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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.
(article starts at about 11.50 mins)

GaryBuseysTeeth Tue 05-Feb-13 18:23:42

We considered it.
I didn't want any children because of all the reasons you mentioned in your OP, I was very forward with my views when I met DH (and he made a hmm face at me).
We're stopping at 2, and as much as I want 3,4,5+ I feel better about stopping at 2 & trying to reduce the impact we/they have on everything <not actually that woo, honestly>

nefertarii Tue 05-Feb-13 18:29:25

Yanbu. Although it was a concern of ours.

Personally I think more people should consider it. Especially in such a populations dense country as purs.

But you know, each to their own.

thebody Tue 05-Feb-13 18:30:59

Never have it a thought to be honest with my 4. Too busy drinking wine and enjoying the shagging.

But you are probably right.

loofet Tue 05-Feb-13 18:33:22

Nothing to do with the amount of children people have because the average has dropped in the Western world at least.

Its because we all live longer due to better healthcare, education and advances in science. Also because of things like IVF meaning the infertile now have a chance. The families with 3+ kids are becoming a rare breed, most stop at 1 or 2 and in fact a lot are choosing not to have them at all or leaving it too late.

Also like worra said you might only have two but what's to stop them having 5 or 6 each. I have three, admittedly number 3 wasn't planned and it may be where we stop but if I wanted six I'd have six even though I am a self proclaimed eco warrior grin Because I know that even though I have six them two couples over the road have none so call it me taking their place? Makes sense in my head anyway.

AnnieLobeseder Tue 05-Feb-13 18:33:47

That's one of the reasons we only have 2, and I consider myself selfish for having children at all.

Myliferocks Tue 05-Feb-13 18:36:44

OH and myself have 5 children together.
OH's sister and partner have no children and definitely aren't having any.
My DB has no children and definitely isn't having any.
If all 3 couples had had 2 children each then that would be 6 children. We only have 5 although we won't be having the extra one to take our family allocation of 6.
To me it's all swings and roundabouts and each time I became pregnant the least of my worries was the impact it would have on the planet.

scarletforya Tue 05-Feb-13 18:39:13


I wouldn't consider it at all because I don't care! Yes. As long as i'm all right Jack. That's human nature.

And I don't think we can meaningfully really affect population artificially. People are not going to accept attempted organised restrictions on population. Human nature won't support any such plan. Was tried in China.

We can't and shouldn't try to twart our own biology and psychology. We're evolutionarily programmed to further our own particular genes. Any ideology that fails to recognise that our imperative to breed supercedes altruistic concerns will fail. Failure is built in to that.

instantfamily Tue 05-Feb-13 18:39:59

I went over your limit, OP, but I did think about it. wink

By the same token should we, when we fall ill, just not seek medical help to potentially relieve the world of one extra consumer of resources?

Juanca Tue 05-Feb-13 18:43:30


There are loads of population models, a good number show that the population will start to decline around 2050. So why limit the number of children you have just in case it doesn't?

KobayashiMaru Tue 05-Feb-13 18:43:47

It's a bit self indulgent and wanky to pose such notions in a country like the UK. You're not dealing with food shortages, with overpopulation, with the problems that come with it. You (a relatively rich person, globally) can have as many children as you like and you don't need to worry about them dying from dysentary.

It's a bit unseemly to appropriate the real pressing issues of the developing world and postulate them as esoteric philosophical problems as if they really affect you.

jellybeans Tue 05-Feb-13 18:46:06

No I didn't really consider it because we are very frugal and probably better environmentally than people who have two cars, holidays abroad etc etc. We just ended up with 5DC which is right for us. Our close relatives have chosen to have none so we are having 'their share' if you like! However I am stopping at 5 for a long list of reasons.

jellybeans Tue 05-Feb-13 18:49:01

' The families with 3+ kids are becoming a rare breed, most stop at 1 or 2 '

Not in my area. It's not at all unusual to have 3 or 4 in my area. I would say average is 2-3 here. 5 is getting unusual but still there are a good few of us. 6+ is very unusual. (I live in a fairly affluent area but there are pockets of poverty).

complexnumber Tue 05-Feb-13 18:54:02

Would anyone say that China has had the right model in trying to control its population?

