One of my friends has a bumper sticker on her car that reads, “Thank you for not breeding.” Every time I read it, I feel a pang of guilt that I have two children. I know that children in developed countries, especially Americans, use up for more resources than children around the world. The statistics are staggering when comparing children’s footprints across the globe, which causes many environmentalists to suggest that not having children may be the single most important thing you do for the environment. As a mother of two, this is a hard pill to swallow, and I try to convince myself that my children will be part of the solution since they are raised with green family values.
According to Mother Jones, a developed world baby’s carbon footprint is quite large:
Between 2000 and 2050, the U.S. will add 114 million kids to its population. Africa will add 1.2 billion—but their respective CO2 emissions will be the same.
One American child generates as much CO2 as 106 Haitian kids.
Zahara Jolie-Pitt will produce 45,000 lbs of CO2 yearly, compared with 221 lbs if she still lived in Ethiopia.
A typical baby goes through 3,800 disposable diapers in her first 2.5 years.
96% of American babies wear disposable diapers. In China, only 6% do. In India, 2%.
China claims its one-child policy has prevented 400 million births—saving 1.5 billion tons of CO2 in 2004 alone.
China is often criticized for its one-child-policy as a restriction on personal freedom. I am not a proponent of laws that dictate the demographics of a family, but I do think that through education, we can have a significant impact on helping families decide the right number of children for themselves and the environment. I believe in educated choice.
I do have a few friends who have three or more children. One friend was accosted by another mother as being environmentally irresponsible for having three children. For many environmentalists, having children feels like a hypocritical action. Angharad Penrhyn Jones said in the Guardian:
Eco activists spend their lives agonising over the planet’s future – but that doesn’t stop them having children. We mustn’t give up hope.
It is a personal decision whether or not to have children. I believe it is possible to live by environmental ethics and have a child, obviously since I am a mother. The amount of carbon left behind as individuals and families is the most important factor, whether we have children or not. It is all about carbon emissions. If you leave a very small family’s carbon footprint, you are being eco-responsible and can still have children. It is one reason why I live-off-the-grid and grow my food. Just remember:
American children make up 4% of the world’s population, but they consume more than 40% of the world’s toys.
Motherhood Uncensored says
I recently discovered Bill McKibben’s book regarding the decision to have one kid as an environmental choice. Personally, using China (and I’m Chinese American) as an example for ANY policy, particularly the one child rule which historically and currently has caused ridiculous numbers of girl deaths and filled the orphanages, is questionable.
Having children (or more than one child) is not selfish. The power and the love of siblings is not something to feel guilty about — nor is it if you decide to have only one child.
But personally, I’d say having a bunch of gas guzzling expensive cars, and our nation’s focus on capitalism and excess are far better concerns than folks driving around with “Thanks for not breeding” bumper sticker.
I had such a collection of responses while reading this!
First, I have to say that “breeding” as a verb for having a family, or “breeder” as a term for parents, strikes me as so offensive that it would cancel out any pangs I felt upon reading such a bumper sticker.
Second, the entire notion of saving the environment is just for humans, isn’t it? If we are willing to become extinct and allow the earth to move on to the next dominant species, or perhaps a relatively lifeless rest period, then we can just go on doing what we’re doing, because that is the direction we’re currently heading in. The planet itself won’t be harmed by our behavior — just its appropriateness for us.
Third, I know plenty of single people and childless couples whose carbon footprint as a household is larger than that of my family. Focusing on childbearing can allow those who — for whatever reason — choose not to have children to feel that they are free to continue overconsumption and waste, since they have made that sacrifice for the earth.
Thanks for a thought-provoking post.
Green SAHM says
This is something my husband and I have discussed. We have two kids right now, and what amazes me is the stuff the accumulate that he and I didn’t even buy for them. Birthday presents and the like.
But what really got his attention, and it’s a stat like the one quoted in the article here, was how many resources it takes to make disposable diapers. He’d refused to go along with cloth diapers before. Now he gets it. Too late for our two, but that’s how it is.
On the plus side, we get by with one car right now. Should we ever get another, we still want to mostly live as though there’s just the one. There have been just a few times where I’ve wished for a second car although most of the time I cope just fine. I say “I cope” because it falls mostly to me, being the at home parent. And any other vehicle will have fuel efficiency as a major consideration.
