Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"May we live long and die out"

I was reading the blog of the No Impact Man the other day and he was discussing that he and his wife were thinking about having another child. One of the comments was the following:

"I appreciate that you seem to care about having little impact on the earth. Thank you! : ) However, by bringing into the world another human being, who will likely be consuming and polluting to some degree for about 70 years, regardless of how you raise her, you just negated every good thing you and your wife did to help the earth. Sorry. It's just a mathematical fact.

If you REALLY want to lessen the impact on the earth, I suggest you confront the reality of overpopulation and encourage everyone you speak to to NOT bring another consumer/polluter into the world. If people do that it will result in a far greater positive impact on the planet than all of the other things combined that you recommend in regards to lifestyle changes.
Yes, I know your daughter will likely consume and pollute less than most North Americans, but even so, it's too much. I consume and pollute less than any North American I've ever known, and it would still take 2.3 planets like earth to sustain my "extravagant" lifestyle if everyone lived like I do. Plus you can't control what your daughter does the rest of her life. And if she brings yet another human being into this world she will just flush all the good she did in her life by living properly down the drain too.

For those TRULY interested in lessening their impact on earth, and who are willing to confront the reality of the impact of the choice to reproduce, please see this website:http://vhemt.org/"

Sonja here again: VHEMT stands for Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and their motto is: May we live long and die out! You should at least surf on over to their website, it's a combination of humor and seriousness that is rather refreshing. This probably isn't an ideal solution for most people out there, but it brings up some rather serious questions regarding the environmental movement and human population growth. So, if I decide to have 15 kids, can I really consider myself an environmentalist because I recycle and use cloth grocery bags? Probably not. Can someone be an environmentalist if they have any kids?


  1. people are always going to be having kids. If you don't want to have an impact as they who are behind that quoted statement then I wish to remind them about adoption. You can do your part to reduce your impact on the world and have a family by helping out someone who needs a loving home. I don't think humans are going anywhere soon, unless of course we have an idiot deploy a nuclear bomb.

  2. Yeah, I agree completely. Humans aren't going anyway soon. And deciding to have kids is a deeply personal decision. But: this is obviously a (rather smallish) group of individuals who are deeply concerned and have made a rather momentous decision to not pass their genes along to the next generation, and in doing so, creating less of an impact to the world. Frankly, I'm impressed. I think a lot of people would argue that having children is what we're biologically programed to do and to willfully step out of that mold takes a unique personality. I don't think anyone or any government should decide how many children people should be allowed to have. Again, that's a personal decision. But I respect this group for the decision that they have made as well since I think fewer people on this earth in the coming decades wouldn't be such a bad thing.

  3. I guess some of these questions come from the fact that several women at my work who are in their early to mid 30s are definitely committed to not having children. This was a surprise to me since (yes, call me small-minded) but I guess I assumed that every 35 year old woman would be in baby-making overdrive at that point if she hadn't yet had kids. So I guess that's what partially prompted this post. I haven't yet had the courage to ask these women why they don't desire offspring but I'm working up to it. :) ok, I'm off to carve pumpkins.

  4. I always encourage people to think really long and hard about having kids because it really isn't for everyone. People always assume I think they should have kids and I think it takes a certain amount of smarts to decide not to have them. They are wonderful but also a pain that changes your life completely.

  5. Adoption is great (something Brian and I would totally consider) but it doesn't stop your adopted child from having a child of their own someday. So, although it is a lot less people...it still doesn't stop the influx which is what I think these people are trying to do.

    Personally I want to have kids, but in working with them all day I can understand why people wouldn't want to have them. And I agree that it takes a very smart person to know that they are not the kid type and to choose not to have little ones of their own. Sadly a lot of people don't make that decision and live to regret it later. Good points, ladies!!!