Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Salon, women who have taken a personal decision to help save the planet, by not having children, are angry that celebrity hypocrites appear to be ignoring the climate issues which they claim to take so seriously.
Baby Doomers: As climate change threatens to strain resources, women are increasingly reevaluating reproductive decisions. Now, these women are angry
When Sara Kelly, the 30-year-old founder of SAK PR firm in Philadelphia, posted an article to her Facebook page in December — one describing the growing trend of women refusing to have children for environmental reasons — it received more than 60 impassioned comments, mostly from friends of childbearing age debating the merits of the movement. “The topic comes up at least once a week,” Kelly told Salon. “People on both sides are having to put a lot more thought into their reasons than ever before. We’re forced to weigh the impact of climate change more than any generation before us. At dinner, cocktail hours, birthday parties. . . it’s on everyone’s mind.”
So, in the great population debate of 2016, who came out on top: the pro-baby set, or population-control enthusiasts? It doesn’t really matter, some experts contend, because we’re having the wrong conversation.
“We have a generation of people whose decisions are deeply and painfully complicated by climate change,” Josephine Ferorelli, co-founder of the nonprofit Conceivable Future, which frames global warming as a reproductive justice issue, told Salon. “There isn’t a correct answer here — it’s an impossible choice. So we’re trying to refocus the conversation to something larger.”
Conceivable Future — a network that welcomes parents as well as non-parents — encourages women of every experience to share their struggles in an attempt to put political will behind emotion. So far, they have more than 70 testimonials and counting. While they’re often mistaken for a population control advocacy group, this isn’t the case, largely because discussions of population control, they believe, are often rooted in classist ideology. Because it’s women in developing countries who tend to have more children, it’s these women who are often targeted. In reality, the largest per capita carbon emissions come from America. According to Mother Jones, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s daughter Zahara will likely produce 45,000 pounds of CO2 yearly, but that number would shrink to 221 pounds had Zahara stayed in Ethiopia.
It’s this discrepancy that’s increasingly shaping the plans of future mothers. Take Mary Sullivan, a 31-year-old school teacher from Newton, New Jersey, who has decided to foster children rather than have her own. “Climate change is already killing children in the developing world, and soon we will see the effects on the most vulnerable citizens of our country,” she told Salon. “Arguably, we are already. I don’t consider myself especially vulnerable, but I also don’t think I’ll ever be in a financial position to guarantee my child’s safety in the midst of a global crisis. With that in mind, yes, it does make me angry that there are people in the world who don’t even have to think about this — and these are often the very people making the decisions causing this disaster or refusing to address the problem.”
It is good that jet-setters who claim to be concerned about CO2 emissions are receiving more public criticism for their hypocrisy. But in my opinion, the real tragedy is women being terrorised out of child bearing by climate propaganda.