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Two Child Policy: Environmentalist Seeks Population Limits

Jonathon Porritt, an environmental adviser for the UK, maintains that contraception and abortion must be at the core of anti-global-warming policies. In a report to be published next month, the UK's Sustainable Development Commission, headed by Porritt, recommends that the government limit population growth with better family planning programs.

People cannot reduce their total environmental impact without reducing the number of children they have, according to Porritt. He says:

Many organizations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say: "You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial."

I can only imagine what he would have to say to the Duggars or the California mother of six who just had octuplets. Government involvement in reproduction might seem extreme — do you think Porritt is throwing the baby out with the environmentally-unfriendly bath water, or is he just being realistic about sustainability?

Courtesy of TLC

Join The Conversation
pour-qua pour-qua 8 years
1) Being responsible about having kids goes beyond the numbers. If a family can raise responsible, caring citizens, then that is great. It matters far more HOW the children are raised than HOW MANY children are raised. 2) No government or doctor should decide who has children and how many. Everyone has the right to have a child and more if they choose. True Song, you are advocating forced abortion? 3) If people care about population, they can promote planful parenting, contraception, adoption, and EDUCATION. Not Totalitarianism.
nguidjol nguidjol 8 years
Where I'm from, people aren't having babies anymore. Government practically gives away money to encourage people to get have babies. Are from France VanillaJ?
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
we have to think world wide on this WORLD WIDE we a re a lot!!! we are already a lot!!! lots of people, lots of garbage, lots of food, lots of recycle, of course this issue is hand to hand with environment!! it's not that i'm saying how many kids people should have, but seriously? you have 8, and those eight have 8, we're only multiplying the population, and we are already multiplied! our grandmas mothers had like 10 children, well yeah, and they like died at 50, isn't? we are over populating this planet. I want my children to have a good life, and by that I'm not talking about college or money, i'm talking about a place to live, air to breath, good food to eat, places to be. This is not a "if you have the money, you can have as many kids you want" it is about those kids having fresh air, fresh food, spaces to be, a clean planet. p.s. I didn't meant to offend anyone, if i did it , I am deeply sorry.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I don't think the government should be telling anyone how many children they can or can't have. It would be nice though, if people having children could afford them. It's been my exerience if you can afford to have children, you also can "afford" to think about the environment. If someone is constantly worrying about the money for the rent and groceries is not going to be worrying about impacting the environment.
lildorothyparker lildorothyparker 8 years
I wouldn't say population growth "causes" environmental issues, but it definitely exacerbates them. In response to the drought/flood example: Flooding: An expanding population calls more homes being built. These homes are often built on areas close to flood planes. The disappearance of flood planes leads to flooding. (A small town in Ontario experienced this problem in the fall) Drought can be triggered by deforestation, over farming, erosion (another one influenced by housing construction), etc. These phenomena occur at increased levels when the population increases.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
Oh ok true. Well then let it be known that both sayings are a bit too much for the sensitive commenters on the site. Both are inappropriate and unnecessary.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
Population growth is an environmental issue? To some very small degree, maybe, but I say a lazy 4 person family can cause more damage than a conscientious family of 12.
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 8 years
Population limits? Are you kidding? Where I'm from, people aren't having babies anymore. Government practically gives away money to encourage people to get have babies. Speaking of having too many babies, I think a lot of low class people with minimal education tend to have too many babies they can't even financially support. Instead of making a new law, they should focus on educating people.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
"boink trophies"? That's rather disrespectful don't you think? I also find it hurtful personally. These are children; living, breathing, human beings we're discussing. They're not something for display on the fireplace mantle or in the family "trophy room". Why do we have to resort to name calling so often? (that's directed at no one person in particular, as I know it comes from both sides and a multitude of people). I realize that there are some posters here who feel very strongly about global warming and environmental responsibility, and I won't take that away from them. But there are some posters who feel just as strongly about having a family and I think calling children "boink trophies" is stooping to a level that I thought we tried to avoid.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
"I don't think it is the government's place to stop people from pro creating, but I do agree with the sentiment that is environmentally iresponsible to have large numbers of offspring." I agree. And I do think there is a bit of ego to go and have 18 children. If you want to give that many kids a good home, adopt some!
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Exactly, cotedazur. From an environmental standpoint it's irresponsible. It has nothing to do with having enough money to take care of 3+ children and providing a loving home for them. And again, if you want a big family and can afford it, then adopt some children. I have no problem with big families if most are adopted.
cotedazur cotedazur 8 years