He wants more kids, and I do argue for adoption if he wants a large family. Seems to me to be a smarter way to go about raising a lot of kids.
Nicole J. says
We are deliberating on whether to add another child to our family. For us it is about finances, future lifestyle, education and yes, the impact of this additional person on our world. But I also think about it this way, it will be one more person who will live and believe in green ways. One more person to try to make the world better; one person we can help educate to love and honor his/her world.
Unreal justification and really makes it all about the parents, the human ego and your need to validate your purpose. I chose to have no children a long time ago after taking a step back in college for which I earned my way through and observe the ignorance of people and how they breed. The only things that separates us from animals is the intelligence to NOT overbreed. What gives each human the idea they they have a right to over breed. That is absolutely ridiculous. At our current rate, the environment is not sustainable so you are trying to justify one human – LOOK UP THE IMPACT OF A SINGLE BABY AND THE — USE OF DIAPERS – that maybe someday might help the world outrun it’s population problem. Issues is that every second, there are thousands of babies born where the parents had the same exude and in the end it’s about the parents and the luxury they are taking up that is destroying the world. Now China and India are way out of control so unless you intend to have kid that can quickly come up with a solution for that, then there is really no excuse.
Practical Mom says
I don’t feel one bit guilty for having 4 children. I could go on and on about how we try to reduce our footprint (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, small family farm, etc.), but my real point is this, however politically incorrect it may be: if people like us don’t have MORE children, we will never have a prayer of doing the right things for the survival of the human race. As long as idiots who don’t contribute any brain power are having 6 kids who won’t contribute any brain power, we won’t make any head-way. Intelligent people who raise and educate their children right are the ones who will make a difference.
Ha, exactly! Have you ever seen “Idiocracy”?
Soccer Moms Suck says
Most people with as many kids as you have do DON’T raise them right, though. They just grow up to be entitled, misbehaved twats. This is why I stopped after one kid.
I don’t know why I’m bothering reaching out, you won’t address the real issue anyway, which is that you probably feel (like most entitled mothers) that child bearing is somehow a God given right. Nevermind the fact that you’re contributing to expanding the human population like the virus that it is, devouring our farmland and resources so that each of your offspring can have their own ‘piece’ of the pie. You would never objectively raise an intelligent discussion about this because you spin it like everyone else does. That you couldn’t possibly be PART (key word, PART) of the problem at all, and that we’re horrible people for thinking that maybe the human race should address this issue as a whole.
Horrible because we pose an inconvenience to your reproductive abilities. Selfish to the core…far from ‘Practical’. The irony is, I’m not even a Democrat (nor am I a Republican).
Totally agree. the GOD equation is the brainwashing to breed more taxpayers and voters for the wealthy that continues to hold down the rest with ignorance. 4 kids, you should be ashamed. My taxes have to pay for your kids.
You assume that the “survival of the human race” is important; in the greater scheme of things, it is not. The irony of this debate is that creating more humans is going to assure destruction of the human race. At least reducing the population would help ensure humans’ longer-term survival prospects. I’m indifferent – I don’t have kids, nor will I have them. My life’s going to be just fine as I’ll be gone before the breeders’ destruction takes things into the tank. Such is life…
Jennifer Lance says
Good point Motherhood Uncensored about the Chinese policy. I should have mentioned the drawbacks beyond loss of personal freedom with such laws. And yes, the bumper sticker was on the back of an SUV!
As a proud father of a rowdy two year old boy that is looking to having more children I’d say it’s up to you. I see any forced restriction on reproduction such as China’s as a form a slavery. I will not condone or comply to such a thing.
Then how do you suggest we solve the problem?
Oh Chris you don’t understand do you? Having restriction on reproduction is the OPPOSITE of slavery. I’m not saying the one child policy is right, but it is definitely not wrong. What is more inhuman than giving birth to children whom will starve to death, or even get abducted and turn into human trafficking victims?
Look at the economic in China now, it’s booming because the one-child policy improved the quality of these children’s lives, which in contrasts, improved the parents and grandparents’ lives. The family of 3s can have decent meals together everyday instead of not being able to afford any food for a family of 10.
