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Does anyone else think of the environmental impact when deciding whether to have more children?
16

mumofmoomoo · 27/06/2010 13:21

Dp and I have 2 kids. Suddenly I have been surprised by how broody I feel, we planned to stop at 2.

However, DP and I both coming back to the problem of sustainability. (His job involves sustainability so it is on the forefront of his mind particularly) A growing population puts increasing pressure on resources, clean water, food and fossil fuels.

Reading through these boards, and speaking to my friends on the issue, it seems not many people consider these things when planning their family. It is more about their personal situation (house size, affordability, car size etc.)I really don't want to sound sanctimonius by saying that, I just mean, if other people are not thinking about it, why should I?? I will raise my children to recycle, think of the environment when chosing transport, and consumption issues. But the fact remains that all people need to eat and have clean water. But I am so broody! Do any of you think about this issue as well?

I might be on the wrong topic, if so, I'm sorry, I'm not an experienced poster.

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luciemule · 27/06/2010 16:43

I did think a bit about it. I'm a bit of a green freak and constantly that the planet isn't going to be here much longer and so yes, the population growth of the planet did pop into my mind when I felt broody. We aren't having more than two and really it's for the money side of things and not being able to go through nappies and babies time again. I think you'er being responsible to think of a more sustainable planet; it would really only make a difference though if more than just you and me thought about it! In the long term, the two children you do have will probably have fuller lives as you're able to give them more (not just monetary but love and time etc).
But if you want another, then do.

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MintCracknel · 27/06/2010 16:53

I do know what you mean, it just adds to the guilt doesn't it. I'm pregnant again ( through carlessness) and due to circumstances I have a big gap between ds1 and the twins and there will be 3 years between the twins and the new baby.we try and do what we can to reduce waste, buy A+ washing machine/fridge/freezer.I have always used terries nappies and I don't have a tumble drier.I feel guilty about loads of things though. I would say though that if you don't feel that your family is complete and you can afford to have another child,I take it your dh is willing

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mumofmoomoo · 27/06/2010 21:32

I think DP could be persuaded to have more, but I am not strongly sure it is the right thing to do either! Yes there is so much guilt in parenthood. Have been reading articles on the OPT trust website and the more I read the more it makes me think DP and I should not have more. How to overcome the broodieness though!?!

In case anyone is interested, some interesting related articles if you scroll down on here:

www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.media.html

on a less altruistic note I am also terrified of giving birth again!!

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PotPourri · 28/06/2010 00:44

Oh man, there are so many things to feel guilty about with parenting. If you want another, then have one and be as eco friendly as pos - reduce/reuse toys, clothes etc, recycle/compost/reduce car travel, travel by train not plane for hols, grow your own veg, get a solar panel if you can, have hte kids sharing a bedroom, turn all your equipment off at night/lights/TV/Get hte A++ appliances etc.

I have 4 and we have a much smaller carbon foodprint than many people I know who have 1!

Why are you terrified of giving birht? Did you have a rough time last 2 times? Maybe would be worth talking through with a midwife or something

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mumofmoomoo · 28/06/2010 22:01

Because it hurt! A lot!! And my labour wasn't even anywhere near as bad as some women go through so I shouldn't complain probably!

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foreverastudent · 02/07/2010 16:23

I think that it's less about how many children you have and more about what your actual carbon footprint is. Lots of one child families will damage the environment more then some families with 4 or 5.

For instance larger families are less likely to go on long-haul flights for their holidays.

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estar · 06/07/2010 17:38

I have 5 children and am pretty sure that we are far less wasteful than the smaller families I know. We have one big car and help other people with lifts to and from school. We recycle our clothes and often buy from charity shops. Throwing away food is extremely rare for us. We avoid individually packaged things (as its more cost effective for us!) and have a careful budget so we are far less likely to buy things on a whim then throw them away again.

I think it's a lot more about lifestyle than family size, and, as someone else said, if you're producing environmentally aware children, each one will be able to influence lots of other people in turn, so...

Also, I don't think there's ever a logical reason to have more children, is there? Yes, we have to be responsible in our choices (I have sent DH off for the snip, btw - we knew five was our limit!) but having children is a personal desire, not a logical one. I say (surprisingly!) - go for it!

