Maybe you’ve already read it. This article has been making the rounds and stirring up both sides of the great carbon footprint debate: Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact.
…Take, for example, a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, and replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models. If she had two children, the researchers found, her carbon legacy would eventually rise to nearly 40 times what she had saved by those actions.
“Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle,” the report states…
If it’s new to you, make sure your force fields are up. No matter what your lifestyle, if you have children you are burdening the planet more than you ever imagined. You are environmentally irresponsible, to say the least.
If you have already seen it, I hope you took time to read some of the comments too. Many are from people like us who value children. Others are from environmentalists, but they are hardly in agreement. Maybe we as Christians don’t have room to talk, but I can’t help being amazed at the division within their own ranks.
While some simply follow the leader and nod in agreement, others follow the reasoning to its logical conclusion: death. Still others see the inconsistencies in the prevailing arguments coming out of the environmentalist camp, and some even say things that I can wholeheartedly agree with.
There are currently over 300 comments. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Of the serial killers I’m aware, John Wayne Gacy was the greenest. His victims were young, so he snuffed out many years of carbon consumption. He could have only been greener by targeting females.
Sad, but true.
…This article is a joke, right? If there aren’t going to be any more people, what’s the point of saving the planet. It’s not as if cockroaches care how many greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere…
Ooooh, never thought of that.
Duh. This is obvious. And useless. Reproducing has little inherent harm to the earth. Why don’t we have a discussion questioning the reasons for gross consumption by people in the developed world? Why don’t we talk about the emotional issues that drive Americans (and to a lesser but growing extent, the rest of the world) to spend/toss/spend/toss at soaring rates?
Let’s hit at the core of the problem. When we start being honest with ourselves about why we need a 4-pages-long registry for the birth of a single baby, then maybe we’ll see a greener earth…
Very good question. We need to be good stewards of God’s creation, and we need to raise up children to continue taking care of His creation until He returns.
You liberals keep swearing off kids. Soon, there will be fewer of you.
I’ll admit it. I was thinking the same thing.
I suggest that all the people who want to help the planet commit suicide. This will completely eliminate your carbon footprint and will reduce the world’s population.
How can you argue with logic like that?
So, [to a previous commentor], you do want someone to feed you when you can’t work anymore (indirectly, through taxes, Social Security payments and such), but you don’t want to spend any efforts for this yourself?
Somehow the liberals never seem to think this far ahead. Our children will be feeding them, paying their bills, and dispensing medication in their old age.
What gives the already-living a special ethical status if the safety of the earth is truly at stake? Those so concerned about the earth that they tell others whether to have a family can start reducing the earth’s population one at a time any time they wish.
That’s right. Let’s put our money where our mouth is, shall we?
As my friend Dug always said: “I’m not having kids; I can pollute as much as I want.”
And they worry that those of us with kids are being irresponsible…
So from this can we derive that war IS the answer?
Do we need more giant wars like WW1 (16 million dead) and WW2 (50-70 million dead) instead of puny wars like Vietnam (2 million dead, max) and Iraq?
Should we stop trying to prevent influenza pandemics and millions of deaths from malaria?
Should we stop trying to feed the hungry?
The four horsemen of The New Ecology: war, conquest, war, famine and death.
Wonderful! Perhaps, in time and with concerted effort, we can achieve negative population growth! Imagine, the earth will be devoid of human life, but positively crystalline in its pristine grandeur!
There is a time and place for sarcasm. I believe this comments provides an excellent example.
Economists (even very green economists) might take a different viewpoint on the issue posed by the blog. Carbon footprint is a cost, one of many costs entailed by childbirth. On the other hand, a new human being is a good thing, a positive value.
So, the question really comes down to whether the value of a child exceeds the costs, including the environmental impact. Clearly, some readers believe a child has little or no value. For others, the value of a child far exceeds any conceivable cost.
As to my own values, I would need to know whether we are talking about my kid or yours.
The emphasis was mine. I wanted to make sure you read to the end of that comment.
If the point of saving the planet from global warming by reducing our carbon footprint isn’t to leave a better place for our children, then why bother? If we can’t have kids, we might as well use this place up while we can.
I’m a pacific northwest dwelling, environmental promoting, prius driving mom, but even I have to admit, sometimes these environmentalists miss the forest for the trees.
I suppose we could just commit suicide as well, or bomb any country we chose and elminate a large carbon footprints worth of people, but that would also hardly be the point, now would it?
Amen, sister. And that’s where I’m tempted to hug a tree-hugger.
Go read some more comments, but be warned. The language is a little rough here and there.
Just call me Bigfoot. Apparently my carbon footprint is even bigger than my shoe size.