Have you ever been to India or Ethiopia? These 3rd world countries don’t have birth controls and majority of the kids are born with no human right within their countries. They get abuse and starvation, why should their parents bring them into this world just to suffer the same their parents suffered?
How many people are on earth is not as important as how much they consume (Jared Diamond, Collapse) First world “standard” of living is what kills the environment the fastest. By consuming more here we export pollution abroad. The tragedy is that China (India, Indonesia) etc. cannot come to first world standard of living; that is not sustainable… yet undeniable.
Not all American children’s carbon footprints are equal. Living a sustainable lifestyle is so much larger than considering whether to have kids.
Personally, I’d love to see more parents in developed countries raising breastfed, cloth diapered, vegetarian, car-free children. To people like that, I say, “Thanks for ‘breeding’!”
Whenever I hear things like this it makes me remember one of Barbara Kingsolver’s short essays entitled “Somebody’s Baby”. (It can be found in her Hightide In Tucson book.) It’s a look at how children are viewed in different parts of the world, and parental responsibility, and community responsibility. We all have to do our best to raise not only our own children but respect and nurture all the children of the world.
I grew up in a 2 child family and always “knew” that I would have 2 children, no more. I thought academically and environmentally about it, and that I would be “replacing myself and my spouse”. But after our 2nd was born we were blessed with the magic of a 3rd child that I had previously thought would be the end all to any environmental ground I may have gained. But our now over-populated family, has a little girl that could make any environmentalist/greenlover/whatever melt any day of the week as she plants our veggies in the back at 2 years old.
But I have learned that every family has their own magic number for the “right” number of children they “should” have. From there it is the parent’s responsibility to make best choices to help guide their children, the world’s children, to a healthy lifestyle and loving environment.
That’s my soapbox. 🙂
Susie Kim says
We humans are part of the Ecology that encompass this entire planet. Procreating is part of that circle of life. Just as we can’t tell a Lion to stop procreating, we also have the deep instinctual need. We may reason and we may have the mental capacity to say “no, I do not want to have children” but I think that instinct is still there and should not be made feel guilty by some mad hats even if they are environmentalists.
As for it being one of the worst environmental sin, I think that’s bull****. We do destructive things to the planet but we also do many good things as shown by people like us.. people who DO care and who try to make this planet a better place.. and most likely, our children will continue on because they are being taught to be good humans. I think as a parent, you become MORE compassionate, MORE caring, and MORE giving.. which benefits the planet. If there wasn’t any children around… the world would be a sad sad place.
Better for the planet, or for you?
Can this question be answered without asking (and answering) the question, “For what purpose does the earth exist?”
I feel having children is a God given right by Him; however, I don’t think God intended on us abusing his creation. Nor do I think God intended on us being lazy & chosing convience over the care of people or planet.
All this to say, I have four children and I intend on having more if it is God’s will for my life. And I do not, in anyway intend on asking bumper sticker people if it is ok. What about the resources it took to make that bumper sticker? Hopefully that person will not get sick in her old age & our children will have to be her dr or at least hopefully, they will have a different heart than she does. or maybe they’d think she shouldn’t live so long becaue she is using up resources. (for the record, i don’t feel that way, just trying to provide an equal idea for her way of thinking.)
mom of 4 beautiful children!!!
I am really shocked by this article. I think you and anyone else that bases their family size on what is right for the earth needs some serious freakin therapy. Children are a gift, a miracle. Not a statistic.
person with common sense says
Kelly, do you really think someone should need therapy because they choose to not be selfish? With a population of over 7 billion, children are not miracles, neither is childbirth in any way shape or form. A miracle is something that seems impossible, and does not cohere to the laws of nature. Almost every mammal is capable of giving live birth, including humans. 245 children are born every hour, making children more of a disease instead of a miracle.
I agree with the theory that as long as those of us who are making it a lifestyle point to reduce our waste and consumption and teaching our little ones to do the same and not be consumer-driven-big-box-mart goers is more helpful towards creating adults later who will understand the importance of that verses the willfully ignorant who have just as many kids (or more) who will grow up to be mindless consumers.
environmentalists having children is NOT the problem… may even be the long term solution. who else is going to teach them?
Big families conserve better almost by default. Parents have more colleges to fund, and usually have to cut back in order to save. Their minivans and SUVs are filled to the brim instead of just carting 3 folks around. They can’t afford McMansions or lawn services. Big families usually eat the food they buy, hand down the clothes they wear and carpool because there are only two parents and 6 different places to go. Also, their kids ride their bikes and walk a lot. A lot of big families that I know home school. Can you imagine the carbon emissions that cuts? No to-and-from trips to school five days a week? Count that up. As one of eight kids I know big families don’t over consume. It’s next to impossible. Each kid is waiting for the other to cast something aside and swipe it up for himself. Not much gets cast aside in a big family. Before people have children, they think mostly of what they can GET. They value their new car, their awesome apartment, their flat screen t.v. Single people and even married people who don’t have children are inherently selfish because they have only themselves to look after. Good stewardship and prudence are important in all walks of life. If these people want the rest of the world to understand that they would encourage BIGGER families rather than selfish lifestyles.
With people living longer, one child per family makes sense. Given our current global/environmental condition, having more than one child is irresponsible.
Of all the vain self important things I have ever read or heard, this article takes the cake. The fact that you truly believe that Angelina and Brad Pitt’s child would be better off in a 3rd world country where food, health care, vaccinations and overall quality of life are the epitome of the bottom of the barrel. You would rather see the child die in a cess pool of diseases over seeing the child prosper? It’s just amazing. Because their carbon footprint is larger here? Are you serious? When are the green loving hippies going to understand that the earth will buck this species (humans) right off with one drastic weather change if we screw it up too much. No amount of recycling, footprint minimizing, bike riding, dieting, compost heap building, birthday giftless years are ever going to change that. We CANNOT destroy this earth. But it can very easily destroy us.
So in order to save the planet, you’re going to not have children? Does it ever occur to you that a lot of the solutions proposed to global warming are a lot worse than the problem? I’d rather have the temperature go up a degree or two than deprive couples that want children from having them.
If environmentalists do follow this advice, environmentalism will gradually go extinct as everyone else continues to have kids. Then the public will vote against environmentalist policies. Quite a quandry you’ve got yourself in, isn’t it?
Willing to sacrifice says
“Having babies” is not so much the problem — having adults is what’s causing the problems. The environmental impact of disposable diapers is heavy, but we are adults much longer than we are children.
People who envision having a baby often forget that they are creating an entirely new human being who will leave in a few years as an adult.
Youth is a wonderful phase of life, whether it’s people, panda, or panther. It’s sad to imagine there being no more of any of them. A baby condor may not be as cute as a baby human, but we must choose to forego one if the others are to survive.
Children’s welfare will improve as there are fewer of them to care for. Considering the future world we are creating for future generations, procreation today is like renting rooms in a burning building — renting them to our children no less.
We must evolve past the selfish desire to reproduce-at-will if we have any hope of winning the war against ourselves.
Choosing to refrain from producing another person demonstrates a profound love for all life.
Willing to sacrifice says
We must evolve past the selfish desire to reproduce-at-will if we have any hope of winning the war against ourselves.
jake f says
Why have kids and put money into a college fund when you can go out and buy a big screen plasma tv? its retarded i dont even know why everyone wants to have a kid
Do not allow yourself to feel guilty about having children. Here’s why.
Follow that train of thought to utmost logical end: if by having fewer kids less damage is done to the earth, how much less damage if we have no kids at all? Imagine: in 100 years of having 0 children, we could reduce the population of the United States to a handful of old people still left alive. Everyone else dead and passed away with no descendants.
One, because what you’re implicitly saying is that eventually if we want to save the Earth we should all just commit mass suicide right now, Jonestown style. That guy with the bumper sticker can go first. By that logic, Hitler was good for the environment, as was Stalin and the Khmer Rouge.
Two, because it will never happen. If we all agreed to have fewer or no children, people would have kids on the sly. They would hide them from discovery. They would give their 2nd child to infertile/childless relatives or friends to raise as their own to circumvent accounting by the law. If the law says “only 1 kid” then give your 2nd kid to your sister. Or your cousin. Or those nice lesbians next door. Done. Or people will just outright break the law. Look at China.
Third, no one knows how many people the Earth can hold, nor what the future will bring. Technology has changed MASSIVELY since just the 1900s. What about 2100? Consider the light bulb. People used to burn lanterns and candles, and now we have LED bulbs that last 10 years on a watch battery! And there are more efficient lights after that. If we apply our technology to the basics of life: air, water, land, food… no statistics can predict what changes the future will bring.
