Over at Tree Hugger they have discovered the obvious: The Best Way You Can Go Green: Have Fewer Children:
Forget changing your lightbulbs, driving a car with high fuel efficiency, adopting a vegetarian diet or even switching to green power. If you live in the United States and really want to reduce your carbon emission legacy, perhaps the single largest change you can make to your life is commit to have fewer children.
The story goes on to quote a LiveScience article entitled Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids
For people who are looking for ways to reduce their "carbon footprint," here's one radical idea that could have a big long-term impact, some scientists say: Have fewer kids.
A study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environment-friendly practices people might employ during their entire lives - things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
"In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime," said study team member Paul Murtaugh. "Those are important issues and it's essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources."
Reproductive choices haven't gained as much attention in the consideration of human impact to the Earth, Murtaugh said. When an individual produces a child - and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future - the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.
Under current conditions in the United States, for instance, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is
The impact doesn't only come through increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - larger populations also generate more waste and tax water supplies.
Of course births are NOT the main driver of U.S. population growth. Immigration is, and this has been true since the beginning, as the graph, below makes clear.
As John Chamie at Yale Global Online notes,
Contrary to popular thought, the dominant force fueling America’s demographic growth is not natural increase, but immigration. This is because immigrants not only add their own numbers to the nation’s overall population, but also contribute a disproportionate number of births whose effects are compounded over time.
Next time some vegan spouts nonsense to you about how the world is going to hell in a hand cart because there are too many people eating cows and chickens, do what I do: Suggest they get themselves sterilized and that they support immigration reform.
If that sounds harsh, be advised that voluntary sterilization is the most common form of birth control in the world. And yes, I advocate men get the procedure as it's a simple in-and-out operation for us.
Also be advised, that 82% of U.S. population growth is due to immigration, and that this immigration is negating ALL other savings being made through conservation.
Bottom Line: Stop talking about what other people should be doing (you cannot do a damn thing about them), and take direct action on the one thing you actually control.
You say you are an environmentalist? Prove it! Stop at none ... or one ... or two. And support immigration control.
- Related Links:** The Real Threat to Hunting in America
** Population Growth and the Limits of Accommodation
** Drawing the Line at the Border for Wildlife's Sake
** How Many Americans?
** Dead Man's Curve
** The Fox Versus the Stork
** What Would You Give Up to Keep What You Have?
** When Population Growth Comes Homes to Roost
** National Security and Population Growth
** Field Guide to Contraception.