Is the era of having a child being a “life style” choice that dominated the second half of the 20th century (as opposed to an economic/survival necessity for much of history) over? Can we afford to provide for our kids and for ourselves as we did in decades past?
I have reached the big 3-o recently and, as expected, the question of when I will “settle down” and participate in filling up the planet keeps coming up ever more feverishly, my arguments notwithstanding. In the past I have tried to explain my concerns with breeding till we’re bleeding but all I have got from the frenzied women folk that I’m acquainted with is something along the lines that I don’t like children, almost that I’m an agent of those who would want the extinction of humanity (when ironically, it is the incessant filling of the earth that may spell the planet’s doom), all I have got from the menfolk I interact with is furious indignation that I would question their entitlement to having the legacy of offspring, in deed an extension of their very virility and manhood. It is almost in exasperation that I borrow the words of edsg25 over from the smirking chimp to give vent to my frustration with this subject. Knock yourselves out.
We live specifically in a nation that has lost its way, arguably never to get it back, and we live generally on a planet whose problems have never been so great as the critical mass we generated.
Those are the realities. We know what is going on. The rest is merely commentary.
Yet do we, even the most informed among us, truly use the information that we take in or do we compartmentalize it as a reality but go on living our lives as if reality does not exist?
One of the most important questions in life and arguably the one that we need to show the most responsibility towards is “Do I want to have children?”
Yet when that question is asked, how rarely (if ever) is the condition of nation and planet brought into the decision making?
Mankind did not get to the perils of 2011 overnight. The United States didn’t get on the path to today at the start of the Reagan Revolution or when the Supreme Court crowned George W. Bush president. All stems from the dawn of civilization when the human race first began to use up and not replace.
Even with that initial toll on the planet, we survived for millennia. When entropy collapsed one civilization, another one rose on still fertile soil. The lack of advanced technology kept the graph’s line of global population fairly parallel with the x-axis for much of human history.
Our first billion on the planet was arrived at circa 1800 with the first industrial revolution. As the line on the graph made what appears to be a giant left turn of virtual 90° size, the second billion mark was “achieved” around the time of our first Great Depression. That two billion is a number many scientists consider the outer limit of human sustainability on the planet.
Today we are at seven billion, supposedly headed for nine this century, although I have seen estimates now revised to ten.
We seem to be living in a time of revised estimates. Indeed scientists now see global climate change in terms of how conservative their own estimates had been, the rate of increasingly unfriendly conditions to human survival growing rapidly, the effects of climate change no longer in the future but in the here and now.
Ours is a collapsing system and it collapsing based strictly on the rules of life and living things that we ignore. We consider only the intrahuman factors that affect our lives, the interplay between us in how we attain our goods and services with no look at the larger picture which puts all of us less in competition with each other and more in the role of being on a life boat that has sprung a leak. Yes, we truly are “all in the same boat”.
So why is it we are so casual about the notion of having children, that we only look at it terms of ourselves as individuals and ignore the larger picture?
Don’t our current circumstances hit home the idea that we are not the “self made men (and women)” we think we are. Are we not living at a time when it is clear that circumstances carry us more than we carry circumstances and few, if any, of us can escape conditions that global reaching and catastrophic in nature?
A recent scientific prediction sees my own city of Chicago having the climate of Baton Rogue by the century’s end. It is merely a prediction, but it is hardly inconsistent with others that are made by reputable scientists today. A child born today would reach the not-so-old age of 60 around 2070. And that is merely thirty short years till century’s end when the time frame of that prediction appears as the calendar’s date.
What type of world will the children of today come of age within and go on through their adult years? What quality of life will they have? Do we have any indication other than pure faith and the notion that “mankind always solves its problems when solution becomes imperative” that gives us any sense that these children can live sustainable lives. Or even survive?
Nothing stays constant. Change is indeed the only constant. If population does not drop, it will continue to rise. And rise exponentially. If people continue to think that having children is a birthright and an entitlement, than that projected 10 billion will easily go to 13 or 15 or whatever point the planet stops us and says “ENOUGH!”
I love children. I’ve taught my entire life. And I would never presume to tell anyone not to have children. But I would hope that people who look at the realities of the planet along with the realities of their own life when they make a decision to have or not to have children.
One can make a compelling argument that if you truly love those yet to be conceived children, you will never conceive them. Sad, sad, sad though that might be.
It is the most basic and enduring of questions; yet we leave the answer to happenstance.
link to Original Article here: http://bit.ly/mOyyPY