April 16, 2016

If You Think You Want Children, Think Again.


I have opinions about the world and the way it should be, and I do not feel bad sharing or expressing them with others. As a citizen of the world, I think it’s important to share the way I think to the best of my ability. Through my thoughts, opinions and beliefs I hope to spark meaningful discussion with those around me.

When it comes to having children, I personally think it is a detriment to the environment and world we live in. It’s an opinion different than most, and one that makes many people I know upset. It can be interpreted as a overgeneralized and simple minded statement, and at first glance it is.

That’s why I’m here now to explain my point of view to the best of my ability.

If you choose to have children, feel free to do so. I can’t tell you what you can and can’t do. What I am here to do is inform you about the effects of your decisions, something that most people don’t think about on a day to day basis.

Albert Allen Bartlett said it best, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

Humans have an impact on the environment. This is something that everyone can agree on, and there is even an equation (I=PAT) to describe it. I=PAT describes human impact on the environment as the product of Population, Affluence, and Technology.

As the human population continues to exponentially increase toward eight billion people by 2030, humans are putting an increased burden on our natural resources.

Global overpopulation is contributing to global climate change.

Overpopulation is affecting global climate change for one main reason: people are over-consumers, which is referred to as affluence in the I=PAT equation. Think about it, we over-consume meat. We over-consume fish. We over-consume plastic. We over-consume oil. Through these actions, we affect global climate.

For example, by over-consuming red meat, we inadvertently create more greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions. This is because most humans eat meat from the industrial agriculture system, where animals are confined to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. (CAFO) and lead lives that are drastically different than the ones they evolved to live. You can find more information about this system here.

Meat consumption should be limited in the human diet, especially as the global population continues to exponentially rise. On average, Americans tend to eat it three times a day, every day, which leads to the overconsumption I am talking about. Through drastic reduction of meat intake, people can affect global climate change in a positive way, but until then, it is true that most meat consumption leads to global climate change in a negative way.

Altering climate patterns will affect global agriculture.

Farmers will be the ones to feel the effects of overpopulation most drastically in the coming years. They will have to deal with the changes in temperature in the area they grow their crops in, as well as shifting water supplies to sustain their crops.

For example, the American Farm Bureau concedes that action must be taken to capture clean water now rather than later. This means that they understand that access to clean water is going to deplete as global climate change continues to affect the planet.

Plus, globally 1 in 10 people lack access to safe water and this statistic will only continue to rise as we continue to overpopulate the world. As access to water continues to be depleted, farmers will be forced to use subpar water to grow their crops.

According to the SeatlePI, using polluted water to feed crops can cause serious problems leading to instability in agriculture. The more we damage the globe, the more we put our food supply at risk.

It’s important to remember that food comes from the earth, and in order to keep receiving food from the earth, we have to take care of it. If we do not start taking meaningful steps toward a sustainable agriculture system, the next generation of humans will have to deal with a decreasing food supply and the devastating effects that will have on people around the world.

Extreme weather events are more likely to occur.

As global climate continues to shift, more and more extreme weather events are likely to occur around the world. Increased tropical storms, hurricanes and flooding are all more likely to occur because global climate change. This will lead to fatalities among children, the elderly and the poor in the areas most affected by these extreme weather events.

Why will this occur? It will occur because of infrastructure damage in areas hit by extreme weather conditions. Through infrastructure damage, there will be a decrease in availability of fresh food and water due to a halt in transportation to these areas. There will be an increased burden for electrical generators in these areas as well, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators that are used during and after storms.

Extreme weather events are Mother Nature’s way of telling us that we are doing something wrong. It’s important that we take note, or feel her wrath as we continue to move toward a path of self-destruction.

I honestly feel sorry for the next generation of humans. If we don’t do something now to alleviate the effects of global climate change, they will be the ones dealing with the consequences of our actions. It’s not their fault that global policy neglected the environment for over 65 years, and it’s not fair that they will have to deal with the effects of these decisions.

Instead of reversing the effects of global climate change, instead they will be learning to cope with it. It’s a rough situation to be in in. I feel bad for any child that will grow up in that kind of world, a world where the environment begins to show us the effects of our neglectful actions.

And quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to put a human through a life like that. I’d rather have no children at all instead of having children that will have to live through the devastating effects global climate change will have around the world.

Albert Allen Barlett said:

“Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose longterm solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally or globally?”

It is up to us as citizens of the world to make informed choices. To choose a way of living that benefits the earth rather than hurts it. If you choose to have children, it is your responsibility to raise them in a way that will be of benefit to the world at large. It’s time for us to wake up, and to make decisions that affect the world in a meaningful way.





Author: Alex McGinness

Editor: Travis May

Images: Image Catalog/Flickr

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