Having Babies: Bad for the Environment?

green babiesThere ’s no doubt that every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases and adds to the problem of over-population.

Natalie Wassung, a Masters student at Stellenbosch´s Sustainability Institute, explains: “The earth has a fixed land area, and a fixed amount of water. So as global population grows, the amount of land, food and water available per person declines. These natural limits mean the earth can only sustain a certain number of people in the world, even with the efficiencies of modern technology, and the equitable distribution of resources.”

Organisations like the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) and the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) exist with the aim of raising awareness on these very issues. Using the UK as an example, where the population currently stands at 61 million, it is believed that a population of only 30 million is sustainable in the long term. Globally, the current population stands at nearly seven billion people and, in terms of food, water and fuel for long-term survival, this figure needs to be significantly reduced.

What’s the answer?

Does it lie in making a choice between having babies or saving the earth? But what then of the notion that children are a gift from God, a real blessing? “I don’t believe that having children is not eco-friendly,” Wassung comments. “Though it´s true that we´ve not taken care of creation seriously, we are still a valuable part of it – and earth is our only home. Our children are our hope for the future.

She feels that it would be wise to encourage families of not more than two (biological) children – those wanting a larger family could open their hearts and homes to kids through adoption. In this way the population would eventually stabilize, and there would be sufficient resources for everyone.

As environmentally-conscious parents, perhaps the best we can do is to do our bit to “green our babies” by using cloth nappies, biodegradable toys and organic products. Most importantly, we can take responsibility to instill in our children values of respect for the world around them, so that they grow into adults that live in harmony with their environment.

Source: excerpts from liveeco

The population explosion is due to people having more babies than they should!  This is a sensitive issue and many people in global decision-making positions are not willing to broach the subject.  Also, it is an unhappy fact that people living in poverty tend to have more children than those that can actually afford toWhatever the reasons for having children, the time has come for humans to seriously consider the environmental effects of producing large numbers of offspring.  Disposable nappies/diapers are one of the world’s worst offenders in terms of taking up landfill space.  This and the fact that many are not biodegradable.  Greener options do exist, such as reusable fabric diapers but even these can have impacts on the environment.  Some of these fabric diapers come with absorbent gels that present an eco-hazard when disposed of.  The amount of water needed to wash fabric diapers may also be considerable; does this balance out the environmental impacts associated with their disposable counterparts?  Special precautions need to be taken when cleaning reusable fabric diapers:  the soiled water should not be mixed with greywater; this water is classified as ‘black water’ and must be directed to the sewage works.  It can be disheartening to realise that sometimes our efforts to be ‘greener’ still carry negative environmental impacts.  One can only try to balance and offset impacts.  Grey water recycling is one way of balancing our water footprint when extra water usage is required.  Rainwater harvesting is another way of lessening our impact; rain water collected off your roof and stored in water tanks will save money and ensure emergency supplies.  Water saving habits combined with water systems that either reduce, reuse or collect water will help to offset our environmental impacts.  As the article above says, our children are our future: teach them from a young age that water conservation and eco-friendly living are our only hope of continued existence as a species.

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