Everyone loves news on the octuplets. Who wouldn’t want a quick fix on the mama who has 14 children under the age of 8?
But when you think of their waste, isn’t anyone ready to say “Eight is enough”? How about one of those other snappy lines from the Simpsons fertility episode… Might we say they’ll have a “Love/Eight” relationship, at least with the environment?
A while back, I wrote a blog on a Mother Jones-compiled fact sheet on the carbon footprint of the “average” American baby. (Of course we know neither your baby, or mine, is average.)
I, like everyone else in the blogosphere, have my own opinions about the birth of the octuplets to an already large family. That she is a single mother doesn’t so much bother me, though I know that being a single mama to one infant is struggle enough.
Working out that juggling act we call parenting can be tough; add the weight of each child’s carbon footprint to worry about, and it’s downright difficult.
The MJ results were astounding:
- 3,800 disposable diapers in the first 2.5 years
- 96% of American babies wear disposables, whereas only 6% of Chinese babies do. In India, 2%.
- 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. Zahara Jolie-Pitt will produce 45,000 lbs of CO2 yearly, compared with 221 lbs if she still lived in Ethiopia.
- One American child generates as much CO2 as 106 Haitian kids.
We live in a very different world than we used to, people. One where eight babies (surprise!) can be born from one woman at the same time. Those babies will need a lot of nappies, and let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this woman signs her kid up for Bum Genius and the like and steers clear from the Huggies endorsments.
The results on the comparative carbon footprint of our kids makes you rethink disposables. Even G Diapers aren’t eco-friendly unless you compost every soiled insert, and cheers to you if you do! Line drying the cloth diapers is better than using even the most energy efficient dryer. And as Heather so clearly put it in Part 4 of the Baby Essentials that aren’t, you can “wipe” diapers off the need list earlier than you thought.
Here’s the thing: we’re all obsessing over the size of the family and the circumstances of the births and how she will support her family. I agree with Heather on her diapering tips, and I think we should extend her suggestions to America’s mystery mother. If so, she’ll shrink down those carbon footprints so they can maybe fit into cute little baby moccasins.
Image: mhofstrand on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.