Some environmentalists claim that continuing to populate the planet by having children makes the greatest ecological impact on the environment — and that having babies is inherently bad for the earth. Thus, environmentally responsible individuals should not have kids. These viewpoints truly irk me. Because, what’s the proposed solution… Voluntary Human Extinction?
Okay, so someone will immediately chant, “Adopt!” True — adoption is a beautiful, selfless and humanitarian option. But adoption isn’t for everyone… especially in the case of reproductively healthy couples looking forward to expanding their family through procreation. And if every couple wishing to have a child adopted one instead of giving birth, the act in and of itself would lead to new anthropological and indeed, environmental problems.
But the argument against childbearing persists…
“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35 in a Daily Mail article. What? Toni uses overpopulation statistics to support her decision to abort a child and undergo a procedure that made her sterile in order to reduce her carbon footprint. Women like Toni (such as Corinne Maier, author of ‘No Kid‘) argue that kids consume way too much stuff. Cool, eco-friendly stuff (like the kind you find on this blog) along with nasty, toxic stuff (filling landfills globally). And this consumption perpetuates into adulthood.
Though this is true, I beg the radicals purporting that kids are bad for the environment to reconsider their argument. Before putting the blame on babies, let’s blame ourselves. Let’s blame our parents, our teachers and our governments. Raising kids to have total disregard for the environment as adults, the way we have been doing for centuries, is indeed environmentally irresponsible. And not educating the planet’s fertile population about contraceptive options may be one of the biggest ecological faux pas we’ve committed as citizens of the Earth since developing a reliance on fossil fuels.
But simply declaring that in order to save the future of the planet we should not have children is inherently unsound. Without children, what future are we protecting?