It works the other way too: AIDS, war, corn blights, hurricanes, volcanoes, record-breaking winters… We not helpless against these problems, but there’s a limit to how much we can realistically prevent them. You can’t control nature. You can’t control the actions of other human beings. You can’t control God. Life will be life, and no amount of simplistic environmental math and shocking statistics can predict or prevent that. An asteroid could strike the Earth at any time, and what then?
I liked your article, and I’m not arguing with it or you. It’s this “guilt is good” mentality, as if guilt is somehow an antidote to greed, as if it solves anything. It’s the snark mentality: making a cutting put-down makes you somehow right.
If you actually fear environmental apocalypse, logically you would want to have 10 kids and live communally on a farm with their husbands and wives. Then you would have a village of 11-20 or more people and have enough hands to raise all your own food and protect each other in case of bandits or corrupt law enforcement. Or just to have more loved ones to talk to when TV and the Internet finally blow out like candles.
Dan in Seattle says
Overpopulation and overconsumption are two different problems, it’s hard to take a moral high ground when addressing one, but not the other. I personally believe overpopulation is the root of many of the world’s problems, but we really need to work on BOTH reducing our population size and the amount of waste we produce. In each case, we need more education, resources, and a fundamental change in our way of thinking. And yes, that means changing the societal norm of having 2.5 children.
I wouldn’t worry about it. Look at history – we don’t react until we’re already screwed. When we have to buy expensive filtration devices for our air/water, the _zero_ children per family will probably be the norm for any middle class couple. It’ll be fine when we have enough opposing force. 🙂
That said, why aren’t we working on more effective forms of contraception?
Tim Murray says
EXHAUSTING THE FISHERY IS MY PERSONAL CHOICE, ISN’T IT?
I went into my local Sporting Goods store today to buy some fishing gear for this coming summer season. I engaged pleasantries with Tracy, the lady at the counter. It was about four months since I last spoke to her. In that conversation, I lamented the fate of Kate, a tragically unfortunate woman in her mid twenties with schizophrenia. The whole island knew of Kate. Like so many schizophrenics, she was always seen pacing with a cigarette in her mouth, often talking to herself and sometimes flying into rages.
Unfortunately Kate is an attractive young woman. It is unfortunate because she is prey to cads who pick her up while hitchiking and have their way with her. About four months after her first childbirth she took her baby in her arms and at midnight in the moonlight walked into the frigid waters of the harbour and attempted to swim to the next island. She was apprehended, the baby rescued, placed in temporary social services care and then adopted. Of course the father of this child was no where to be seen.
The father of Kate’s second child was more responsible. He took custody while she went into psychiatric care. But her stay was short. In Canada there is really nothing doctors can do with mental health patients who won’t voluntarily submit to treatment. They are typically detained for two days after a doctor issues an order to the police. Then they are released. Kate has been detained and released over and over again.
This past fall Kate let it be known that she wanted a baby. She enjoyed being pregnant and having a child that cloyed to her and needed her. So every day and every night, she put on her make-up, tarted up, and trolled the roads thumbing rides. By January it was evident that she had been successful in her quest. Her third issue should be due before the spring is out. Even in a tight community with high accountability, there is always a supply of male scum to meet the irresponsible demands of someone like Kate. I can’t find words to describe the impotent rage I feel, and my feeling is broadly felt in the same depth.
When I reviewed Kate’s latest woes with Tracy, I bitterly remarked that with 6.7 billion people on the planet, and our environment consequently on the ropes, government—the community—should have no qualms about seizing people like Kate and sterilizing them. And then hunting down the scoundrels who take advantage of them and summarily neutering them without anesthetic.
“Well, she said, having children is a personal choice.”
Remembering that conversation, I brought my lures to the counter and announced, “Tracy, I won’t be buying a fishing licence this year.”
“Why not?” she asked, “You have to stay in your limit or you might get a heavy fine. Besides, Tim, you’ve gotta leave some fish for the rest of us.”
“Whether I catch one salmon or twenty salmon, surely that is a personal choice,” I replied.
Quadra Island, BC
Useless people says
No one can justify having a child to fulfill their own selfish desires. No one.
