Children: a gift or our doom?
By Cathy Keim
Children? Those fleshy barnacles of snot and mutiny? Those extortionate burdens? Those shrieking, dribbling, bawling horrors? Not for me, thank you. – Calum Marsh
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. – Psalm 127:3 (KJV)
As you might guess, I am a believer that children are a heritage from the Lord, rather than a horror to be avoided at all costs. Calum Marsh is a writer for the National Post and he shared his views on childbearing in a rather horrific piece. He does not want children, his wife agrees with him, and they are happy with their lifestyle. He states: “We are quite sure that we don’t want kids. What we’d really like is for you to stop asking us about it.”
Calum goes on to give his reasons:
Let’s briefly address my reasons. I’m afraid they’re not especially insightful: I value my lifestyle, and I like having the means to maintain it. I value my free time. I’d like to re-read the complete works of Shakespeare, and get around to tackling Proust; I’m keen to learn Latin and modern dance; I wouldn’t mind visiting Locarno, Ankara and Bucharest. I also enjoy the freedom from responsibility childlessness affords me. I can’t begin to imagine the burden not only of time and money but of authority and influence – of being accountable for a human life. It’s lunacy that so many people are comfortable with it. I can no more picture myself raising a child as I can building a log cabin or captaining an aircraft carrier. Maybe it’s within my ability. But more likely I’d screw it up.
I must point out that Calum’s reasoning could be taken to be just a tad selfish. I am sure that he would rather have a more high-minded sounding reason, and I have just the solution for him.
He needs to read this piece from by Jennifer Ludden for NPR’s All Things Considered, “Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change?”
Here he will find the solution to stop the old nags from questioning him about his future progeny. There is no need to look selfish, when you can instead turn the tables and make all those people that are procreating look like the selfish ones.
In her story, Ludden introduces us to Travis Rieder, a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Rieder is so certain that climate change is going to be catastrophic for the earth that he is lecturing to convince students to not have children.
“Here’s a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them,” Rieder says.
Rieder’s reasoning is that the world is expected to add several billion people in the next few decades, each one producing more emissions.
Ludden goes on to state:
In fact, without dramatic action, climatologists say, the world is on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and worse beyond that. A World Bank report says this must be avoided, and warns of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought and serious impacts on ecosystems and “human systems.” Back in the classroom, Rieder puts this in less technical terms: 4 degrees of warming would be “largely uninhabitable for humans.”
“It’s gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time,” he says.
We then learn about the group Conceivable Future, a nonprofit founded on the notion that “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis.”
One of the CF founders, Josephine Ferorelli told Ludden that “when she imagines raising a child…she can’t help but envision the nightmare scenarios that have dogged her since she first heard the term ‘global warming’ in elementary school.”
“Knowing that I gave that future to somebody is something that just doesn’t sit very well,” adds Ferorelli.
Since this is a fuzzy touchy feely NPR piece, the author does allow that many women want to have babies. It is actually hard for them to give up childbearing for the good of the planet.
Ahh, see how the tables have turned. Calum doesn’t need to be callous. He just needs to advise all his friends with children that they are responsible for dooming the planet, while he is sacrificing to save the planet.
It is worth noting that reducing the world’s population has been a popular theme with many countries, most notably China. Their one child policy has recently been modified, but years of selective abortion or infanticide to ensure that the one child was a son has left China with a serious shortage of women.
In Europe the birthrate has fallen so precipitously that many countries are facing shrinking populations and are looking to immigrants to fill the void. Seeing masses of young males invading Europe does not give me confidence that the void will be filled peacefully.
But one nation is leading the way in the childless revolution. David Sim reports in the International Business News about a Japanese village which has resorted to a unique way of boosting its population.
Nagoro, like many villages in the Japanese countryside, was hit hard by the migration of its younger residents to cities, leaving the elderly behind. Its greying community is a microcosm of Japan; the country’s population has been falling for a decade and is projected to drop from 127 million to 87 million by 2060.
One of the younger residents of the village of Nagoro is 65 years old.
Tsukimi Ayano made her first scarecrow 13 years ago to frighten off birds pecking at seeds in her garden. She created a life-sized straw doll that resembled her father, and was inspired to make more. And more…
Today, the tiny village in is populated by 150 of Ayano’s hand-sewn creations.
I suppose that scarecrow people are better than empty houses and streets, but it seems rather sad.
People were afraid to have children during world wars and the Great Depression. Then the Cold War brought fears of nuclear annihilation, and now climate change is presented as the reason to not have children.
What is your worldview? Do you accept Calum Marsh’s ideas or Travis Rieder’s?
I will stand with the premise that children are a gift from God. I am not fearful of climate change. However, the increasingly tyrannical shift in our country and the staggering debt give me more worry than the temperature. I am not sure that we will make it to 2036, the year that represents the apocalypse to Travis Rieder, as a free nation, but even that is not a reason to refuse to bear children. We are called to be faithful, not to take the easiest path. We can continue to fight the good fight for our nation, but it will be our children and grandchildren who will carry it on.