Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
radamfi
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Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by radamfi » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:18 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... r-children
Having one fewer child will save 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year
More than 20 times as living car free.

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vexed87
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by vexed87 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:08 am

Go figure, but the stats in the article can only be relevant to you if you are a typical consumer, what the article fails to address is if you really want to reduce impact, you simply need to stop consuming goods and services produced by the industrial system, or simply, get out of the city and stop buying shit.

We're talking adopting appropriate tech, home grown food, second-hand goods, home schooling, home-scale energy production (solar hot water). Adding additional children who don't use the system effectively discounts their carbon emissions. What gets my goat about these environmental journalists is they can't think outside the box of industrialised society. "We could all be more sustainable if we have less children, that way we can carry on as if there is no problem for a little longer."

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:02 am

Suppose that article convinces so many westerners that it prevents twenty thousand more children from being born. That means there are twenty thousand more people-resources available on the market than there would have been. They will still be used up by the remaining humans, and 58.6 tonnes of CO2equivalent per person-resource/year will still be emitted. Leibig's law. Human consumption will just increase to fit the environment.

Voluntary childlessness is like an antibiotic that eliminates some individuals, so resistant individuals can take their place and flourish. The petri dish of the world will be used up one way or another.

batbatmanne
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by batbatmanne » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:02 am

vexed87 wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:08 am
Go figure, but the stats in the article can only be relevant to you if you are a typical consumer, what the article fails to address is if you really want to reduce impact, you simply need to stop consuming goods and services produced by the industrial system, or simply, get out of the city and stop buying shit.
This is true but one can do both. Even the most enlightened of us will generally be a harm to the world ecosystem on an input-output basis, and by adding another human to the world you are taking a risk that is, given the general behavior of humans, a terrible environmental wager. Even if one thinks that they have a strong likelihood of socializing a young person to be net good on the environment, the alternative to adopt a child will always be significantly better than having one's own. Needing to have your own genetic lineage is the egoistic choice, not the environmentalist one.

For those of us who aim for a low-effort harm reduction approach not having children is by far the best decision that we can make.
ThisDinosaur wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:02 am
Voluntary childlessness is like an antibiotic that eliminates some individuals, so resistant individuals can take their place and flourish. The petri dish of the world will be used up one way or another.
Once we have started playing the moral responsibility game this kind of argument doesn't really do any work to dismiss our responsibilities. It's better thought of as an argument to not play the game.

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BRUTE
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:14 am

existence is suffering, so reducing existence is probably the kindest thing humans can do. brute recommends humans return the planet to its rightful owners. dinosaurs.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:57 am

BRUTE wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:14 am
brute recommends humans return the planet to its rightful owners. dinosaurs.
Fuck. Yes.

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fiby41
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by fiby41 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:22 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:14 am
existence is suffering, so reducing existence is probably the kindest thing humans can do.
Making the sea of births (ie burden of existence) bearable is easier.

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Dragline
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Dragline » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:28 pm

Sounds like interest rates are going even lower. ;)

JasonR
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by JasonR » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:18 pm

I'm constantly not having children.
Fifty to 100 million per day.
Multiplied by 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalent = I saved earth.
Greatest American Hero? Believe it or not...

So how does this really work?
Do I have to want n children and then only have n-1?
That leads to some strange conclusions.
Shouldn't they have said, "have one or none"?
Maybe you can't say that? What did I miss?

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GandK
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by GandK » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:14 pm

Too late. :cry: :lol:

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Dragline
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Dragline » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Somewhere this ends with the plot of "12 Monkeys" involving pathological germs that force people underground if they survive.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:57 pm

This is a systems problem, so if you ask "How will having fewer children affect global climate change?", you should also ask "How will global climate change affect human birthrate?"

Maybe I am helping a 12 year old immigrant girl from Yemen advance her math skills. Maybe her motivation is that she wants to be able to get a high-paying job when she grows up so that she can buy a Ferrari. Maybe she will end up earning an average of $80,000/year (household income twice that=$160,000) and end up spending every bit of her earnings on consumer goods and services, but she will only have 1 child when she is 36 because she is too busy studying and then working and shopping to want more than one. If she doesn't learn math, she will get married at 18 and have 3 kids, and spend every bit of $40,000 household earnings on consumer goods and services. 2 of her 3 kids follow the "don't learn math" pattern, 1 follows the "learn math" pattern. If total spending is best known proxy for carbon footprint, will an hour spent teaching low-income girls math skills be a better way to fight global warming than an hour spent recycling plastic milk jugs?

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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:05 pm

Lets do some math. Math is fun!

https://www.mcc-berlin.net/en/research/co2-budget.html

The remaining global carbon budget for avoiding a 2C increase (considered a dangerous limit because of the risk of non-linear effects we're not yet completely sure about ... and by non-linear we're talking things like methane releases that would be outside of human control) is

940 Gt for an optimistic estimate (if you're willing to take 1:2 odds against... feel lucky? )
760 Gt for a fair estimate (if you're willing to take 1:1 odds)
390 Gt for a pessimistic estimate (if you're willing to take 2:1 odds for you)

The world consumes about 40Gt/year. About 10% goes towards land use (farming and cutting down trees) and cement production (building, etc.) If you want the ability to grow food or build building until those children are dead, say in year 2095), you can reserve some of the budget for that ... but then you have less for everything else. Feel free to make lots of projections this way allocating resources this way or that way ... also try to figure out how to get people to agree on the allocation between countries, goals, etc.

So if you want 2 to 1 odds of preventing the quantitatively unknown risk factors beyond the 2C limit, you/we have 390/40=9 years and 9 months left before world must come to a complete and permanent stop with all and every future emission of fossil fuels. After that no more heating, no more cooling, no more driving, no more ... you get it.

