As the climate change summit opens in Copenhagen, the UN Population Fund’s recent message is still ringing in my ears: more babies will undermine attempts to stop global warming.
This nonsense from the UN is not new: we have heard for some time now that the most climatologically (ergo morally) responsible thing you can do is have fewer children or none at all. I have read countless columns, articles, and comments on blogs and websites blasting large families for increasing their “carbon footprint” and jeopardizing the future of the planet.
My husband I are the proud parents of seven children. This makes us an anomaly in post-modern western culture, where the birth rate has fallen below replacement level. What makes our family slightly more extraordinary is that they are all girls. I am rather proud of this fact, though technically, I’m not sure I had much to do with it.
My girls are lovely, intelligent and talented (but they would possess inherent human dignity even if they were not). They are musically and artistically gifted: I cannot say at this point (the eldest being only twenty-one) whether there is a future composer, performer, filmmaker, or artist in the bunch, but you never know. They perform well academically: could there be a potential teacher, professor, research scientist, doctor amongst them? My daughters are also loving and protective toward one another (sibling squabbles are relatively few) and compassionate towards the downtrodden. They have practical skills: they know how to cook, clean, and change a flat tire. They don’t complain (any more than is normal) about doing household chores: everyone pitches in according to age and ability. They volunteer in the wider community where they have a reputation for being polite, respectful, and hard-working.
I could be accused of bias for saying all of this, but I have heard it from so many people (most of whom are no blood relation) that I must conclude it is true. In short, my girls are contributing to society and making the world a better place. And we know how desperately this world needs to be made better. It has far less to do with recycling plastic soda bottles than with respecting human life and the dignity of the person. Less panic that “the sky is falling”; more joy, faith, hope and love—that is the sort of “climate change” I can believe in.
My daughters are not unique: many children are just as beautiful and talented. All children possess the seeds of potential to be and do great things for humanity. Yes, humanity, not just the environment. I believe in responsible stewardship of the earth, not fanatical earth-worship that demands human sacrifice. It is rather ironic that eco-crusaders dream of a pristine, natural utopia for the earth—to what end? So that a decaying, corrupted civilization such as ours can die a tortuous death surrounded by fluffy bunnies and soft green grass?
Mariette Ulrich is a freelance writer who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. She also blogs at www.dumboldhousewives.blogspot.com