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itsatiggerday · 06/07/2010 17:41

Only as an additional reason to why we were stopping at 2 anyway! DH wouldn't have bought it in a million years until he was persuaded to think 2 was enough at which point he became very pious about our restraint

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thefirstmrsDeVere · 06/07/2010 17:53

No.

I have had 5 children and as estar says I bet we have a smaller carbon footprint than many single people.

The only time I have only flown long haul once in my life (when we did a 10 pound pom trip to Australia in the 60s). I have since flown once to spain and back.

I didnt drive until I was 36.

We are very careful with fuel consumption, food waste etc

Basically we are skint and skint people tend to make less of an impact on the environment.

I do worry about the amount of washing I do but that is more down to DS2's skin condition than the size of our family (of course that makes a difference too).

I am raising my children to be careful about recycling, waste etc.

How many 1 or two child families waste mountains of food and leave every appliance on standby?

Its about how you live your life, not the amount of children you have.

But I would say that wouldnt I

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Fennel · 07/07/2010 12:28

We did. it was an issue in deciding about no 3, and I do get green guilt at having had her. and it is one of the reasons we wouldn't have 4. (not that I have a problem with other people having 4, but we are v much into green things and is something I worry about)

I do joke though that with one dc we backpacked (and flew) to Australia and Hong Kong. With two we flew to Spain. Ad with 3 we just totter gently to the nearby park. or perhaps a local campsite. The temptation to fly with your family goes down massively with the quantity of small children in it, I find.

also I cheat and reckon that girls with higher education are one of the least likely groups of people to have children themselves, we have 3 girls, are likely to push for lots of education for them, so statistically they aren't likely to have loads of children. I know this isn't really a good way of justifying it.....

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PuzzleAddict · 07/07/2010 17:17

I thought about the sustainability issue a lot before having DC (4 of them).
I am more swayed by the argument that women/families in the developing world should be given true opportunities to have smaller families. This makes more difference to the world than extra kids from the likes of me.
Fred Pearce in Confessions of an Ecosinner makes an interesting argument about why we shouldn't be worried about over-population.

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Energyrethinking · 13/07/2010 10:39

families do use more energy, true, although IMHO I reckon that income makes the biggest difference. A family that uses public transport, insulates their home rather than running up huge bills, and goes on UK holidays might use less than a single jetsetter!

Here are some handy tips on how families can waste less on holiday

www.energyrethinking.org/holidays

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LongStory · 20/07/2010 21:46

yes yes yes although of course it's complicated. I found out about climate change properly after my 3rd and actually became a non-exec director of a climate campaigning group. But shortly after I had a surprise pregnancy with twins and had a difficult (mainly on environmental grounds) decision to proceed and be comfortable with myself.

OK we have a teeny carbon footprint compared to 2-kid families I know who travel and consume a lot more than we do. It's cloth nappies all the way. But I suspect this comparison is only fairly short term as when they all grow up they'll want to travel and need housing etc same as everyone else.

So yes it's a consideration and it's difficult, but we do our best.

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qumquat · 27/07/2010 10:28

As Long Story says, the consideration is not your carbon footprint as a family but the fact you are bringing a whole new person into the world who will consume massive amounts of resources in their lifetime, the short time for which they are children isn't really relevant. I am having doubts about having children for this reason, but broodiness is hard to fight!

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mumofmoomoo · 31/07/2010 11:50

Longstory and qumquat have summarised what my main concern is, ie. these children we have grow up, and in our western society require housing, use vast quantities of water and food, and probably fossil fuels - as adults.

I share puzzleaddicts view that having contraception choices for people living in underdeveloped countries is important, but it wasn't really my point. As those people in the thirld world cause very little environmental damage. (they may live a life of no opportunity, poor health/education/shelter and malnutrition, but that is another subject).

Anyway, I'm trying not to sound pious, as I am struggling with broody urges everyday!

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hollyfort · 31/07/2010 15:01

luciemule, i would tend to disagree what you said about having two kids that they would live fuller lives because you have more time for them, i am the youngest of seven and my siblings are the most important people to me apart from my husband and my own kids. When the chips are down you can really trust your siblings and rely on them. We have four and just might have another, i teach and my husband farms part time so we spend a lot of time with our kids. I suppose everybody's circumstances are different. I hate the clothes washing but i suppose it's a small price to pay for what we have!

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