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More than average amount of children and carbon footprint

(21 Posts)
rabbitheadlights Mon 08-Jun-20 01:15:35

For a long time I have read posts where op or commenter mentions 3 plus children and us set up on by the minority for ruining the planet or in some cases "destroying the planet" for having too many children, my question is what is considered acceptable! Obviously having meat every night and several foreign holidays, 4 cars etc ... But what if you have a mainly vegetarian diet, recycle clothes and furniture, don't drive, have never been abroad etc !? What's the balance ??

OP’s posts: |
SomethingOnce Mon 08-Jun-20 02:00:34

Let the misanthropes have their consumer lifestyles; I’ll have my family, thanks.

rabbitheadlights Mon 08-Jun-20 02:05:22

@somethingonce I agree completely I have a large family and find it really hard to understand the argument

OP’s posts: |
araiwa Mon 08-Jun-20 02:11:05

If you dont understand the argument, read about it so that you do understand

SomethingOnce Mon 08-Jun-20 02:15:01

I understand the argument but I disagree with it.

Saracen Mon 08-Jun-20 02:26:50

I agree with the argument, but I am in no position to criticise because I chose to have two children.

I don't understand this idea many people have that parents are "allowed to replace themselves" and therefore it's fine to have two children but nobody should have more. If producing first-world children is bad for the environment then that applies to "smaller families" too.

If I were in prison for having embezzled £30k, I wouldn't expect to take the moral high ground over somebody who had stolen twice that amount. All of us parents are damaging the environment.

rabbitheadlights Mon 08-Jun-20 02:32:34

What I'm asking is if i have 1 child and eat processed foods daily, drive a large petrol guzzling car and go on 4 foreign holidays a year how does that compare to someone with 4 children eating a veggie diet, no car, no holidays etc ??

OP’s posts: |
BadLad Mon 08-Jun-20 02:39:11

Google something along the lines of "environmental impact of children compared with flying" and replace flying with "eating meat / owning cars".

squeekums Mon 08-Jun-20 02:47:20

*my question is what is considered acceptable!*

Thats really individual.
To us its acceptable to eat meat, have a diesel 4x4, heat and cool as we need, holiday as we like, buy as we like.
To others our lifestyle is supposedly evil.
But i dont care, we happy, its our life, our money. Why should i live a lifestyle im unhappy with just cos some deem it unacceptable for THEIR wants/needs/beliefs

SomethingOnce Mon 08-Jun-20 02:50:45

Anybody that worried about the planet is welcome to resign their position anytime.

VirginWestCoast Mon 08-Jun-20 03:14:36

The country with the highest fertility rate is, I'm pretty sure, Niger. However, if you look at an individual's carbon footprint in Niger, it is 0.1 tonnes per person, compared to a UK average of 5.5 tonnes per person. There are other cons of having lots of children but a family in Niger having lots of children is not nearly as detrimental to having the same number of children in the UK.
So it is possible to have lots of children and not leave a big footprint but that's not going to happen just through vegetarianism and no flying- realistically, you are not going to offset the impact of having children.

That said, UK fertility rate is something like 1.8, below replacement level, so, assuming that you don't want the population to suddenly decrease massively, it's not like people in the UK are having too many children, it's our lifestyles that are the problem and there'd need to be a pretty big overhaul of the way we live our lives to limit our effect on the environment. It's no use saying "It's my life, it's my money, I can do whatever the hell I want." I mean, you can, but we've all got to live on this planet, as do future generations.

However, shaming people who already have lots of children is entirely pointless. They're here now and, unless the birth rate rises above replacement level, we should be looking for ways to live more sustainably as a society instead of discouraging people from having children altogether.

ThwartYourChub Mon 08-Jun-20 03:25:25

Agree with @SomethingOnce. We're already reproducing at below population replacement level across the world; the problem isn't having babies but living too long. Anyone who wants to remedy this, get on the Logan's Run bus or stfu.

coronafiona Mon 08-Jun-20 03:34:05

This attitude annoys me because my much longed for second child was twins. I love both of those children dearly and wouldn't be without either of them. And they both like the occasional chicken nugget. I don't have a problem with that.

