Environmentalism = aborting/preventing children

What I have found is that when confronted with environmental problems, the “It’s all due to overpopulation” response tends to come from the non-environmentalist liberals; while the non-environmentalist conservatives simply deny there are any problems.  It’s as if confronted with a problem for which they are partly responsible, they blame-shift it onto other people’s children, then go on their merry way without any lifestyle changes.  They would like other people to bear less children so they and their own children can have better lives.

However, there is the “overpopulation” issue among some/many environmentalists, and it’s a difficult issue (see my comment at the bottom).

Real environmentalists, however, if they do bring up the “overpopulation” issue will first point out that First-Worlders cause a heap more environmental destruction than Third-Worlders (so it’s just not right to blame-shift it onto the poor countries with high birth rates).  And social justice environmentalists might throw in that there is more than enough food & resources to go around to everyone, it’s just that the rich are hording & consuming the vast lion’s share.  In the 1988 documenary, The Politics of Food, it shows how Brazilian subsistence farmers growing rice, beans & veggies mainly for their families were strong-armed off their small farms by multinational food corps, so those frankencorps (headquarted in Chicago) could grow soy (by mechanized farming, requiring low labor) to feed to chickens to send to the rich and First-Worlders — thereby making us die of heart disease, while the farmers without land or livelihood starve by the roadside (I throw in that last step).  BTW, Frances Moore Lappe, who was featured in that film & famous for DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET, has a great org and website now:  Take a Bite Out of Climate Change.

As Catholics we have the perfect solution:  A much greater number of us need to become celibate, either formally as priests, nuns, and monks, or informally as persons living lives of sacrifice for the spiritual and material welfare of the world.  Such efforts at self-control may also help us to become “consumption ascetic” and buy less junk.  Then we’d really be on the road to earth prosperity.

I recently read an article at GRIST on this overpopulation topic, and this was the  comment I posted in response:

I’m concerned about the logo with a strike-out through the baby stroller.  It’s a touchy subject, but I don’t think it’s good for kids to see it.  They might think they are bad, unwanted, and “the problem” — when clearly it is adults who cause the most problem. 

A friend of mine had twins, and some years later got pregnant again.  When someone asked what they wanted, a little brother or sister, they said, “I don’t care, just as long as it isn’t twins.”  The mother figured they had apparently overheard her say that to some friends, and she felt bad that they now thought there was something wrong with twins.

I think it’s best if couples keep their child-bearing plans, if these include limiting their children, private, and then with each pregnancy express joy (even if they don’t feel so joyful).  Love is not a matter of feelings, but of sacrificial actions — they can sacrifice that frown and turn it upside down.

We also don’t have children, though we had wanted them.  But I feel good now many decades later about the situation, and feel that my environmental efforts are helping other children of the world and those yet to be born to have a better life, and in that way I am “giving birth” to such children.  In that way I’m a childless mother, very concerned about “my” children, the world’s progeny.  But I don’t want them to feel unwanted.  What are we saving the earth for, if not for the children?


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