You're not really fighting climate change by not having children. It's too late for that. The amount of damage that a 1-10 year old can do before risking (emphasis on risk, not guarantee) is limited. The issue should be more on what kind of world they're being committed too. Keep in mind that they won't really know what they're missing. Their baseline for the human experience will be 2025 .. not 1985 or 1965.

Compare the remaining "budget" to how much fuel there's actually left in the ground for emissions (2900GT) and the odds that consumers and investors are just going to leave all that in the ground? In 5-10 years, scientists and politicians will start talking about a 2.5C limit because 2C is no longer a viable option just like 1C is now gone and 1.5C is considering "very hopeful" (a few more years of emissions left, so by 2021 or so). Call me cynical ... but we will not be fighting climate change. We will be fighting each other while climate change will be fighting us.

A this point it's pretty hard for me to imagine this being anything more than a theoretical exercise of "something we could have done for the planet but never did". Like giving up smoking or cookies on a personal level.

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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Jean » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:14 pm

Do you have any good resources on how to teach my child how to fight other peoples' childs?

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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:17 pm

@Jean - No, but one is being worked on.

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Dragline
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Dragline » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:23 pm

Danish Eco-JuJitsu!

I just have them watch loops of Mad Max Thunderdome and the original Conan movie where Ah-node is a pit fighter.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:46 pm

I don't have kids, intentionally. Not for altruistic, environmental reasons, but purely selfish, real reasons. (I believe there is too much breeding, and not enough parenting in the world, and I wouldn't improve that ratio by enough to overcome the risks.)

Yet I do find it unfortunate that environmentalism as social positioning is so strongly associated with the political left. This leads to articles like the one in the OP. Where we all read and agree to what "we need to do". But that message goes out to people who understand that "what we need to do", really translates to "what you other people need to do".

I've been watching celebrated leftists talk about population control, then popping out babies a few years later, for decades. Since back when I was such a leftist.

I wonder what the world would be like, if environmentalism had stayed a rightist cause... Not that rightists are less prone to hypocrisy, but they seem more motivated by practical solutions. ie ducks unlimited, vs WWF.

In any case, population control seems to become less important as we get older, and the issue becomes personal, and all the wisdom of our youth shows its wear around the edges. I don't see that changing as long as we associate being childfree with environmentalism.

Now if we could link in the public mind, the association of having babies and poverty, we might get somewhere.

Child tax anyone?

Jean
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Jean » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:22 pm

If the ability to refrain oneself from having kid is transmited by parents, this is not along term sollution.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:35 pm

@jean

And how would you test that? For that matter, why would you even think that would be a heritable trait?

We can all do the math. Some will let that determine their actions, some won't.

I have seen no indication that what I consider my best traits to be genetic. So my best way of helping humanity as whole doesn't involve a mini-me. I choose to live my example, and save my overly harsh criticism for adults on the internet, where it may do some good, rather than subject children to it, where it would be more likely to do damage.

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Dragline
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Dragline » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:45 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:46 pm

I don't see that changing as long as we associate being childfree with environmentalism.
We live in an era of "check the box" morality by signalling "goodness" or rectitude via consumptive choices -- and the habit of projecting one's personal preferences on to a bigger theme one deems desirable, even when the relationship is tenuous at best.

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GandK
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by GandK » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:41 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:35 pm
We can all do the math. Some will let that determine their actions, some won't.
This.

The article is aimed squarely at people who don't need its advice. Having kids is a biological urge. Some people feel that urge more strongly than others, and those who act on instinct by definition do not plan. Further, people who don't bother planning out whether or not to have kids certainly won't plan to minimize their carbon footprint.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:25 pm

Rereading my last few posts, perhaps I should clarify my opinion.

I chose not to have kids. This was a selfish decision. I deserve no credit for not doing something I didn't want to do.

I have no issue with folks who CHOOSE to have kids. People who want to be parents, and live their lives accordingly are fine by me. Look around, decide your best course and execute. Good luck to you.

What I am far too familiar with, is people who became parents thru lack of a plan, or planning, or action, or commitment, or... You fill in the blank. People who had kids "happen to them". The ones who are just trying to hold on until the problem (kid) goes away.

7 billion people. Eventually, we will either cause an extinction event, or we will harness our fecundity. There are no other options. Each of us has to decide for ourselves which path we want to take. I choose to harness my fecundity, and I'm not quiet about it. Not because I want to shame people who WANT to be parents, but to show the rest that there are good reasons and examples to choose a different path.

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BRUTE
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:37 pm

jacob wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:05 pm
Math is fun!
citation needed

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BRUTE
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:39 pm

GandK wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:41 pm
The article is aimed squarely at people who don't need its advice.
this is true for pretty much all advice. with the added caveat of "who aren't ready for it", all advice.

Jean
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Re: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

Post by Jean » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:50 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:35 pm
@jean

And how would you test that? For that matter, why would you even think that would be a heritable trait?

We can all do the math. Some will let that determine their actions, some won't.

I have seen no indication that what I consider my best traits to be genetic. So my best way of helping humanity as whole doesn't involve a mini-me. I choose to live my example, and save my overly harsh criticism for adults on the internet, where it may do some good, rather than subject children to it, where it would be more likely to do damage.
I can't test this, but I'll bet on it, an try to have as many kids as possible, because, they will controll some ressource and use them sparcely, and other peoples' kids won't, they'll probably just waste them.
Of course, it's completly untestable apriori.
But ressources need to be wardened, and I think my kids will do a better job at it than other peoples' kid.

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