Column Felix: Children

Are children bad for the environment? That depends on the parents.

Over the last while, I have had some interesting discussions with my mates about how we would raise our children. What we would do with TikTok and so on. And alcohol and drugs. And playing outdoors, if that is still a thing. These discussions are fun, but an underlying related question is whether we even want children. I get the feeling people increasingly seem to be saying ‘no’. In the lefty, otherworldly circles I move in, I hear two arguments against having kids.

The first is that having children is pretty much the worst thing you can do for the climate. Before you know it, they will be buying strawberry-freeze-mango-explosion vapes from China on AliExpress. They might even splash out on a moped, or worse still, a fat bike. Or they will study in Wageningen and fly off to Indonesia or Curacao for an internship to supposedly save the world. All leading to an embarrassingly huge footprint, and who is responsible for that? Yes, you!

Before you know it, they will be buying strawberry-freeze-mango-explosion vapes from China on AliExpress

The second argument I hear is: ‘Surely you don’t want to bring children into this world? You can’t mean it. Bring a child into this planet that is doomed to extinction? That’s unthinkable. Out of the question.’ Fair point. Apparently, children born now are the first generation who will end up worse off than their parents since the ‘bad-luck generation’ who were sent to the front to be slaughtered during the Second World War. I too don’t see a particularly bright future ahead given that capitalism is continuing merrily at the expense of workers, nature and the environment.

But, but, but… I will now explain why I think these arguments are crap. Our reasoning should be the exact opposite. Do we really believe the Earth will benefit if everyone who is the tiniest bit concerned about the welfare of the planet suddenly decides not to have children? As if we would then persuade Wilders supporters and SUV-owning right-wing voters to not have children either. If we want the proportion of Trump and Orban fans to decrease, we need to renounce those condoms (the condom industry is incredibly polluting anyway). In my opinion, if you care about Mother Earth, you should be breeding like rabbits. Put the planet full, I would say. After all, it’s our kids who might be able to turn the tide. So my message is: blockade those roads; unlearn those colonial prejudices; ignore those haters — and have those babies.

Resource-student editor Felix Landsman (23) is a former master’s student of Environmental Sciences who is currently trying his luck in an open master’s programme focusing on environmental sociology, and is an aspiring adventurer. He is often looking for something.

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