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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Less children won't solve global warming

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Perhaps because we're on the eve of another Presidential election, concern for the environment has taken center stage. Virtually everywhere you turn, we're bombarded with suggestions - or demands - on ways to "save the planet" through environmental changes.

We're warned against driving SUVs, we're told to recycle, we're warned against coal-fired energy, etc. Now we're told to have less children. That's right - a British environmental group says that having less children is now the only way to save the world population from destroying itself.

These learned Brits want to limit families to two children because the impact of a lower population is the best way to save the planet. They even have a nifty formula that calculates a child will produce the equivalent in carbon dioxide of 620 round-trip airplane flight from London to New York. Less kids apparently equals less carbon dioxide.

As with every academic approach, there unfortunately is a fly in the ointment. Developing countries - like the United States - are experiencing very little population growth. The explosion in the world population is limited to undeveloped nations like Africa. Try telling that population to limit births! And even if you did deliver that message, global warming is not a hot topic in underdeveloped countries. They're much more interested in putting food on the table today, much less worry about future generations.

One expert with this two-child idea says that having less children would produce a much greater benefit than switching off lights. I find it fascinating that these educated folks can find a comparison between having children and switching off lights. Maybe I'm missing something.

To have children or not is an important decision. I don't suspect those decisions will take global warming into consideration. Nor should they necessarily.

Instead of mandating less children, wouldn't it be easier to impose a life span limit on society? If our goal is less producers of carbon dioxide, then set an age limit and, when reached, you're simply invited to leave this earth?

Let's make a deal. If China and India will promise a zero-growth population, then the rest of the world can follow suit. Until then, I strongly suspect that Mother Nature and not the environmentalist, will dictate the production of our offspring.

Come to think of it, maybe switching those lights off is one of the reasons we have kids in the first place. Oh what we do for the sake of the environment!

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen