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Misanthropic greens call for “no kids”

In the environmental website Grist (“we’re making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse”), Lisa Hymas espouses her GINK Manifesto – Green Inclinations, No Kids:

I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all. Making the green choice too often feels like a sacrifice or a hassle or an expense. In this case, it feels like a luxurious indulgence that just so happens to cost a lot less for me and weigh a lot less on the carbon-bloated environment.

Hymas cheerfully sees children as bundles of carbon, whose impact grows exponentially:

If you consider not just the carbon impact of your own kids but of your kids' kids and so on, the numbers get even starker.  According to a 2009 study in Global Environmental Change that took into account the long-term impact of Americans' descendants, each child adds an estimated 9,441 metric tons of CO2 to a parent's carbon legacythat's about 5.7 times his or her direct lifetime emissions.

According to Hymas, the most pro-environment act is to forego children:

A person who cares about preserving a livable environment has lots of options for doing her bit, and you've heard all about them: live in an energy-efficient home in a walkable neighborhood; bike or walk or take public transit when possible; drive an efficient car if you drive one at all; fly less; go veg; buy organic and local; limit purchases of consumer goods; switch to CFLs or LEDs; slay your vampires; offset carbon emissions; vote for climate-concerned candidates, and hold them accountable for their campaign promises.

But even in aggregate, all of these moves don't come close to the impact of not bringing new human beingsparticularly new Americansinto the world. 

There are many good reasons why adults choose not have children. But the green arguments put forward by Hymas and others are deeply misanthropic. By their logic, humans are a blight on the planet, which would be better off if we stopped procreating altogether. Choosing the earth over kids is the opposite of a "humane" thing to do.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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