|Image courtesy EnvironmentBlog/Flickr.|
The earth is populated by over 7 billion people and growing. Those 7 billion people need adequate food and clean water, a home, and economic opportunity. Approximately 1 billion of them don’t currently have adequate food or clean water. The great majority of people around the globe would like nothing more than to have what the average American has, even though the evidence suggests that our planet’s resources are insufficient for everyone to obtain such a standard of living and the resulting environmental devastation might well be catastrophic.
Despite these sobering statistics, wealthy countries are bemoaning their declining birthrates, including the United States (see this recent Newsweek article). Apparently, many “selfish,” “childless” couples are impacting the future solvency of our country because there won’t be enough young people to care for the aging population.
It’s worth deconstructing this concept of selfishness versus selflessness. There is nothing selfless about choosing to have biological children. In fact, in an overpopulated world like ours, it’s rather selfish to create more people, especially when there are so many children who need homes.
I know. I was one of those people who decided to have a biological child, knowing there were plenty of orphans in need.
My desire to create another human being with my husband and participate in the grand unfolding of the lifecycle so eclipsed my values that even though I think it’s better to adopt, I chose to get pregnant. There was nothing selfless about it. Yet it’s the couples who choose not to have children who are routinely judged as selfish. They’re also asked regularly why they don’t want children, as if there is something wrong with them. Meanwhile, couples who reproduce are rarely, if ever, asked why they want kids.
There are people all over the planet desperate to emigrate to the many Western countries that have experienced declining birthrates. Instead of encouraging citizens in countries such as ours to have more children (and providing monetary incentives to do so), why not encourage more immigration of young people and the adoption of orphans?
There are ways to solve the challenge of an aging population that don’t include increasing the number of people in an overpopulated world. We need to meet the problem of an aging populace creatively and wisely, not by adding to an existing and growing overpopulation problem.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm; Above All, Be Kind; and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach“
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxYouth@CEHS “How to Be a Solutionary”
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Filed under: MOGO (Most Good) | Tagged: adoption, childfree, children, environmental protection, immigration, Most Good Least Harm, overpopulation, population, selfishness, social justice, systemic change, values | 1 Comment »