And my selfish needs? I take long, hot showers and use all the water I want. I drive big SUV’s. I fly airplanes. I use up more resources than most people, but I will NEVER in a million years hurt the earth as much as a mother and her brand new BABY. GIVE ME THE TAX BREAKS, NOT HER!
Stop Having Kids! says
I completely agree. It’s laughable when someone who proclaims to care about the environment tries to justify their selfishness and total lack of regard for the environment by trying to turn it around and say it’s ok to add to the human overpopulation problem because they will raise their kids to be eco-friendly. Like the the world will benefit from them reproducing. Lie to yourself all you want but don’t expect child-free people to thank you for adding another brat into the world to sucking up our resources and continue depleting the planet. I am a woman and am NEVER having children. I find pregnancy and giving birth as repulsive as seeing oil leaked into the ocean. More people need to stand up and realize just how much damage being a breeder does to our planet. And yes BREEDER is an accurate term. If you find it offensive, you should because it’s pretty selfish and extremely harmful to our ecosystem. No amount of recycling and turning off lights is going to cover up that fact.
I’m not sure why people should feel guilty for breeding, if one studies demographics, the womb of the mother is the most powerful weapon. If you think too much about it, and feel guilty about breeding, the world will be left in 40 years to the children of Third World immigrants and Evangelical Christians that most of you probably despise.
Henry Resheto says
To expect that humans will stop procreating (either through education or by UN resolution) is unrealistic. The only way to save a human civilization is to move beyond this planet. We need to invest all our knowledge, energy and money into space exploration before it is too late. Besides, imagine people indeed stated to have significantly fewer kinds. Imagine that you are that lucky child that is still getting born: one in hundred families. You are now is taken care of by hundreds adults and practically have no other kids to relate to. Imagine what spoiled brat you will grow out to be, and when you do grow up imagine all these old retired folks that you now need to take of! Alone!!! I become blue in a face just thinking about it: the only what out is to start colonizing Mars or simething.
S Denny says
Let me start by saying that I don’t ever plan to have children.
However, I am hard pressed to figure out what your saving the world/environment for if it isn’t for future generations… Isn’t that paradoxical?
People have kids for the same reason they believe in God, they are scared. They are scared of one day being alone and they are scared that when they die that that is it, there is no more and want to believe in an afterlife.
Eventually the planet will run out of what we need, it may not be in 10 or 100 years but it will happen. There is no reason to worry about global warming as without reducing the world population there really is no way to change things, you can say your are green but you really aren’t you are just trying to make yourself feel better about yourself. What will probably save this planet some day is a meteor impact that would kill 90% of the earth’s population so until that day there is no changing things as people will just not stop having kids.
If you have more than one child you are very selfish!
Seels previous comments are unfortunatley probably correct,nature will take care of itself in the end meteor or no meteor.
Human world population growth now is at an insane level,and is set to keep growing.
If youre 80 years old just think the world has more than tripled in population in youre lifetime.
In the end world governments are simply going to be forced to reward people financially with money not to have children,money talks and thats what will save the earth
Issues of space colonization are in real terms probably something like 250 years away,no planet within 4 light years of travel would be able to handle life for us humans
Ok for those mothers saying they are not feeling guilty of having more than 2 kids because you will educate them to be a part of the solution instead of the problem think this . Kids spent the majority of their life and time at school , not with you . By the age of 18 nearly all of their knowledge , comes from teachers , books and the influence of peers ,so if no one is being environmentally aware at school , and its just about algebra and english , there isnt going to be a strong foundation of awareness with just you standing there .i mean , even even if you are a good mom you have THE ODDS OF REALITY AGAINST YOU ! and the reality is that the shit has started to hit the fan ! and bringing more people is not the solution at all but neither is extremism as the passion between the sexes will never end , its better to make practical solutions available such as the access to early female sterilization , family planning , one child policy , an easier adoption process and collective collaboration . I am not having any kids by the way.
Mom of Five says
It’s called HOMESCHOOLING.
ali alam says
just to say this foot print stuff is not good enough , i think we should let people know about the hirarchy of our systems , meaning that if you are in a certain class like most people paying mortgage (slave), you should think twice why you would want another poor soul to become like you , you will never ever learn to live because by the time you finish up paying your debt , you are too old to know what you could do in this life . even certain animal would quit having babies in captivity situation , so lets wake up and look at this for the sake of the children who will be coming to this world . if you can simplify , go ahead and have children who can live simple lives . meaning no debt for ever .
