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Environmentalists Know How Many Kids You Have — Too Many

October 11, 2017

Population-control advocates have long believed that human beings are basically viruses with shoes.

Hey Neanderthals, time for some real talk: You’re killing the earth. And not because you refuse to drive hybrids, go vegan, or chunk out $20,000 to put some solar panels on your roof. No, it’s because you decided to have all your dumb kids. See, because of them, income inequality is going to increase, it will too hot to fly, New York City will have to change its name to Atlantis, and even then it’ll all be, like, “LOL nothing matters” because we’re totally going to roast to death in an Venusian hellscape (as climatologist Jim Hansen suggested) that will make the Book of Revelation look like Mayberry on Sunday morning.

To many in the mainstream of climate alarmism, and among the broader Left in general, the opinions expressed in the above paragraph sound perfectly reasonable. They really do believe children (especially yours) will be our doom. Of course, they’ve always thought children (especially yours) will be our doom, but what’s new is now they are using climate change to advance a population-control agenda that is profoundly anti-human.

A new study published in Environmental Research Letters claims that the most “high-impact . . . action” one can undertake “with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions” is having one fewer child. According to the study, by having one fewer rug rat, you save 58.6 tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent per year. Nothing else has anywhere close to the same impact. For example, living a car-free existence only saves 2.4 tons of CO2-equivalent. Eating nothing but plants (the horror) saves just 0.82 tons, and recycling saves a paltry 0.21 tons.

Accordingly, climate alarmists picked up the study and ran with it, with the comrades over at the Guardian (U.K.) promoting the study under the headline “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.” The Independent (U.K.) did them one better: “Having children is one of the most destructive things you can do to the environment, say researchers.”

California wildfires leave at least 10 dead, force 20,000 to evacuate 00:08 00:46 Powered by Population control has been a long-expressed desire of radical environmentalists, who have completely bought in to the Malthusian conceit, both original and neo. Since the 1940s, they’ve been issuing Henny Penny warnings of the Great Human Die-Off.

In 2016, a group of professors from Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University published a paper, titled “Population Engineering and the Fight against Climate Change,” promoting a progressive tax on parents that would increase with each child born. Bill Nye, on his Netflix program Bill Nye Saves the World, actually asked one of these professors whether we should “have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world.”

Since the 1940s, they’ve been issuing Henny Penny warnings of the Great Human Die-Off. Gloria Steinem, America’s favorite bra-burning second-wave feminist, recently attributed what she calls “climate deprivation” to an unfortunately low number of abortions:

If we had not been systematically forcing women to have children they don’t want or can’t care for over the 500 years of patriarchy, we wouldn’t have the climate problems that we have. That’s the fundamental cause of climate change.

Not a year goes by without an article in a mainstream outlet with a title like this, from The Atlantic in 2014: “The Climate Change Solution No One Will Talk About.”

The logic behind “fewer children = healthier planet” is straightforward if you view human beings as a problem to be managed and controlled instead of as a resource that can flourish with a little help. The late comedian Bill Hicks liked to call humanity a “virus with shoes,” an opinion not too far removed from that of your average climate alarmist.

“Since all human activity must perforce release [carbon dioxide], all human existence is a crime against nature,” writes Robert Zubrin of this anti-human line of thought in his book Merchants of Despair. “Therefore nothing we can do is right — and so, in the name of the Higher Good, we must be constrained to do as little as possible.”

As old prostitutes and bad architecture prove, if you stick around long enough, eventually you’ll get respect. The idea of population control has become one of the Left’s old prostitutes. Let’s hope it does not become all of ours.

[Originally Published at the National Review]

Author
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department.
TBenson@heartland.org