It is a hugely complex issue on many different levels. Certainly not just a matter of keeping your legs together.

perplexedpirate Tue 05-Feb-13 18:54:36

I like using this when people ask why I have 'only' one. I like their shockhmm faces.
We did consider it, actually, but our minds were already made up anyway. It just made the decision easier.

WafflesandWhippedCream Tue 05-Feb-13 18:56:12

This is something that DH thinks is important too, and is one of the many reasons why we are stopping at two children. I wouldn't say it was the main reason though!

Flobbadobs Tue 05-Feb-13 18:56:27

YANBU, she says sat in a house with 3 children in it...
But population isn't the only answer is it? People need to become more self sufficient and environmentally aware in every day life, not just quit having kids.
It's not something you can regulate properly either, China may officially limit each family to one child in some areas but it leads to many problems such as female infanticide, forced abortions, neglect and abandonment. It's not feasible to enforce restrictions in a free society nor is it morally right to do so when this can happen.

Himalaya Tue 05-Feb-13 19:08:09

The rise in population from 7 to 9 billion is fairly certain - barring some really horrendous catastrophe. It's not based on people having too many children - it's demographic inertia - so a lot of countries in the developing world have large young populations. And everywhere people are living longer. When this generation of kids grow up and have 1 or 2 children themselves (much fewer than their parents generation), and with people living longer the population will continue to rise before it levels off,

Family planning is important because its good for individuals, not particularly for environmental reasons. For the environment we've got to work out how to support 9 billion people with the planets resources.

poppycock6 Tue 05-Feb-13 19:09:03

OP I think you are absolutely right. We all have a moral duty to think about the planet but sadly, few people give it a second thought.

MsAkimbo Tue 05-Feb-13 19:09:34


My DH and I talked about this recently. Has anyone ever seen 'The Queen of Versailles'?

Saski Tue 05-Feb-13 19:12:58

I considered it. Honestly I didn't want 3 kids after having 2 and this dovetailed nicely, but I feel pretty strongly about it just the same.

I don't understand this whole yes I have 5 kids but we are super environmentally conscious. So, are you going to admonish the five of them to collaboratively produce only the footprint of 2 people? How long will this follow them? If it sounds ridiculous - that's how it sounds to me too.

I think that people who blithely have five kids should probably go and spend some time in Mumbai or similar.

Saski Tue 05-Feb-13 19:15:25

*It's a bit self indulgent and wanky to pose such notions in a country like the UK. You're not dealing with food shortages, with overpopulation, with the problems that come with it. You (a relatively rich person, globally) can have as many children as you like and you don't need to worry about them dying from dysentary.

It's a bit unseemly to appropriate the real pressing issues of the developing world and postulate them as esoteric philosophical problems as if they really affect you.*

Self-indulgent to consider the global effects of C02 emissions? I've heard it all now.

Abra1d Tue 05-Feb-13 19:20:52

YANBU. OP. And the people who say, we have five children but we're oh so into recycling and hardly use our car are deluding themselves. Their grown children will need housing, transport, food, clothing.

We have two. If I had been living fifty years ago, when the population of the UK was smaller, I might have three or four.

Bowlersarm Tue 05-Feb-13 19:21:18

YANBU at all, but I don't think people will suddenly become less selfish about the number of children they have in order to save the planet in the future.

Smartiepants79 Tue 05-Feb-13 19:22:34

It is a very reasonable point of view, unfortunately having children is always a very emotion driven descision and therefore reason rarely comes into it! wink
We have just had our second child and I can't see us having anymore. I do worry about the impact of population growth on my children's future but it is from a much more selfish point of view!

chandellina Tue 05-Feb-13 19:22:51

Yabu overpopulation is far from a problem in the UK. People are not replacing themselves and we must rely on immigration to have enough workers to pay our pensions.

In fact, fertility rates are falling all over the world, and the pace of population growth is slowing. There are real issues around food and water supplies but your choice to only have two children in the UK can only have a philosophical rather than a practical outcome.

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