Friday Ephemera
Two Items, Briefly

Earth Versus Babies

Readers will be relieved to hear that a green think tank, the Optimum Population Trust, has identified a solution to a new and pressing environmental menace, namely human reproduction. An OPT briefing paper, A Population-Based Climate Strategy, argues that couples having two children instead of three would reduce that family’s carbon dioxide output by the “equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.” The OPT regards population growth as a “failure of courage and leadership” and mulls, albeit hesitantly, on the need for “intervention by the state… in individual freedoms for the foreseeable future.” OPT co-chairman, Professor John Guillebaud, claims:

“The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. An extra child is the equivalent of a lot of flights across the planet… The decision to have children should be seen as a very big one and one that should take the environment into account… The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.”

It’s easy, of course, to dismiss Professor Guillebaud’s suggestions as a kind of whimsical fascism and not entirely convincing. But regular readers will note how the Professor’s moral calculus is more or less in keeping with that of fellow environmental crusader, Dr John Reid (mentioned here), whose plan to save the world from human beings entails putting “something in the water” – specifically, “a virus that would… make a substantial proportion of the population infertile.” And while the good doctor is happy to share his view of all human life as an extraneous infestation of an otherwise pristine Earth, he's also insistent that “affluent populations should be targeted first.” Cynics among us might wonder, with some justification, whether Dr Reid and Professor Guillebaud are motivated by an urge to save the planet or by a dislike of human beings.

Meanwhile, Carnal Reason ponders the prospect of “child offset opportunities” and suggests, dryly, that we might pursue this line of eco-logic to its obvious and challenging conclusion:

“We need to consider root causes here. Take the bull by the horn, as it were. If one less child is good, then two less is better, and no children at all is best. But there are obstacles. We will have a problem living the dream, a world devoid of humans, as long as screwing is more popular than dying. What we need is a radical change of thought and lifestyle. A new ethic, a new way of life. A new sexual revolution. You know what I’m talking about. Just think of it as Getting Gay for Gaia. It takes a real man to take one for the home world. You know what you have to do.”

Update: In related news (via Jawa), unhinged ‘conservationist’ Paul Watson describes humanity as a cancer. Vegan diets are good, we’re told, but “curing the biosphere of the human virus will require a radical and invasive approach.”