Save The Planet: Have An Abortion!

6 12 2007

Despite having strong feelings on the subject I’ve not written about climate change that often. Five posts in nine months is not really all that many for what is, essentially, a “soapbox” blog where I voice my opinions on a variety of subjects and you read intently because you know I’m always right. My opinions are as good as facts. Heck, they’re better than facts.

Far be it for me to toot my own horn, of course. Were it not for the lavish praise you willingly heap upon me I would be far too modest and humble to say such things. Yet over the last nine months you have all grown to realise that you can count on me. Where our education system has failed you, Textual Relations will not.

It is in this continuing spirit of public service that I bring you my latest lesson. Andy over at Political Friends is a good friend of Textual Relations and it was while reading his blog (which I highly recommend) that I came across the news that women in the UK are being sterilised to battle global warming. Some global warming activists have argued that large families are bad for the environment. Are they right?

Well, in the simplistic terms put forward by those who harp on about fossil fuels, yes. If we’re supposed to be cutting down our C02 output because it’s so evil then surely the solution is to have less children? Since the Industrial Revolution, the event that global warming activists consider to be as evil as the holocaust the world’s population has gone up from well under 2 billion to over 6 billion.

Yet could you not equally make a case that larger families are better for the environment? We’re told car-pooling is good. Surely, then, a family of 6 or 8 travelling in a single car is brilliant? When they use a washing machine they’ll wash eight people’s clothes instead of one. Large families bring with them economies of scale, both economically and environmentally. So is the answer to have more children?

The answer is no. All these hypothetical scenarios do is highlight the embryonic state climate science is in and yet we’re told “ACT NOW!” Not that I’m suggesting for one second that it’s wrong to act, not at all. Wherever possible we should seek to lessen our impact on the environment, there’s simply no reason not to. CFLs not only save the environment but they save money, give better light and last longer.

Recycling is usually quick and easy. For example it used to be a nightmare getting rid of newspapers when I threw them away, now I recycle them it’s much easier. Not only is it convenient though, it’s doing my part for the environment. Walking instead of driving for short journeys is another example. This not only helps the environment but crucially improves your health. You can burn a small meal’s worth of calories with just an hour of walking a day. Crucially about 55% of this is in the form of fat! Walk more, drive less.

Sensible solutions abound. Even if you don’t believe in man-made global warming these things bring benefits besides the environmental ones. Sensible solutions to the rising C02 caused by an increasing population include things like planting window boxes or more plants in your garden. Don’t worry about the size of your family, make like bunnies and you can still do your part by planting a nice garden which you can enjoy.

Of course things like that don’t make great media stories. No, instead let’s attack oil companies and big business, let’s demand that government impose stricter emissions standards. Forget that in the time since the birth of industry the world’s population has tripled. Unlike global warming population growth is a problem that we can actually pinpoint the causes of and solve. The consequences of an exploding population are real, unlike climate change, the effects of which are entirely unclear.

Amongst the backdrop of the scaremongering of the climate change activists I fear the very real problem will be missed until it’s too late. We’ll be so distracted by greenhouse gases and fossil fuels and lose sight of the population explosion until it’s too late. Then a slogan like “Save The Planet: Have An Abortion!”, which seems funny now, will be scarily real. What a political minefield that would be, climate change meets abortion.


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6 responses

6 12 2007
Zybron

I have long felt that the real problem the world is facing right now is overpopulation. That no matter what is the truth regarding global climate change, a very real, observable, and preventable threat is facing the world right now in the form of overpopulation. So, I’m all for it.

Save the World! Have an abortion!

And while we are at it, let’s stop contributing to Save the Children style charities that promote the populations of third-world countries to produce more offspring by providing money for those children. Instead, let’s fund charities that are introducing birth control or sterilization to third-world countries. Let’s stop teaching them to make more people and start funding them to reduce the overpopulation.

6 12 2007
Stella Devine

It’s almost impossible to raise a baby in an environmentally friendly fashion. They are just little environmental terrorists. Everything they need comes in acres of non-biodegradable packaging. Even if you choose cloth nappies, you are pumping detergents into the waterways. Walking or catching buses becomes way, way too hard. For a start it’s hard to walk at all for the first six months or so after you’ve had a baby; secondly you have to carry so much peripheral stuff that you can’t manage to lug it along. So you drive everywhere.

In spite of all that, I feel the world needs more intelligent people to make it a better place. Passing on my genes was the right thing to do for society. I’m buggered if I’m ever doing that again though.

7 12 2007
Mr President

Zybron: Although I was being very tongue-in-cheek with the slogan (as were you I suspect) I think we both agree that overpopulation is a concern. Largely in developing nations and I agree with you that we need to stop funding it.

My sole criticism of Mother Theresa was her very public anti-contraception stance whilst working in India. I recognise why she felt that, but I still maintain she should have kept her beliefs more private.

From what I gather you and I sit on slightly different sides of the global warming debate and yet we sit on the same side of this one. That alone I think goes to show that this is the problem we need to tackle. It’s real, proven, observable and above all, so easily preventable.

Sterilisation might be a step too far for me but certainly introduction and encouragement of contraception (which serves a double purpose of helping cut down HIV and AIDS in developing countries) and I think we in western society should consider financial repercussions for large families, either reducing welfare or higher taxation per child after your second.

Stella: Your little girl is absolutely gorgeous, takes after her mum (I know you say she looks nothing like you but it’s so hard to tell at that age). I think if more parents had just one child, or two, and concentrated on giving them the level of love and care you’re giving her the world would be a better place.

I agree, there simply is no way to be environmentally friendly when raising a child, yet another reason why we should think of overpopulation as an issue rather than global warming. Children are, by their nature, as you so clearly show, bad for the environment. Of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them, only that families with 8 or 10 children are bad.

Being particularly close with my sister I might be biased when I say this but two is a pretty good number, particularly if there’s a boy and a girl.

7 12 2007
Andy D

I am going to jump in here on the other side. There is nothing in the world wrong with families of 8 or 10. I think we need to continue to increase our food producing abilities, but I don’t think overpopulation is that big of a problem. We have been told that we are going to reach a tipping point for generations now. Instead, through new technologies and new methods, we have become more efficient at producing more food in the same amount of space. Is hunger a problem in parts of the world? Yes. Is it likely to become a world wide pandemic (to use the current catch phrase of the week)? No, I don’t think so.

And thanks for the link. Glad it helped inspire a post.

7 12 2007
Mr President

I’m not convinced it’s entirely an issue of food though Andy. There’s the small issue of space. The answer to this has been to destroy forests and green areas to make greater area for housing. Is that a good thing?

No need to thank me for the link, were it not for your post I might have been stumped on something to write! We can’t have that, you people rely on me.

8 12 2007
Stella

Aw, shucks! She is a little bit on the gorgeous side, that’s for sure. One more reason not to have any more children: We got it right the first time.

I agree with you that families with 8 or 10 children are taking it too far. Even if you can feed them all sustainably, there are so many other things they need. Not only material possessions, but also education, which is vital so that they can contribute valuably to the world as they grow.

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