This is an interesting article written on the subject of smaller families (with accompanying statistics): http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/13/climate-change-family-size-babies
I don´t think we should judge families who already have many children or those who plan on having many. I do, however, think that something stands to be said about families (especially in developed countries) who choose to have smaller (two or less) children and the benefits of it.
Kc McElroy says
Derrick Jensen responds far better then I ever Could : http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801/
Short Answer: Don’t stop having kids, have as many as you want. It won’t make a difference either way.
Who will be there to represent you when you die? Who will carry on your name?
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath is quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127 3-5. God loves us! He created this world for us to live LIFE! Why do we care more about this world and the animals in it, than our own kind? Why are we not concerned about our eternal LIFE? Let’s enjoy this LIFE with our families, and get ready for LIFE eternally, with God, our creator.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal LIFE. John 3:16.
Never Mind says
“Why do we care more about this world and the animals in it, than our own kind? Why are we not concerned about our eternal LIFE? Let’s enjoy this LIFE with our families, and get ready for LIFE eternally….”
I’m sorry, I don’t intend to get personal but doesn’t this sound selfish to you? If everyone thought like this, the world will surely come to an end faster.
Never Mind says
I come from a third world country that is threatening to take over the world population in a few decades. Growing up there I realized most of the problems could have been tackled better had there been a small population. The poor, uneducated ones are ignorant and continue to breed (too bad if that offends anyone, look up the dictionary) and the rich simply don’t care. They don’t in my country and I can see they don’t anywhere else in the world. I am married and in my mid-30s. I have consciously not had children so far. My husband & I plan to adopt to ease the burden on this world. We have been on a waiting list for a year & are told will continue to be for the next couple of years … just too many people! Isn’t that ironic? I was wondering if I should just go ahead & have a biological child in the time being. Then I hesitate … would I not be aggravating the situation? But wait, seems like most of the world really doesn’t care because they are so busy having their own kids. These are the people I am altering my life for?!
Question : Will those with more than 1 child consider moving to another planet if & when that option opens up? You could breed a colony there.
And if we make stricter gun laws, bears are going to run riot in the city streets and eat our babies in their cots. Give it up. Overpopulation is the white elephant in the room and the real issue at hand. Adults driving huge 4×4’s, buying expensive suits, consuming most of the little sea life we have left? They didnt subcutaneously appear out of the ether, they popped out of some female who couldn’t think farther than her nose. Capitalism is the fruit of a selfish society where there are so many potential buyers that we are no longer the individual customer but a number. If a handful stand against it, shareholders dont fret because the gap will be filled by..surprise suprise….more people. Where do buyers come from, amazingly they’re what happens when babies get bigger.
OK, and not pro extinction, maybe one kid. I have friends who desperately want children because it’ll complete their lives. Honestly, why else do people procreate other than natural instinct? That yearning, its hormones coupled with a selfish desire. YOU want a child, YOU want a family, YOU may want to keep your marriage alive. But YOU dont care that this child your bringing into the world may be breathing toxic air one day. YOU dont wonder if there will be enough housing or jobs, and at the rate babies are being popped out there wont be.
And if you think I’m being mean, answer me this. If you wanted a child so badly why dont you adopt a child that was already on this earth and needs a home? No, instead you want to have a little hybrid of yourself and your partner, the ultimate form of narcissism.
I will be socially and environmentally responsible to this planet and my fellow man, although the latter doesn’t deserve it, and adopt should the overwhelming hormonal urge strike me. Until then, I am going to keep referring to irresponsible people as ‘breeders’, and hopefully it becomes fashionable to the point that guys keep their trousers on and women clamp their hymens shut. And pray, to whatever deity is listening with an ounce of godly sense, that somebody hurries up and puts something in the water.
Oregon Farmer says
I believe that people should be able to have as many kids as they want. However, they should also be able to deal with the consequences. So when the water runs out, food becomes ungodly expensive due to increased demand outstripping production, and the air starts to become ever more polluted DO NOT COMPLAIN. When adults make decisions they must also be able to deal with ALL of the things that happen as a result of those decisions.
