If you follow the logic of some scientists and environmentalists, the answer to that question appears to be a resounding “yes.”
Yahoo’s unnamed LiveScience staff has posted the article “Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids.”
According to the article, a study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the U.S. the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than driving a high-mileage car, recycling or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
Study team member Paul Murtaugh’s findings are detailed in a 2009 issue of the journal Global Environmental Change. Among his findings: Each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent — about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.
Of course, such claims aren’t new.
Paul and Anne Ehrlich said as much in their 1968 best-seller The Population Bomb. It’s just that most of their predictions proved to be wrong.
More recently, in the new DVD “The Demographic Bomb,” Paul Erlich says that having five children is akin to robbery because you’re denying others resources.
Frighteningly, such a utilitarian view is gaining ground. The problem is that such a philosophy views human beings not as unrepeatable producers, but as mere consumers.
The Demographic Bomb ably shows the roots (Malthus) of such thinking and traces how prestigious organizations (such as the United Nations) have helped to legitimize erroneous population- control ideas that shape our present-day policies and have led to unintended consequences such as our current economic crisis.
Such thinking has also led to coercive and forced sterilizations and the creation of U.N. education campaigns in Africa and elsewhere that equate large families with ugliness and violence and small families with beauty and peacefulness.
In reality, we do not face the potential problem of overpopulation, but rather a birth dearth. Very few countries, including our own, are having enough children to replace their population. Without immigration, the U.S. has a fertility rate equal to that of France, below the required fertility replacement rate of 2.13.
We’ve been failed by the very pseudoscientific ideas that we once thought would save us.