][2][3] was a prominent Finnish deep ecologist,[4] ornithologist,[5] polemicist, naturalist, writer, and fisherman. He wrote widely about his ideas and in Finland was a prominent thinker,[6][7]: 271  and is linked by some authors to ecofascism and to authoritarian deep ecology.[8][9][10][11] Linkola was a year-round fisherman from 1959 to 1995. He fished on Keitele, Päijänne and the Gulf of Finland, and since 1978 he fished on Vanajavesi.[12]

Linkola blamed humans for the continuous degradation of the environment. He promoted rapid population decline to combat the problems commonly attributed to overpopulation.[7] Linkola also defended an end to immigration, the reversion to pre-industrial life ways, and authoritarian measures to keep human life within strict limits.[13]


Linkola was born on 7 December 1932. He grew up in Helsinki and summered in Kariniemi in Tyrväntö at the farm of his maternal grandfather, Hugo Suolahti. His father, Kaarlo Linkola, was a botanist, phytogeographer, and the Rector of University of Helsinki, and his grandfather Hugo had worked as the chancellor of that same university.[14] Linkola's half-brother, Anssi, was killed during the Continuation War against the Soviet Union in 1941, at the age of 20.[15][16] One year after Anssi died, Kaarlo died of prostate cancer.[17] Hugo then died in 1944 due to a heart attack. Linkola had an elder sister, Aira, and a younger brother, Martti.[16]

After he graduated from Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu in 1950, Linkola studied biology for half a year, then abandoned academic studies to become an independent researcher. He lived in Signilskär in Åland and made ornithological observations.[14] Although he was one of Finland's most famous ornithologists, Linkola started to live an austere life as a fisherman, as this was in line with his teachings.[5] He was involved in the Koijärvi Movement that started in 1979, but his views proved too radical for mainstream Green politics.[18]

In 1995, Linkola founded the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation (Luonnonperintösäätiö),[19] which concentrates on preserving the few ancient forests still left in southern Finland and other nature conservation. The foundation receives donations from private individuals and companies, then purchases forest areas deemed unique enough to deserve protection.[14] By 2017, the foundation had purchased 62 protected areas, spanning 145 hectares (360 acres) in total.[17] On the 101st anniversary of Finland's independence, Linkola was announced as the winner of a poll conducted by the national broadcaster Yle to determine who had done the most to preserve Finland's natural heritage.[20]

Linkola was married from 1961 to 1975, and had two children.[1] He died in his sleep at his home in Sääksmäki on 5 April 2020.[2][21]


Linkola's views have been sometimes described as "ecofascist".[22] He believed that democracy was a mistake, saying he preferred dictatorships,[23] and only radical change can prevent ecological collapse.[5] He contended that the human populations of the world, regardless if they are developed or underdeveloped, do not deserve to survive at the expense of the biosphere as a whole.[24] In May 1994, Linkola was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal Europe.[25] 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."[26]

Linkola's writings describe in emotional detail the environmental degradation he witnessed. He dedicated his 1979 Toisinajattelijan päiväkirjasta (From the Diary of a Dissident) to German far-left militants Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, stating that "they are the signposts, not Jesus of Nazareth or Albert Schweitzer".[5] He supported acts of terrorism such as the 2004 Madrid train bombings as he viewed them as disruptions to a society that is responsible for the degradation of the Earth. When asked in 2007 why he had not himself become a terrorist, Linkola said that he lacked the ability and bravery.[27]

Linkola was pleased to see the rise of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist seventy years younger: "I follow very closely what is said about her. After all, she's even a great girl in a little crazy way. Let's see how long she can still fight."[28]


In the 2009 book Environmental Change and Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice, Mika Merviö, Professor of International Relations at the Kibi International University, contended that while most environmentalists in Finland distanced themselves from Linkola, those concerned about the environment avidly read his writings. Merviö said that Linkola represents "a very Finnish and dark version of 'an inconvenient truth'."[5]

