To think that most people don't take the impact on population and the environment into account when deciding how many children to have?

(64 Posts)
12ylnon Tue 05-Feb-13 17:48:46

A couple of things have made me think of this recently, and i wanted to gauge people's opinions on it.

I was watching Food and Drink yesterday evening and there was a very interesting piece about food shortage and the population of the world reaching 9 billion by 2050. He was saying it like it was big news, but we've known this for years and have turned a blind eye. I find it scary.
I've also been reading a blog that's written by a woman who has 'turned their fertility over to god' and chosen to not use ANY form of contraception with her husband. She's on child number 3 and in her mid 20s.

Now, I'm pregnant with my second child. I've had the view that i would only ever have two children since i was about 15, as much as i would like lots (and trust me, i would like lots!). Luckily i met someone who felt the same way as me.

I hold the view that i should only have enough children to replace me and my partner on this earth and feel this very strongly about this. Thats not to say i would ever try to impose my views on others, as i very much have an 'each to their own' attitude towards these things, but i really can't help but think sometimes that people just don't factor in the strain population has on the planet when it comes to thinking about their own families. When you hear people talking about having a third, fourth or fifth, the questions always are 'can we afford another, can we afford to get a bigger car/house, will we have the time to care for another?' but never 'what impact will this have on the planet as a whole'.

Do you think this is something we should be thinking about? Would it make a difference to the decisions that you'll make? I would love to hear what people think about it.
And for the love of god, let's keep it civil smile

I've shoved the links to the blog and the 'Food and Drink' program at the bottom.

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qm5n1/Food_and_Drink_Tom_Kerridge_British_Food/
(article starts at about 11.50 mins)

carrotsformichaelmas.com/2012/05/10/afp-awesome-family-planning/

Trills Tue 05-Feb-13 17:50:42

YANBU - I think that is pretty low down most people's lists when they decide whether to have another child.

But I don't necessarily think that it should be any higher.

Euphemia Tue 05-Feb-13 17:51:51

Why do you need someone to replace you? You're not a tree. smile

hiddenhome Tue 05-Feb-13 17:52:09

I would never even consider it.

Trills Tue 05-Feb-13 17:52:09

It could be argued that you should have lots of children, train them to be very environmentally aware, and send them out to teach the world how to effectively deal with the expanding population.

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Feb-13 17:56:09

I'm not sure it's worth thinking about really unless people choose to have none at all.

The reason I say that is because the 2 children you've chosen to have, could well end up spawning 5 or 6 kids each.

We don't know how far the ripples travel.

ReluctantMother Tue 05-Feb-13 17:57:45

Yanbu but people need to think about the environment more anyway.

HollyBerryBush Tue 05-Feb-13 18:01:08

The problem with population isn't the amount of children (reducing in the uk, per head) but the increased longevity (60+ now out numbering -16's).

1 in 4 baby girls this year will live to be 100+ (dunno about the boys, didn't see that statistic).

Therefore I deduce the problem is very different.

not very resolvable is it? Unless we shut the NHS.

Euphemia Tue 05-Feb-13 18:02:07

Or shut our legs. wink

12ylnon Tue 05-Feb-13 18:02:14

euphemia correct, i'm not a tree. Didn't word that well. I ment that IF we choose to have children (which obvs. we have) we should have a maximum of 2, so that when we die, we won't have added significantly to the population.
worra but you can't limit the number of children that your children have- you can only be responsible for your own family size.

BinarySolo Tue 05-Feb-13 18:03:37

I wouldn't consider it myself. What about people who have no children/can't conceive/same sex couples? What about if a child does in infancy? Do you then get to have another one? For every large family there's single child or childless people.

Personally I think that if you are capable of supporting your family emotionally and financially etc then that's the main thing.

Kayano Tue 05-Feb-13 18:03:40

I'm having two and did consider this reason.

Not many do though

BinarySolo Tue 05-Feb-13 18:05:16

*dies in infancy

Trills Tue 05-Feb-13 18:06:50

For every large family there's single child or childless people.

If the population of the earth is increasing then this can't actually be true. Although some part of the increased population is also due to increased life expectancy.

