Parents, especially those in the West, received an extra dose of environmentalist shame in the form of a Vogue article asking if having a baby in the present day is “pure environmental vandalism” and questioning whether it’s “possible to live an ecologically responsible life while adding yet another person to our overstretched planet.”
“For the scientifically-engaged person,” Nell Frizzell declared in the Sunday column, “there are few questions more troubling when looking at the current climate emergency than that of having a baby. Whether your body throbs to reproduce, you passively believe that it is on the cards for you one day, or you actively seek to remain child-free, the declining health of the planet cannot help but factor in your thinking.”
Frizzell, who notes in the article that most of her thoughts stem from her experience having her own son, says she spent much of her pregnancy “worried feverishly about the strain on the earth’s resources that another Western child would add.”
The writer proceeded to heap on the doomsday terror with premonitions of drought and famine.
“I also worried about the sort of world that I would bring my child into — where we have perhaps just another 60 harvests left before our overworked soil gives out and we are running out of fresh water,” Frizzell said. “Could I really have a baby, knowing that by the time he was my father’s age, he may be living on a dry and barren earth?”
Not straying too far from Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, a theory which posits that the answer to any headline in the form of a question is “no,” Frizzell admitted she’d even have a second child “if [her] partner agreed.”
After the column hit Twitter, it was unsurprisingly shredded by countless critics.
Human Progress, a project of the Cato Institute dedicated to sharing “evidence from individual scholars, academic institutions, and international organizations” to show “dramatic improvements in human well-being throughout much of the world” called on Frizzell to read some of their materials which demonstrate that “each new child is correlated with an increase in resource abundance.”
The project also debunked a claim made by Frizzell that air pollution is a growing killer in the world, particularly of children.
Another dubious claim in the article: "Pollution now kills more people than tobacco – and three times as many as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined."
Air pollution deaths are actually going down. AIDS, Malaria, and TB deaths are just decreasing faster. pic.twitter.com/fdIzs8U5O4
— HumanProgress.org (@HumanProgress) April 28, 2021
“Air pollution deaths are actually going down,” the project explained. “AIDS, Malaria, and TB deaths are just decreasing faster.”
For what it’s worth, Frizzell concedes that whether or not children are the destroyer of worlds isn’t just a “simple binary.” Of course, she swiftly pointed out that the “lifestyle of the rich and super rich” is the true force that is “destroying the planet at a rate unimaginable just a hundred years ago.”
So, Frizzell concludes that she is simply going to pass down her eco-paranoia to her child—or, as she phrases it, “attempting to raise a child with an awareness of ecological inequality, who tried to satiate his desires with human interaction rather than material consumption, who helps him appreciate the natural world” in hopes that her son “might contribute to future humanity, rather than destroy it.”
What a joyless way to live. Praise God we know that the past, present, and future of our planet is in the hands of the One who created it for His glory!
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