It’s about babies and birthrates

Photo: (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Guest Post:

Where do you stand on babies and birthrates?

Our PM is voting for children (or having baby number one at least) and I say good on her. But I find it difficult to find my moral compass on birthrates as, I feel, the planet may be overpopulated. The contradiction exposed here leads us into discussions of population control but, again I feel, we must have them. And they must be reasoned (but taking note of feelings such as I have described).

Otherwise, we will get more muddled thought such as the piece in CBC News by Kristen Pyszczyk.

[…] While having a child or five is a very personal choice, it’s also a choice that affects everyone who inhabits our planet. So while many people might find the backlash unwarranted, it’s actually a conversation we need to have in order to challenge our uncritical acceptance of the life-fulfilment-through-procreation story.[…]

Screenshot of Chip and Joanna Gaines from their Instagram pages.

The backlash referred to was in regard to Canadian celebrities Chip and Joanna Gaine’s announcement that they were expecting a fifth child. Social media delivered an negative verdict that Pyszczyk supported.

[…] In the global West, where the environmental footprint of one person is far larger than in developing nations, it’s crucial that we begin to present all people with alternatives to the traditional nuclear family. This inevitably involves calling out people who have kids like they’re going out of style. […]

[…] Population control is a fraught topic, and carries with it associations with eugenics and other nasty historical events. But we still need to talk about it, and people who reacted strongly to the Gaines’ pregnancy announcement know this on some level. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the survival of our species depends on it.

In August of last year, New York Magazine published an article claiming we are living through a mass extinction. The article claimed that the earth will be uninhabitable within 100 years due to various consequences of climate change, food shortages and economic and political instability.

[…] Most of the world seems to have cottoned on and birthrates are under replacement rates with Canada (at 1.68 in 2008 with replacement rate at around 2.3 children per woman globally).

The greatest birthrates are to be found in the lowest income populations – a phenomenon known as the “income and fertility paradox”. In such countries population control is basic – war, pestilence, famine and migration (the modern “four horsemen of the apocalypse”) are the major factors. The inhabitants of such countries are not blind to this but prefer to be apathetic than active. Smartphones abound (estimated 44% of the world has them in 2017) so the smart people in places like Sub-Saharan Africa can see how others manage.

Famines should not occur in a well-managed society yet they do. Not only in places in Africa which make slow progress in this area but in places like Venezuela which demonstrates how poor management can turn a prospering country into a poor one.

Finally, Pyszczyk throws her hands in the air and declaims…

[…] And if the birth rate in Canada declines, so what? As old You-Know-Who cuts off aid to not-for-profits that educate on abortion, restricts immigration and stops sending money to countries that need it, we will have a steady supply of smart and talented immigrants. Their loss, our gain.[….]

If the immigrants have names like Pyszczyk I might agree with her but the immigrants pouring into Canada have names like Ibrahim and Omar and they come from countries that are fleeing those four horsemen having been reprieved by famine relief already.

How many crimes have I committed in that last sentence?

And will this good lady Kristen Pyszczyk find herself bewailing the large families, and their bigger carbon footprints, that the new immigrants will eventually have?

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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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