After Linkola's death, the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen, both from the Green League, expressed their condolences and praised Linkola's significant efforts for nature conservation. Haavisto said that Linkola had influenced generations of environmentalists, and while Linkola did not defend human rights, there never was disagreement about conservation.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Luonnonsuojelija Pentti Linkola on kuollut" (in Finnish). Yleisradio. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Pentti Linkola 1932-2020: Äärimmäinen luonnonsuojelija ei säästänyt itseään – ihmisten vihaajaksi luultu erakko oli loistava seuramies" (in Finnish). Iltalehti. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Pentti Linkola kuoli kotonaan nukkuessaan, vielä viikko sitten hän osallistui kokoukseen, suunnitteli metsien suojelua – ja odotti, milloin linnut alkavat taas laulaa" (in Finnish). Aamulehti. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  4. ^ Mika LaVaque-Manty, "Arguments and fists: political agency and justification in liberal theory", Routledge, 2002, p. 159.
  5. ^ a b c d e Harris, Paul G. (2009). Environmental Change and Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice. Routledge. p. 125. ISBN 9781134014811.
  6. ^ Henry Minde, Svein Jentoft, Harald Gaski, "Indigenous peoples: self-determination, knowledge, indigeneity", Eburon Uitgeverij B.V., 2008, p. 100.
  7. ^ a b George C. Schoolfield, "A history of Finland's literature", U of Nebraska Press, 1998, p. 271.
  8. ^ Wilson, Jason (19 March 2019). "Eco-fascism is undergoing a revival in the fetid culture of the extreme right". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  9. ^ Protopapadakis, Evangelos D. (11 December 2014). "Environmental Ethics and Linkola's Ecofascism: An Ethics Beyond Humanism". Frontiers of Philosophy in China. 9 (4): 586–601. doi:10.3868/s030-003-014-0048-3. ISSN 1673-3436.
  10. ^ Johnson, Jenell (3 January 2023). Every Living Thing: The Politics of Life in Common. Penn State Press. ISBN 978-0-271-09628-5.
  11. ^ Benoist, L. (2020). Green is the new brown. Ecology in the metapolitics of the French far right today. CPS: International Master’s Programme in Human Ecology Human Ecology Division Department of Human Geography Faculty of Social Sciences Lund University. Supervised by Andreas Malm.
  12. ^ Turtiainen, Pekka: Kalastaja. Sääksmäki: Voipaalan taidekeskus, 2015.
  13. ^ Wilson, Jason (19 March 2019). "Eco-fascism is undergoing a revival in the fetid culture of the extreme right". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  14. ^ a b c Leikola, Anto (December 2014). "LINKOLA, Pentti. Naturvårdare, fiskare, samhällskritiker". Biografiskt lexikon för Finland (in Swedish).
  15. ^ Uutuuskirja paljastaa Pentti Linkolan suosion naisten keskuudessa: ”Olihan se imartelevaa miehiselle itsetunnolle” Ilta-Sanomat
  16. ^ a b Kirja-arvio: Tyylikäs elämäkerta Pentti Linkolasta auttaa ymmärtämään kuohuttavaa ekoeksentrikkoa Etelä-Suomen Sanomat
  17. ^ a b Pentti Linkolan elämäkerta paljastaa kolmiodraaman – kalastaja, kirjailija ja ajattelija on myös naistenmies! Aamulehti
  18. ^ Luonnonsuojelija ja toisinajattelija Pentti Linkola on kuollut – menehtyi 87-vuotiaana Kainuun Sanomat
  19. ^ Linkola, Can Life Prevail?: A Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis (Budapest: Arktos, 2011).
  20. ^ Keitä ne on, ne luonnon sankarit? Kiitoksia saivat niin aktiivitoimijat kuin omat isätkin. Yksi oli ylitse muiden... Yle
  21. ^ "Pentti Linkolan entinen kumppani Anneli Jussila kertoo viimeisistä hetkistä: "Hän kuoli rauhallisesti kotonaan"" (in Finnish). MTV. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  22. ^ Protopapadakis, Evangelos D. (2014). "Environmental Ethics and Linkola's Ecofascism: An Ethics Beyond Humanism" (PDF). Frontiers of Philosophy in China. 9 (4): 590. doi:10.3868/s030-003-014-0048-3.
  23. ^ "Pentti Linkola: Ecofascism and Deep Ecology". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  24. ^ Linkola, P., "Humanflood", trans. H. Heinonen & M. Moynihan. Originally published in Apocalypse Culture II, ed. A. Parfrey (Feral House, 2000). pp. 436–451. ISBN 0922915571
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Milbank, Dana (24 May 1994). "A Strange Finnish Thinker Posits War, Famine as Ultimate 'Goods'". The Wall Street Journal Asia. p. 1.
  27. ^ Näistä asioista Pentti Linkola muistetaan Ilta-Sanomat
  28. ^ "Pentti Linkola räväytti kovaa tekstiä vielä viimeisessä IS-haastattelussaankin – ja ylisti Greta Thunbergia". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 5 April 2020. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Eino Leinon palkinto" (in Finnish). The Finnish Book Foundation. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  30. ^ a b Pentti Linkola: Writings
  31. ^ Jotta ihminen voisi tyytyä ja luopua Turun Sanomat
  32. ^ Cafaro, Philip. (2012). Book review of "Can Life Prevail? A Revolutionary Approach to the Environmental Crisis," by Pentti Linkola. Environmental Values. 21. 534-536. 10.2307/41714210.

Further reading