Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dear north americans: stop breeding


i feel like i've been waiting for this study for a long time. dear yuppie couples in the united states: your baby leaves more of a carbon footprint than the babies in developing nations. alot more.

the study, coming out of oregon state university, "concluded 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 employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs."

this means that you could recycle, use energy-efficient shit, compost, whatever and popping out that baby cancels it all out. great job trying to save the planet but what's really hurting the planet is the plethora of babies being born here in north america.

the study states that "potential carbon impacts vary dramatically across countries" and that "the average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S. – along with all of its descendants – is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh."

and why is that? well, i imagine it has something to do with the fact that we're unbelievably greedy and consume like crazy here in north america. we waste more than anybody, we consume more than anybody, and even if our population is smaller or growing at a slower rate we're still sending an annual "fuck you" to the earth.

so all of this bullshit about "population control" in developing nations, for the good of the planet, has finally been revealed as the bullshit it really is in terms that people will actually acknowledge(unlike, you know, how it used to be critiqued in terms of racism).

i'm a proponent of voluntary human extinction, which means i believe that my white yuppie cousins who live in the 'burbs of toronto and ottawa should not fill the void in their lives with children. it means that maybe sometimes we should be all 'hey, maybe i WANT a baby but maybe it's just not the best plan since i already use up enough resources as it is.'

or, that if you absolutely must have a baby, you should consider raising one that needs a family. maybe we should consider denying ourselves the right to have a biological baby until every child in the world who needs a family has one. i mean this in the least cliche way ever, because i really feel like having a child of your own is a selfish thing to do because it's really not necessary for any reason.

clearly, many people would disagree here. but the study proves it, it's selfish. you're ruining the world with your incessant baby-making(not to mention ruining my train ride from montreal last night when you allowed your baby to scream for the entire five hours).

so maybe instead of having a baby, or another baby, you should just go ahead and plant a tree or something--the world will thank you for it.


Chuck said...

I read somewhere that the single child law in China is one of the largest carbon abatements in history. Can't back it up but it sounds possible.

xm301 said...

While I agree that from an environmental perspective, we need to get family sizes under control, we also need to reconcile the fact that many people wish to raise their own children.

Part of the problem is Canada’s current model - penned by the Conservative government - provides direct financial incentives for having children: The more kids you blow out of your uterus, the more cheques Harper will write to you. (Please consider the hyperbole as not an anti-feminist statement, but rather a slag on current policy.)

This is wrong-headed policy that fails to acknowledge global overpopulation. More disturbingly, it is essentially a backdoor Conservative incentive to keep women out of the workforce. As women statistically earn less than men, it makes more sense for the wife to stay at home and raise children in “traditional” families. In other family dynamics, such as single-parent homes, this policy still does not provide enough money to properly provide child care.

Instead, government should be providing incentives and funding for early childhood learning and childcare spaces. There is no shortage of research that indicates early childhood learning and properly-funded school programs have a net benefit to society. These policies allow equal access, along with incentives for all to enter the workforce. Further, they do not provide a monetary incentive to overpopulate the world.

We’re likely not going to be able to legislate family sizes in Canada, but we can rewrite policy to ensure rational behaviour with healthy consequences.

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