By JR on Monday, August 22, 2016
Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?
Rather good if the Green/Left breeds itself out of existence. You would have to be pretty Green or pretty credulous to believe the stuff below. I note that anti-reproductive thinking has a long history on the Left, starting with Karl Marx's hatred of the family.
Such thinking is a logical outcome of the Leftist hatred of the world around them. "If the world is so flawed, it would be cruel to bring children into it" is the thinking. Such thinking also affects feminists. They dislike the whole sex-role system about them so see a refusal to be a mother as a rejection of the system they hate.
In the days of the Soviet confrontation, the fear was of imminent nuclear war -- and that possibility was seen as a reason not to bring children into a world in which they could suddenly die
And the old Leftist "zero population growth" movement was also anti-natal. That movement was an outcome of Greenie scares about impending resource shortages (e.g. by Paul Ehrlich) and pre-dated the global warming craze
It is rather cheering that the Left keep finding reasons not to have babies. May they succeed in their campaigns!
Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.
He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren."
Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.
For years, people have lamented how bad things might get "for our grandchildren," but Rieder tells the students that future isn't so far off anymore.
He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.
"Dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then," he says. "Very, very soon."
Rieder wears a tweedy jacket and tennis shoes, and he limps because of a motorcycle accident. He's a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his arguments against having children are moral.
Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, he says. Yet people in the world's poorest nations are most likely to suffer severe climate impacts, "and that seems unfair," he says.
There's also a moral duty to future generations that will live amid the climate devastation being created now. "Here's a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them," Rieder says.
His arguments sound pretty persuasive in the classroom. At home, it was a different matter.
"I have been one of those women who actually craved to have a baby," says Sadiye Rieder, smiling as she sits next to her husband in the sunroom of their Maryland home. "To go through pregnancy and everything, that mattered to me a lot."
Sadiye also wanted a big family. She grew up among extended relatives in the Turkish part of Cyprus and says she enjoyed having people around all the time.
This was not a problem early in their marriage, as each focused on their studies. But by the time Sadiye began feeling ready for motherhood, Travis' research had delved into the morality of adoption, which led to the ethics of procreation and to its impact on the climate.
They knew they had to talk.
"It's not easy to convince a philosopher!" Sadiye says with a laugh.
Scientists warn that a catastrophic tipping point is possible in the next few decades. By midcentury, possibly before, the average global temperature is projected to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point scientists and world leaders agree would trigger cataclysmic consequences. Last year's historic Paris climate agreement falls short of preventing that, so more drastic cuts in carbon emissions are needed.
Adding to that challenge, the world is expected to add several billion people in the next few decades, each one producing more emissions.
In fact, without dramatic action, climatologists say, the world is on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and worse beyond that. A World Bank report says this must be avoided, and warns of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought and serious impacts on ecosystems and "human systems."
"It's gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time," he says.
The room is quiet. No one fidgets. Later, a few students say they had no idea the situation was so bad. One says he appreciated the talk but found it terrifying, and hadn't planned on being so shaken before heading off to start the weekend.
Still. Even given the apocalyptic scenarios: Can you actually expect people to forgo something as deeply personal as having children? To deny the biological imperative that's driven civilization?
Rieder and two colleagues, Colin Hickey and Jake Earl of Georgetown University, have a strategy for trying to do just that. Rieder is publishing a book on the subject later this year, and expects to take plenty of heat. But he's hardly alone in thinking the climate crisis has come to this.
"The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis"
Meghan Hoskins is among a dozen people gathered in the spare office of an environmental group in Keene, N.H., earlier this year. They sit on folding chairs in a circle, the room humming with multiple conversations.
"If I had told my boyfriend at the time, 'I'm not ready to have children because I don't know what the climate's gonna be like in 50 years,' he wouldn't have understood. There's no way," says Hoskins, a 23-year-old whose red hair is twisted in a long braid.
This is one of 16 meetings over the past year and a half organized by Conceivable Future, a nonprofit founded on the notion that "the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis."
Hoskins says she's always wanted "little redheaded babies" — as do her parents, the sooner the better.
But she's a grad student in environmental studies, and the more she learns, the more she questions what kind of life those babies would have.