I have now received a second issue of Population Connection and am ready to weigh in with my thoughts. The in-depth coverage is excellent, and the articles are informative and timely. I very much appreciate receiving this publication. Thank you for including me as a recipient!
In the extensive discussion of childlessness by choice in the September issue, I noted that there was no mention of what I consider to be the most important reason to choose to remain childless: What thinking person, who is aware of the many calamities we face as a result of population growth, can, in good conscience, choose to add to the problem? To me, remaining childless, or at least not exceeding replacement fertility, is the most responsible and unselfish choice. This would certainly be the most immediate answer I would give to anyone who inferred that childlessness by choice was “selfish”!
Those of us who have been in the population movement for many years have no doubt heard the proposition that our potential child might turn out to be a great contributor to mankind. The odds of this would be infinitesimal and the additional environmental burden would be a certainty.
The President’s Note in the September issue says that it sometimes seems taboo to bring up population as one of the world’s problems. And Leilani Münter says that the population stabilization message is not well received by a substantial minority and can raise people’s suspicions.
I was surprised that there was no mention of a big reason for why this is the case: that population stabilization is viewed by some as a racist aspiration by white elites to suppress black and brown population growth both domestically and abroad. And that it is not population growth, but rather the rapaciousness of capitalism and the consumption of the top 1 percent that is the problem. At least that’s the attitude sometimes expressed on online forums that I’ve seen.
To counter that, it would be helpful to have more examples of government ministers and leaders in high population growth countries who “get” that rapid population growth is a problem for their countries’ futures.
Leilani Münter promotes environmental activism yet participates in professional auto racing, an industry with the carbon footprint of a brachiosaurus. Her advocacy of veganism and her choice to be childfree — even with a dream of race cars someday powered by hydrogen fuel cells or electricity — will not compensate for her profession’s current wasteful and CO2-spewing consumption of fossil fuels.
In an era when conservation of resources and wise stewardship of the planet are more important than ever, driving round and round a track at the highest possible speed is no longer a form of entertainment we should be glorifying. The sport of car racing should long ago have been relegated to the scrap heap.
I think you missed the single most important point that influences fertility decline: childcare costs. If economists are alarmed about not having enough future workers, they could support taxes and benefits sufficient for providing high quality childcare.