Saturday, 31 January 2009

A modest proposal

Aviation usually bears the brunt of environmental protests. But what about this? Can I suggest that if we followed Swift, we could solve the environmental impact of having too many children and the environmental impact of livestock production at one fell swoop. Without having to live on lentils and Cheatin' Chicken.

Actually I seem to remember Glenn Vowles (where's he got to?) arguing on here once upon a time that it was nonsense to suggest that having children could not be sustainable. But the chair of the Sustainable Development Commission thinks otherwise. Discuss.


SteveL said...

People always criticise china for its CO2 emissions, but its one-child-per-couple rule is probably one of the most aggressive attempts to limit population on the planet, and will at least reduce the impact of the growth in living standards of the chinese. Question is, do you need to be a totalitarian state to pull such a rule off, or just looking further ahead than the next election?

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Porritt is an Eton educated toff twit.

Come the bright day he goes against the wall ... Along with his kids if that helps the environment.

Old Holborn said...

Those who advocate killing (and he does, via abortion) to keep the planet "stable" should first start with themselves.

Nice to see him advising the Gummint and winning awards for it.

First, no meat, booze, fags. Now, no kids.

I can see where this is heading, can you?

Anonymous said...

SteveL; are you saying the Chinese one-child policy is a good thing? Perhaps you should have a look at the fate of first born girls. Many are drowned at birth or just left at an orphanage.

Limits to how many children couples can have is quite possibly the most illiberal and oppressive piece of thinking in recent times - even from a Labour politician. But because it is to "save the planet", it is seen as a "good thing".

I despair for this country, I really do.

PhilC said...

My sister's got one child and I've got three (and am stopping there) so between us we've got the right number.
All you need do is find a fellow lone-child family and 'adopt' them. It's like carbon tax credits; but for middle class people who don't know about contraception.
And on a serious point: it assumes children just consume and not produce and add to the value of society.

Glenn Vowles said...

Its not having children in itself that is unsustainable but the numbers involved and the resource consumption per person. I think the distribution of population is important too.

The chair of the SDC is clearly not advocating that no-one has any children at all in the article is he! That in itself would result in an unsustainable society!

If you look at Porritt's most recent blog post on population you will see a comment from me supporting it. If you look at my own blog posts on population you will see that I think its essential to have population as part of the sustainability equation and that I'm critical of the wider green movement for not discussing the issue more.

Kerry said...

Jonathan Porritt is not a Labour politician, and this isn't Labour policy - he's just raising an issue for debate. I don't think restricting how many children people have would be ethical or desirable - or even possible. Take for example a woman I know, who had two children with her first partner, and when that relationship broke down, one child with her current partner. She's exceeded her quota, but her partner hasn't... It's fine in China where marriage bneakdown is rarer, but here you'd have to have a 'one child per person' policy, so a woman could say have two children with the first husband (one each), and then one with any number of subsequent men so long as they didn't go off and father children anywhere else. But that's just random musing on my part - it's not a serious suggestion!

I think it's a useful issue to raise, in that it does focus attention on how we can live more sustainable lives - the issue is not so much about how many people there are, but how much of the planet's resources they consume.

Glenn Vowles said...

'Jonathan Porritt is an Eton educated toff twit.'(Bristol Blogger)

Talk about being blinded by prejudice and ideology. Talk about being personality rather than issue-focussed.

Use evidence and rational argument BB!!

westcoast2 said...

Didn't a debate about population raise itself in the late 60s?

Paul Ehrlich wrote a book "The Population Bomb" in 1968 with lots of predictions, much of this has been discredited.

John Holdren, Mr Obama's Science advisor, co-authored a number of articles with Paul Ehrlich on Sustainability and notably one in 1974 on population.

So J Porritt's ideas have been around a while.

Still the only thing that is becoming unsustainable is the AGW theory, so at least one of the 'green guru's' premises may be faulty.

Have they quoted him correctly? I thought Global warming was so last year that it is now Climate change.