Environmentalism vs. Children

Environmentalism vs. Children November 21, 2017


Some environmentalists have revived the notion that having children is immoral, contributing to global warming and the destruction of the environment.

Heather Wilhelm, in Population Panic Returns: Left Revives Argument that Procreation Is Immoral | National Reviewquotes some of the headlines:

“Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.” (NBC)

“Want to Slow Global Warming? Researchers Look to Family Planning.” (NPR)

“Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact.”  (New York Times)

“Having children is one of the most destructive things you can do to the environment, say researchers.” (The Independent)

“The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis” (Conceivable Future)

Wilhelm quotes Travis Rieder, a philosopher at Johns Hopkins, who maintains that in light of “the very real prospect of catastrophic climate change” the decision to have children is morally problematic.  And having more than one child is immoral.

“If I release a murderer from prison, knowing full well that he intends to kill innocent people, then I bear some responsibility for those deaths. . . Something similar is true, I think, when it comes to having children: Once my daughter is an autonomous agent, she will be responsible for her emissions. But that doesn’t negate my responsibility.”

Notice how he speaks of his daughter!

Wilhelm also quotes philosopher Sarah Conly, author of One Child: Do We Have the Right to More?   (Oxford Univ. Press, 2015).  The answer, she says, is no.  Siblings, she says, are “expensive toys.”

These arguments about not having children rest on the assumption that each child is a consumer of scarce resources and adds to the carbon footprint.

The view that children are a drain on the economy misses the fact that they become economic producers.  And how all of the other population explosion alarmists have been proven wrong over and over again.

The anti-procreation folks also ignore the demographic problems that the population implosion is creating in countries that are facing a negative birth rate.  And it completely leaves out of consideration the experience of the one country that has enforced a one-child policy:  China, with its forced abortion, female infanticide, and dangerous imbalance of males to females in the population, as well as a precipitous drop in the work force.

This, of course, is another example of environmentalist alarmism, putting forward an apocalyptic, End Times prediction of an environmental Judgment Day.  And to forestall this eschatological destruction, we must sacrifice everything–our economy, our civilization, our well-being, and now our children.

This is also a variation of the environmental extremist position that human beings are on a cancer on the environment, that in order to save animals, the ecosphere, and nature itself, we need to die out.


Photo by ljcor, via Pixabay, CC0, Creative Commons


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