SingingSands Tue 05-Feb-13 18:08:04

Actually, this is something I was thinking about myself recently as I was reminded of something I had read years ago. If you consider the vast amount of resources we use ourselves, and the vast amount of resources used on raising just one child, the environmental impact is devastating. Just because we cannot (or choose not to) see it, doesn't mean it is not happening.

It does actually make for uncomfortable thoughts. There was no reason for myself and DH to have children. We had one unexpected pregnancy and went through with it. Then we planned another and went through with it. But who is to say that my own two children won't have 10 kids each? I am not responsible for their future adult choices.

Fairypants Tue 05-Feb-13 18:08:49

It actually comes pretty high up my list but, as I am the only one of 3 siblings (and 5 cousin's) that will be having any and DH is an only child, I figure I could (theoretically) be responsible for replacing a lot more than just the two of us.
Given that the current rate of consumption is unsustainable, I think lifestyle (and education) are more important.

Bluemonkeyspots Tue 05-Feb-13 18:09:25

I'm on dc4 blush

But my 2 siblings are not having babies so i suppose I could have another two to replace them and their partners and not feel guilty wink

Jojobump1986 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:10:13

There will always be people who never have children though. Our family seems to be quite good at accidentally balancing things out - my Dad's aunt never married/had children so my parents had 3. My aunt & her DH didn't meet until they were past the usual baby-making age so that means we can have 4 to keep the status quo, right?! grin

We may end up only having 2 & the population boom may feature as a passing thought in that decision but it'll be based more on our financial situation & what we choose to do with the money we do have. I think if we were to have 4 children we'd ideally need a bigger house. For me personally that creates a moral dilemma - we have a warm, safe place to live while others don't. If we didn't get a bigger place we could afford to give more to help those whose need is greater. I guess what I'm saying is that I'd be more likely to let the problems of the current population influence me than the potential problems that look likely to arise at some point in the future!

DoctorAnge Tue 05-Feb-13 18:11:12

I agree with you

FlorriesDragons Tue 05-Feb-13 18:15:54

I have two so I think that's ok but it honestly isn't something I would have thought about when making that decision.

CailinDana Tue 05-Feb-13 18:15:58

YANBU. It's not something that is a factor in my decision to have children, mainly because I don't believe for one minute that there will eventually be 9 billion people on the planet. If someone had made a prediction in 1900 as to what the population would be in 1950 they would have been totally wrong as they would not have factored in the many millions killed by WWI, WWII, the flu epidemic, Stalin, and other conflicts around the world as well as the many millions saved by improvements in medical care that wasn't available in 1900. We can make a vague guess as to what the population might be in 2050 based on how the world is now but the fact is the world will be different, so the guess is not going to be in any way accurate. Restricting your life based on a guess doesn't make sense to me.

kerala Tue 05-Feb-13 18:18:32

Agree op one of the reasons we stopped at 2. I would have felt guilty and somehow greedy having more hard to explain.

BikingViking Tue 05-Feb-13 18:19:32

Depends on more than just number of children though, surely? I mean lifestyle must influence the factor a bit?

Would be interesting to measure and see the difference in environmental impact of, say, a one-child family that use a lot of resources (massive heated house, petrol guzzling car used to get everywhere, lots of food waste, constantly purchasing material goods etc etc) vs that of (to take the other extreme) a family with 7 kids, self-sufficient, growing own food, vegetarian, re-using and recycling more than consuming new goods, biking everywhere, generating own electricity using renewable sources etc.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Feb-13 18:19:49

I doubt whether anyone takes the impact of population on the environment into consideration when having children, except you OP!

I think they should though. I think having more than two children is quite selfish unless you are a millionaire and contribute significantly to the tax pot after your costs are met, and you contribute to society. I'll include the environment in my thinking next time as well.

Vagndidit Tue 05-Feb-13 18:21:46

Well, as a society we've become quite good at the "I need"s and "I want"s without thinking of the impact on others, so I'm sure that environmental concern is pretty far down the list when considering family size.

However I so not think yabu in your thinking. But if someone wants to have their 6 NHS funded births kids, they won't give it a second thought. wink

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now