The issue of population control as a strategy for lessening the impact on the environment is finally starting to get more air play.
Why it was ever a taboo subject in the first place is beyond me; probably something about the “rights” some folks seem to believe they have to procreate. “Rights” are a human invention; not recognized in nature.
What Nature gave us was the *urge* to breed – that feature probably needs a little work :).
“Rights” are a noble concept, but once they infringe on environmental stability and clash with mother nature, all bets are off and nature will fight back… as it is doing.
Anyhow, a study by statisticians at Oregon State University has found that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might engage in during their entire lives, such as recycling or driving less.
The research also shows potential carbon impacts vary incredibly across countries. For example, the average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S. – including all descendants – is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh.
In the USA currently, each child adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the impact of an average parent – about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which a person is responsible on average.
As I mentioned in my article “Population Control – Ultimate Greening” a while, if the only thing you ever do is to not have children, you’re probably miles ahead in your environmental efforts of those who do – and I don’t mean that in a nasty way.
We’re not an endangered species and given the state of our planet, I think we need to be telling our children that if they really care about the environment, they’ll think very seriously about the consequences of having children of their own.