EmperorCovidula Mon 08-Jun-20 03:34:58

The only acceptable number of children (if you buy the argument) is none.

trixiebelden77 Mon 08-Jun-20 03:35:24

Because if results in four separate households. It’s not just about when everyone’s in the same house as a kid.

I think the argument actually applies to anyone who has a child at all (including me) but even if you don’t agree I’m very surprised you find the argument difficult to understand.

MarinePsychiatrist Mon 08-Jun-20 03:47:02

What I'm asking is if i have 1 child and eat processed foods daily, drive a large petrol guzzling car and go on 4 foreign holidays a year how does that compare to someone with 4 children eating a veggie diet, no car, no holidays etc ??

The four children on a veggie diet with no car or holidays probably still has more of an impact on the diet. And that's before you even factor in them growing up, buying cars, having kids of their own, starting to take holidays, etc.

It's about reducing our impact as much as possible. Anyone (well, 99.9%) who claims to be doing everything they possibly can is lying. For me, not having lots of kids was easy, but giving up flying is not. For some, giving up a car and flying is easy, but giving up the idea of a large family is not.

Almost all of us are hypocrites about it though really. And that's why we're sleepwalking into a global disaster.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 08-Jun-20 04:00:39

What I'm asking is if i have 1 child and eat processed foods daily, drive a large petrol guzzling car and go on 4 foreign holidays a year how does that compare to someone with 4 children eating a veggie diet, no car, no holidays etc

Sorry but all those things (car, processed food, foreign holidays) are a drop in the ocean compared with even one child, let alone four.

www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/12/want-to-fight-climate-change-have-fewer-children

Obviously we do need to keep having children to keep the population going, we can't send existing ones back etc, and it's still worth thinking about driving less, eating less meat, wasting less, travelling less, consuming less, etc etc, no matter how many children you have, but the fact is that people with 3+ children who criticise others for taking foreign holidays 'that are destroying the planet my children need to live on' have a far higher carbon footprint than people with fewer children who fly several times a year, so are hardly in a position to claim the moral high ground.

VirginWestCoast Mon 08-Jun-20 04:01:10

I'm sorry to be a pedant but the global fertility rate is 2.4/2.5, we are NOT below replacement level. The countries which are way above replacement level are often the same one's as those with the least impact per person. However, individual impact is going to increase when countries develop economically and we are very much relying on the birth rates dropping in those countries once they develop further.

PP is wholly correct about increasing longevity also big problem but there is no real humane solution to that.

Guineapigbridge Mon 08-Jun-20 04:11:45

Yes, if we were truly concerned about the planet then we wouldn't work so hard to keep older people alive. Life expectancy is too long now, planet can't cope.
Nothing humane you can do about it though.

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 08-Jun-20 05:00:07

What I'm asking is if i have 1 child and eat processed foods daily, drive a large petrol guzzling car and go on 4 foreign holidays a year how does that compare to someone with 4 children eating a veggie diet, no car, no holidays etc ??

I don't think using a processed food eating, foreign holiday taking, petrol guzzling car driving family as the comparison is reasonable. Partly because they get criticised too, so it's not like you'd be OK just being like them. But also because your environmental impact as member of a developed nation is going to be increased by things like education, healthcare and other public services that you don't really have much individual control over and because every extra child isn't just the impact of that one child, it's also the impact of their children and all their children's, children and so on.

Exponential growth if you double each generation it doesn't matter how frugal you are, it's unsustainable - the grains of wheat on a chessboard thing, from 1 to 18 quintillion in just 64 generations.

SomethingOnce Mon 08-Jun-20 12:22:07

unless the birth rate rises above replacement level, we should be looking for ways to live more sustainably as a society instead of discouraging people from having children altogether.

Not least because if we have an ageing population we have to exploit other people to keep us in our dotage. This doesn’t get talked about much, but surely it’s part of the reason why caring roles are paid so poorly.

Or let’s keep fingers crossed for caring robots, though it’s not the human interaction that I’d want for my own oldsters or myself, tbh.

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