Wait... this guy is talking about overpopulation. What does having enough money to support your children have anything to do with it? It's an ecological question, not an economic one. For those that think there's no overpopulation problem in the US, have you ever flown in an airplane across the United States? There is practically no nature left. Every inch of the country is either houses or farms, and it's terrifying. That's why I think it's irresponsible to have more than 2 children. It has nothing to do with government support or welfare, it's about a physical limit to the number of human beings that the earth can support - a limit that we're rapidly approaching. I will agree that abortion should not be a planned or mandatory part of population control.
foxie foxie 8 years
"It's "irresponsible" to have more than two children? Why is that, if you can afford them?" I can afford to adopt about 15 more pets but I don't do that because I don't have enough time or energy to devote to 20 pets. One could easily argue that it's irresponsible to have more children than you can give time to in your day. Surely you wouldn't dispute the importance of one on one time between parents and their children? Besides, in this kind of economy it's certainly possible to be able to afford 5 kids today and only one kid tomorrow.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
Uggh...and I just went back and read some of the comments.... It's "irresponsible" to have more than two children? Why is that, if you can afford them? My grandparents have more money than I'm even aware of socked away. They had their own home, good paying jobs (both of them), and two vehicles when they had their third child. They have never been on public assistance, they not only paid for their children completely by themselves but have also been helping to support their seven nieces and nephews (my great uncle is physically and mentally disabled, thus couldn't take care of them himself), and are constantly doing things to help others. They donate time, money, tools, and various other things to multiple causes and shelters/centers. They sent their children to private school, and college. They are extremely environmentally conscious and have taught their children to be frugal, responsible, world-involved citizens. Explain to me, exactly, what is irresponsible about that?
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
Okay, the first thing that bothers me is the man says that contraception and ABORTION should be at the core of this. I cry bull$#!7! I'm pro-choice, but abortion should have NOTHING to do with this matter, what-so-ever! I do not believe in forced abortions, no-matter-what, and nobody has a right to tell a woman what to do with her body, certainly not some environmentalist. HOWEVER, if he had said birth control and ADOPTION, I would be much more willing to talk. I have an issue with people who pop out herds of children, not because of the environmental ramifications, but because the majority of these families can not truly afford all these kids. If you can afford to support the children you are having, go for it. If you can't afford the ones you already have, then why in the hell are you having another one? I do think we need to encourage people to stop spitting out more kids and instead encourage adoption. For example, I'm going to adopt at least two children, whether I can have my own or not (still up in the air). I think there are too many children out there who need a loving home and don't have it, and that bringing more kids with my DNA into this world when there are so many out there who need a home, is extremely irresponsible. Not just because of the waste of resources, but because it's completely unnecessary. I disagree with telling anyone whether or not they have the right to breed but I do agree we need to push people to be more responsible and look at adoption as a serious (and preferably MAJOR) option.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
TS, how is drought brought on by overpopulation? How are hurricanes caused by overpopulaton? (don't give me any of this bullhockey about global warming causing it - even Al Gore has backed off on that nonsense.) Not every single ill in the world is caused by overpopulation.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
TS, your IT'S JUST MATH bit doesn't make sense at all. If I have one child to replace myself with, my grandmother will probably pass away at about the time that child is born. If that child has a child in its mid to late twenties, my parent will probably pass away about the time my grandchild is born. If that child has a child to replace itself, I will probably pass away about the time that my grandchild's child is born. It's just math, but yes, it is true.
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 8 years
Ah, the theory of Idiocracy!
True-Song True-Song 8 years
YES. Yes. This. . There was a doctor who was quoted regarding the stupid, selfish, moron who just had the octuplets, and he said something like "It's not up to me to dictate the size of someone's family." Oh, REALLY? Then let twenty-somethings sterilize themselves if they want to! If Dumbass McGee gets to make the ridiculous choice to have 14 kids, then I get to make the responsible one to have zero.
foxie foxie 8 years
I agree with TS. Award those of us burdening the world the least. I also think sterilization should be more readily available to adults who have made the sound decision to not procreate. At 22, I'm NOT mature enough to decide that I don't want kids, but I AM mature enough to go ahead and have 10 of them if I so choose? Absurd.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
And our tax system currently is basically based around the government giving breaks to people who do "good" things and taxing those who do "bad" things. Hence, a tax break for driving a hybrid car, an extra tax on cigarettes. . So what I am saying is that if the government wants to discourage having children, put a tax consequence on it. You have to pay a birthing tax or something.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
What the hell? People without kids are those who least need tax breaks? Just because I don't have kids, you think I'm rolling in it? And just because you do have kids, you think you automatically are someone who needs a tax break the most? Everyone gets to write off their boink-trophies, regardless of need or income. Malarkey!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
drought, flood. So, what your saying is we should give tax breaks to the people who need it the least? That makes real sense.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
We could start by reversing tax breaks. Give them to people who don't have children.
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