Friday, July 13, 2007

Population Report Response:

Too big for the planet?

"People think it's all about eco-nappies and hand-me-downs, but it's not quite as simple as that," she says. "You've got to consider the environmental impact across the 80 years that each of these babies is likely to live. We've calculated that each UK child is going to cost the world the equivalent of 620 return flights between London and New York across a lifetime." And then, of course, many of these children will have children of their own.

How, then, do couples who have chosen to have big families react? Do they fear becoming modern-day pariahs, or do they believe they can defend their choice?

The Russel Fishers (5 children)

To her, the Optimum Population Trust's report sounds "more than a bit dictatorial". Who, she asks, do they think they are, telling people like her and her husband, Jamie, 52, that they shouldn't have six children? "If we had 13 kids and were asking the state to bring them up, perhaps it would be different," she says. "But we're not asking anyone else to feed them or clothe them.

"I think we're having to conform to narrower and narrower norms in this country, and it's a shame. There are plenty of people around who choose to have no children at all, which surely opens the possibility for people like me to choose to have more than two."

Well, glad to be acknowledged. But that logic only works if you have four, and if there is one childless couple for every couple than has more than two. And it only works if population growth is the only problem - there are still those that think reduction is in order.

As to her first point - is she being dumb, or purposefully obtuse. "Who do they think they are?" is a non-argument, and in no way addresses the concern of the report. If she had read it, she would know that it has nothing to do with governmental subsidy and everything to do what the subsudies the earths provides, which are unavoidable. And, might I add, have self-perpetuating consequences.

"When you've got a lot of children, you don't have as much money as other families," says Jamie. "They can't be indulged in the same way, and they can't be pandered to in the same way.
. . .
What she and Jamie share is a huge sense of enjoyment from their children and their family.

As you can see, the rest of that section also was non-responsive to the population issue. "I enjoy it" and "It is hard" really don't address the argument "You're killing the planet."
The Corbets (5 kids)

They grow their own vegetables, they compost their waste, they're avid freecyclers, most of their clothes are second-hand, and to reduce their carbon footprint they don't drive anywhere on Fridays. In almost every way, the Corbets are a model green family: there's just one caveat. "We've got five kids," says Angie - Martyn, 19, Mike, 17, twins James and Jo, 14, and Sarah, 12. "And as far as some people are concerned, that completely negates everything else you do to reduce your impact on the planet's resources."
Some people. You know - such as environmental scientists.
"Much more significant to me is the fact that we're bringing up five young people who will be productive members of society and will play a part in alleviating problems rather than causing them.
It goes on as such . . .
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