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Children are expensive – not just for parents, but the environment − so how many is too many?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Recent discussions in environmental and procreative ethics explore the moral implications of having children in an era of global ecological crises
• The debate focuses on the carbon footprint and environmental impact of adding new individuals to the planet, considering the current trajectory towards a sixth mass extinction event and the degradation of natural habitats

🔭 The context: The decision to procreate is traditionally seen as a private choice, yet it has public consequences, affecting not just the parents and the child but also future generations and the planet
• Environmental ethicists and statisticians are delving into the "carbon legacy" of procreation, calculating the significant reduction in CO2 emissions that would result from choosing to have fewer children

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The environmental impact of having a child significantly outweighs many other personal actions aimed at reducing one's carbon footprint, such as driving fuel-efficient vehicles or recycling
• For instance, having one fewer child can save 58.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, a stark contrast to the 2.4 metric tons saved by living without a vehicle

⏭️ What's next: The discussion encourages a balance between reproductive freedom and environmental responsibility
• Proposals range from limiting the number of biological children to exploring adoption as an alternative way of experiencing parenthood without exacerbating environmental degradation.

💬 One quote: "For most people today, having their own biological children is not essential to health or survival. Yet it is also far more important to most people and their broader life plans than a frivolous joyride." - The article presents a nuanced view on the importance of procreation in people's lives versus its environmental impact.

📈 One stat: "Having one fewer child saves 58.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, according to one literature review." This statistic highlights the substantial environmental impact of procreation decisions.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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