“Intelligent Talk” on NPR; Your Tax Dollars At Work

Capture30Posted with no comment:

Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

He’s at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a “small-family ethic” — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to “give them grandchildren.”

Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe…

Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, he says. Yet people in the world’s poorest nations are most likely to suffer severe climate impacts, “and that seems unfair,” he says.

The philosopher’s personal dilemma

“I have been one of those women who actually craved to have a baby,” says Sadiye Rieder, smiling as she sits next to her husband in the sunroom of their Maryland home. “To go through pregnancy and everything, that mattered to me a lot.”…But by the time Sadiye began feeling ready for motherhood, Travis’ research had delved into the morality of adoption, which led to the ethics of procreation and to its impact on the climate.

“The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis”

Hoskins says she’s always wanted “little redheaded babies” — as do her parents, the sooner the better.

But she’s a grad student in environmental studies, and the more she learns, the more she questions what kind of life those babies would have…

At the New Hampshire meeting, 67-year-old Nancy Nolan tells two younger women that people didn’t know about climate change in the 1980s when she had her kids. Once her children were grown, “I said to them, ‘I hope you never have children,’ which is an awful thing to say,” Nolan says, her voice wavering. “It can bring me to tears easily.”…

With all that’s at stake, he says, we need to shift our cultural attitudes. “It’s not the childless who must justify their lifestyle. It’s the rest of us.”

“One and done”

After many conversations, he and Sadiye ended up convincing each other. Travis decided you can’t deny someone the hard-wired human fulfillment of creating a child.

But Sadiye agreed that the moral bar for a second child is much higher. The couple is “one and done.” Any more children will come through adoption…

When he writes online, Rieder often gets nasty comments, and inevitably people will say he must not have children. He believes it’s important that he understand viscerally what he’s asking of people. His daughter, he says, is “the most amazing thing we’ve ever done with our lives.”

Carrots for the poor, sticks for the rich

Rieder and his Georgetown collaborators have a proposal, and the first thing they stress is that it’s not like China’s abusive one-child policy. It aims to persuade people to choose fewer children with a strategy that boils down to carrots for the poor, sticks for the rich…

For the sticks part of the plan, Rieder proposes that richer nations do away with tax breaks for having children and actually penalize new parents. He says the penalty should be progressive, based on income, and could increase with each additional child.

Think of it like a carbon tax, on kids. He knows that sounds crazy.

“But children, in a kind of cold way of looking at it, are an externality,” he says. “We as parents, we as family members, we get the good. And the world, the community, pays the cost.”

Full Article: Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

Related Links: Pro-Choice Nancy Pelosi defends children

Please like, share, subscribe, re-blog and comment

Advertisements

1 thought on ““Intelligent Talk” on NPR; Your Tax Dollars At Work”

  1. At the New Hampshire meeting, 67-year-old Nancy Nolan tells two younger women that people didn’t know about climate change in the 1980s …

    What a lie! Well, she’s old enough to become senile. At that time, I had secondary school ahead of me
    (tech/science degree), so I did and all of us who actually learned something in school ….

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s