Never mind that the United States has its lowest birth rate ever, a major problem for both our economy and entitlement programs, a new study from IOP Science wants to stop young people from ruining the world by teaching them of the dangerous effects of having children. The authors claim that “having one fewer child” is the most significant action one can take “to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions.” While they also named living car-free, avoiding travel by plane, and eating a vegetarian diet as effective emissions-reducing techniques, they assert these actions have only a fraction of the potential to save the earth as strictly limiting family size.
They reached their findings based on a 2009 study where “half of a child’s emissions are assigned to each parent, as well as one quarter of that child’s offspring (the grandchildren) and so forth.”
Media sources who support the climate change agenda quickly picked up on it. The Guardian ran an article titled “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children” by environment editor Damian Carrington. He wrote, “The greatest impact individuals can have in fighting climate change is to have one fewer child.”
The Daily Mail’s headline went even further in child-hating: “Want to save the planet? Don’t have children! Study finds bringing new life into the world is the most destructive thing you can do to the environment.” Environment Correspondent Colin Fernandez wrote, “But if you really want to save the planet, one of the best ways is to not have children, according to a study. Researchers said that bringing new life into the world is easily the most destructive thing you can do to the environment.”
Slate hadn’t run their own article as of my latest check, but they did round up recommended articles, including links to “Alarmism Is the Argument We Need to Fight Climate Change” and an emotion-filled article where the author weighs her desires for children with her moral responsibility to save the world. It’s titled, “How Do You Decide to Have a Baby When Climate Change Is Remaking Life on Earth?”
Doom Predictions Are Wrong, But People Believe Them
The other side of media rightly responded by denouncing the idea that we should not fill the world with the joy called babies. National Review’s article “Population Control, the Undying Dream of the Left” said, “The Left has long been infected by a dangerous desire to tell you how many children you’re allowed to have. Today, that urge takes shape in the tendency of progressives to blame ‘extra children’ for all of our woes.” The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway also wrote a response titled “Abortion Fanatics Don’t Want Choice, They Want Fewer Babies.”
Predictions of the end of an inhabitable earth have been continually wrong. American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry has named 18 predictions made around time of the first Earth Day in 1970 that never came to fruition, including “that civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind” and Paul Ehrlich’s outrageous claim that “between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the ‘Great Die-Off’.” Robert Tracinski also recalled five false environmentalist claims that never came to fruition, including the warning from the 1970s that humans were causing an imminent ice age.
Despite attempts to refute the message of pending calamities, people believe it. Population Matters commissioned a survey in 2014 of 2,362 adults in the United Kingdom, finding that 63 percent believe environmental conservation should be a factor when people determine their family size. Fifty-one percent of that group believe people should stop at only two children.
Spay Them While They’re Young
As both sides argue over climate change and resulting apocalypse predictions, climate alarmists are not just sounding the sirens, they are coming for our potential grandchildren, the crown to the aged, by trying to win over the minds of our children. If they can’t reduce the current number of people on earth, they can teach young people that reproducing is amongst the worst of moral sins. The authors of the study recognize that youth are the best target for their propaganda:
Though adolescents poised to establish lifelong patterns are an important target group for promoting high-impact actions, we find that ten high school science textbooks from Canada largely fail to mention these actions (they account for 4% of their recommended actions), instead focusing on incremental changes with much smaller potential emissions reductions. Government resources on climate change from the EU, USA, Canada, and Australia also focus recommendations on lower-impact actions. We conclude that there are opportunities to improve existing educational and communication structures to promote the most effective emission-reduction strategies and close this mitigation gap.
Noting that young people still have the freedom to choose a small family, the authors of the study are concerned with getting the message out through secondary school textbooks. Part of their study involved analyzing ten textbooks used throughout seven of Canada’s provinces. They found the textbooks failed to teach students about the necessity of these actions.
The desire to put this message into high school textbooks is intentional. Because high school students are close to the age when they will become sexually active, they are at the prime age to be indoctrinated with the message to limit their family size.
This instruction is already happening in our universities. Travis N. Rieder, the program director for the master of bioethics degree program at Johns Hopkins University, is explicitly teaching students not to have many children. As NPR reported, he gave a talk in 2016 at James Madison University questioning “the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents” and in which parents desire grandchildren. He tells students that by 2036 dangerous climate change will be occurring and “it’s gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time.”
He doesn’t want to stop at just teaching this to college students. He’s proposed that “richer nations do away with tax breaks for having children and actually penalize new parents. He says the penalty should be progressive, based on income, and could increase with each additional child.”
Sarah Conly is an associate professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College who promotes population control. Writing for the Boston Globe, she said, “it is clear that having more than one child is just something that none of us — Chinese or American — has a moral right to do.” Tell that to my Chinese friend who is an only child of deceased only children. Before he reached the age of 30, he had no living relatives left because of the one-child policy enforced while he was growing up.
We Can Celebrate the Joy Of Family
Conservatives may not be able to change the minds of the climate alarmists who are spreading this message, but we can show young people why they should have families. As Andrew Yuengert wrote, “The family is most local of all communities, and its decline is at least as great a social calamity as the commercialization of culture and the state organization of society. In the case of the family, at least, it is in our power to effect something of a restoration. Offer friendly correction to those who criticize large families, who think even three children imprudent and irresponsible.”
We don’t have to live in fear of babies. Al Mohler said in a podcast that “the biblical worldview simply doesn’t allow any margin for understanding human beings in terms of human existence as the problem. Instead, the biblical worldview understands that every single human being is an image bearer, and thus God is actually glorified in the multiplication and expansion of those image bearers all across the planet that he has given us as a human habitation.” This faith-filled worldview is also compatible with science that finds innovation increases as population increases, meaning that the more children we have the more social solutions we have.
While climate alarmists are facing old age with a heritage of extremely few family members, I’m hoping to live my life in a way that my (many) children see how much they bless me every moment and will desire the rich life of a large family for themselves as well.