Believe it or not, that’s an actual newspaper headline. The article, which ran last year but which I only now just caught wind of, cites the work of an organization called Optimum Population Trust (OPT). John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT, believes couples should weigh the impact of children on the planet in their family planning. Which is why this green think tank is suggesting that you and I cut down on our carbon dioxide (CO2) output by having smaller families. For instance, instead of giving birth to four children, couples should have three.
Mr. Guillebaud states, “The greatest thing anyone . . . could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.” While the reporter didn’t indicate what was meant by “the future of the planet,” there are some who believe that humans and human activity present a threat to the survival of Earth as we know it. OPT appears to fall into this camp.
Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Guillebaud goes a step further arguing that two children is the ideal number of kids per couple. To some, this position might sound reasonable, logical, and even praiseworthy. Who isn’t for better conservation these days? We’re driving smaller cars. We’re recycling more effectively. The idea of having fewer babies to minimize CO2 emissions seems like a good thing on the surface. Upon closer inspection, however, there are a number of problems with this perspective. Let me touch on four:
1) Questioning the science. In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore took his concerns about global warming to the silver screen with his film, An Inconvenient Truth. On the other hand, John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, believes global warming is “a fictional, manufactured crisis, and a total scam.” Furthermore, a consensus among scientists regarding the relationship of CO2 to global warming has yet to be reached.
2) The slippery slope. If we start placing a limit on the number of children a family can have, is it really that much of a stretch to start questioning the CO2-related emissions by those who are handicapped? How about the elderly? Using OPT’s rational (that saving the planet trumps human life) couldn’t a case be made that once a person reaches a certain age – say 80 years old – they should volunteer to die . . . for the sake of the planet? Will we see headlines such as: Elderly Bad For The Planet? (Sounds a lot like the classic movie Soylant Green.)
3) God’s mandate. In Genesis 1:28 when God charged Adam and Eve as the representatives of mankind to “be fruitful and multiply” and to “fill the earth,” He didn’t place a cap on the figure. God could have said, “Once humanity reaches eight billion people, better slow things down.”
4) Global Population Control movement. There’s an inherent problem if a government limits the number of children a couple can have. This kind of policy invites sex-selection abortion or infanticide while discriminating against baby girls. Why? Girls are considered not as “valuable” as baby boys. If, for example, a family is permitted just one or two children, if they have a baby girl, often times she’ll be abandoned so that the couple can try again for a coveted boy.
Where is this headed? My prediction is that in ten years, maybe sooner, being pro-life will be viewed as being anti-planet. That point of view is closer than you may think. The foundation for this bias is being laid today. What’s more, that planet-first philosophy contains very real life and death implications for the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped, and anyone else who places an unacceptable drain on the planet. It’s a matter of time. That is, unless thinking people:
1) Remember that children are a gift from God, all human life is sacred – regardless of your age or ability to “contribute” to society, and that God put mankind in charge of the planet, not the other way around;
2) Refuse to be manipulated if and when soft science is used to prop up an environmental activist, special interest, or population control agenda;
3) Recognize that we do need to be good stewards of our resources and find winsome ways to articulate the celebration of life, while pursuing appropriate measures to care for the planet we share.
Are children bad for the planet? Not in my book. Not by a long shot.
What do you think?