Think I’m crazy? Ask yourself these 3 questions: a.) Where does my water come from? b.) How is my food produced? c.) Where does my trash go? If you are like 90% of Americans you will not have a clue. You just think that things magically appear and disappear, which is exactly what corporate culture wants you to do: make more kids, buy more things, and make them rich. WHEN IS “MORE” GOING TO BE “ENOUGH?”
The Deranged Housewife says
A pang of guilt? Why? These are your children – human beings that you helped create and bring into the world. What you are feeling is essentially the bullying of the left wing extremists who care more about “saving planet Earth” than human life itself. Yes, it’s true we use a lot compared to other nations, and we are blessed to have that to use. But having more kids should not be frowned upon, if you love them and can take care of them – teach them to be stewards of the Earth, not see them as parasites using up more space. You know there are actually people who suggest abortion rather than having more children as a means of ‘saving the planet,’ right?
I have three and we might have one more. Is my right – and desire – to have more children less important than your feelings about “Mother Earth?” Whose to say the food, water, etc. will run out? We are still here on Earth despite our best efforts to trash the place in generations past with the dumping of chemicals, belching smoke from factories, etc. Environmental controls and regulations have been in place for decades, and now they’re appearing to grow out of control, killing portions of industry with strict rules and fines that do little more than erode our economy. If anything, no one will be able to afford clean water, air and food because prices will be so high. Quit treating children as inconveniences and see them as the people they are!
Stop having children says
You are a selfish and self-centered person. Your children – and unfortunately my one child – will pay for YOUR selfish and self-centered decisions. To answer your question: NO, it’s not your “right”.
Idiots…breeding in this centry is for fools. Having a baby is about the most selfish thing u can do. Alls this talk about it and u all no its wrong but u only care about u.
Stop having children says
No, it’s selfish. And your children, and unfortunately my child, will pay for your selfish decisions.
I agree with Luci and her comment about access to EARLY female sterilization. I will NEVER have children. I am 35 years old and have NEVER wanted children. Didn’t even care for “baby dolls” when I was a child. Despite all of that, I am having trouble finding a doctor that will tie my tubes! At 35!!!
And yes…. you ARE breeders. And you ARE selfish. It is the height of narcissism to think that your precious little darlings will be better than everyone else’s useless brats because YOU will raise them to be “green” and “stewards of the planet”. Puhleeze. The reality of teenage rebellion and the need for kids to search for their own identities will put an end to your fuzzy ideals pretty quickly.
HI, I think it is going to take the average person a bit longer to ‘get it’ that the number of children they have = a collective problem for us all. But until the direct issue of more mouths to feed (and for 80 or so years as life spans are longer) means increased water and food consumption and the rest of it is understood — humanity is F##cked, literally.
As the cost of everything goes up it is actually painful to watch our young people come of age on a planet where whatever they chose to do isn’t needed (ie jobs) or possible (ie affordable housing). With fewer children per couple, seems that each child would then have MORE of a chance of success. What was ‘ok’ even one or two generations ago as far as the number of children per couple is NOT fine in 2013 as our environment further degrades globally.
I understand how you feel completely! I read about overpopulation and the inevitable results (wars over resources, millions more starving to death, oil depletion and no oil for the tractors that plant the crops that feed the people) and I think to myself how can a person bring more people into the world? But at the same time I believe family is the most important thing in the world. I would love to have 4 children and since my husband and I are both well paid professionals I know we could support them. But the bottom line is our planet cannot. I plan on having two children as a kind of compromise but I still feel guilty about having that many. I try to compensate by growing our own food, eating less meat more vegetables ( not quite ready for vegan ism but more meatless meals!)
The Onion pretty much nailed it several years ago:
I truly hope the mindsets have changed in the past five years since the original responses, because you parents are incredibly narcissistic if you believe your children are benefiting the environment positively. How can you say you are conscious about the environments demise when you continue to procreate? I think china went the right route in banning more than one child and I believe we should follow that route if there are any more women birthing children like the women in kate plus 8, and 19 and counting.
Funny article. If the article writer was honestly concerned this much about global resources usage they would stop using them all together.
For all the rest of us isn’t it a shame the article writer’s mother didn’t believe the same way.