I am glad they did.
Let's not draw false parallels.
It extrapolated from data about population growth, farmland capacity, etc, to reach the irrefutable conclusion that there is going to be mass starvation and famine in the 1970s. It led to calls for China-style population controls, to articles about whether it's ethical to have children, etc.
What happened instead is that population growth has slowed down quite a bit without government intervention, and that we've gotten a lot more efficient at growing food.
This does not prove anything when it comes to climate change, but is an interesting anecdote.
So: yes. Many times. In fact it would be accurate to say that a portion of the population has believed this, now for hundreds of years.
The neomalthusian ideas didn't you should have no kids, but rather that you should not have a lot of kids.
Raising children who are moral/ upright, and positively add to the economy adds to the world by an exponential factor.
Would advise that only if government guarantees no
Summary of the story: Government knowingly passed retarded children - who destroyed several marriages and familys- simply because that sort of damage is not fixable with love and understanding. You can only tolerate it and adapt your lifestyle to the new member of the family.
It is the successful people who harm the environment the most.
I still don’t believe that we should stop having kids, but let’s not pretend that OUR kids won’t harm the environment.
The lifestyle the US society pushes on you and your children pushes you to have much higher CO2 emissions than really useful (airplanes to go everywhere, higher salaries and higher consumption, ...).
Hans Rosling actually talked about this, that a way of stopping over population is by investing more in education in poorer areas.
Children given education, good home lives, and goals are more likely to succeed than those without access to those opportunities. It isn't fair, but that doesn't mean we can't look for other ways to improve outcomes across the board.
The concept that "my kids" are better than other people kids because they are like me is extremely silly on many levels. They might not share your ideals and even if they do, it promotes a single line of thinking.
- That happens to every country
- One in three top US professors educated overseas https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/one-in-three-top-u...
- Most of their classmates will be foreign students too https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/10/11/foreign...
Both your sources are for the US only. How did you get to 'every country'?
...yet what is the best thing for the kids? That's a harder thing to know - you can't really compare "not existing" with "living in a world that has a ton of issues". You can debate how bad the issues will be, but that really dodges the inability to make that comparison.
LOL! I certainly can 'compare "not existing" with "living in a world that has a ton of issues"'.
In the "don't exist" case, there is no possibility of anything good happening.
In the "exist" case, there is a possibility of something good happening.
Easy choice, and that's entirely outside my belief that the human race should continue, thrive, and expand across the stars. Climate change is likely not as severe as the alarmists portray, and is very likely to be solved by market forces. The future is bright!
If existing is flat out always better than not - and I want to note this is NOT about suicide (ending existence) but about creating the existence in the first place) - then you're saying the moral thing is to have as many children as possible. For everyone.
Taken to a hyperbolic extreme, this is clearly ridiculous. But this isn't a strawman argument - the point is not to say "I'm right", but to find what we're really valuing. If we can all agree that drowning the world in babies that live short lives of misery is laughably ridiculous, then where is the serious argument? Finding a happy medium where we should have as many people as we can sustainably?
Is creating distinct human existences REALLY something of inherent value? Are those of us choosing to be childless for whatever reason immoral?
I, as an independent conscious entity, don't get a benefit from "coming ahead at the game of life".
If someone has a child that they love and cherish, that's great. I'd rather them have a child for that reason over having one because it represents the statistical viability of their collective genetic sequences.
I don't think the examined life is something to mock and put down...nor must it result in self-sterilization.
You can't reason about ethics from the standpoint that whatever you are doing right now is known to be ethical. If you did that, you'd just be constructing post-facto justifications for decisions you already made. There are plenty of things I should be doing from a utilitarian standpoint that I don't do (I'm not saving the maximum number of African children, for example).
An excellent point...but we DO reason about ethics. We can draw parallels from our decisions in other areas to see if we are being consistent. Even if we can't achieve objectivity we can try for it and thus get closer.
And from this I find I feel bad about the good to other living creatures I COULD be doing and am not....but that I don't feel sorrow for the lack of of sorrow and joy from creatures that are merely potential.
Perhaps you feel differently. Others certainly do. I just want to point out that it's something worthy of thinking about rather than tossing out a facile "existence is always better".
If we take this seriously we don't even deserve to exist as a species.
You die out Alexandria, let your bloodline end. I for one want to my genome to explore the galaxy, to have it help preserve earth in the future. To boldly go where no (wo)man has gone before! And if you only point at my right to procreate I will defend it with everything I have!
How cynical do you have to be to only see humans as sources of CO2? And to completely neglect their potential. Honestly, if this piece is for real (and I'm not lacking any context) then I think this woman is dangerous.
In the end, it's all an arbitrary sort of stew.
Many scientists warn that we are probably in one of the great extinction events. It's happened before, and past success is no guarantee of future success. I might add that our ancestors didn't have an abundance of nukes either.
I know a lot of what the Earth has seen. Huge glaciers, global hypoxia, mass extinctions, cataclysmic events...
your response ignores fact that there never has been 4.5 billion Homo sapiens sapiens living all at once before. What a coincidence that I should be here to see it!
Also, almost nobody believes it would be better to not exist than to exist in challenging circumstances. That's why cancer patients fight through incredibly painful chemotherapy to get a few extra years of life. If you were offered a painless, consequence free death, would you take up that offer to avoid facing the upcoming uncertainties of climate change? Almost nobody would. Why do you think your potential kids would feel differently?
To me, the clear choice is #2. If the moral question is whether human life is worth it to continue in the future, it's obviously worth it.
If the moral question is whether our own domination of the planet harms too many wildlife animals, and is therefore immoral, that feels like a more reasonable tradeoff. However it feels odd to me to that the same people advocating stopping having children continue to eat meat.
I will advocate for continued human growth regardless. I feel like there are few "long, slow" problems we cannot overcome.
There are plenty of people who are vegetarian who feel this way too. It isn't just meat eaters. Having a child is far more impactful than eating meat or driving electric cars.
Most of the West has had sub-replacement-level fertility for several decades, so we already have fewer children.
We have already killed over 80% of all wild mammals and half of all plants on this planet. And brought hundreds of species to extinction (that we know of .. and an unknown number of those we don't know of).
I don't think you can just separate out climate change from everything else that's going on in the world—and even if you could, the result would be meaningless.
So the poster above is noting that if people were, or we would have, been okay with having kids in the past, then we still should today.
"Is it still OK _for the planet_ to have kids...", not "Is it still OK _for the kids_ to have kids..."
EDIT: actually, I'm not sure which one of those the representative was getting at.
That's a strange question. The planet doesn't have feelings, so it doesn't really care whether or not we have kids.
Other living organisms on the planet may care. But the rock we're on surely doesn't.
This is exactly why it misses the point. Having kids is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, and therefore climate change.
50 years ago was the golden age to be born in the West imo.
I disagree. The western world was more violent, racist, and less tolerant of women/minorities 50 years ago. Average life expectancy was also ~10 years lower. None of these are 'perfect' today, but they are much better overall than they were during your 'golden age'.
Zero Population was politically evangelized much like climate change for nearly a decade before the fears were proven to be unfounded and mass starvation just wasn't happening as predicted.
I'm not saying in any way climate change isn't real, but I am saying let's not jump to hasty conclusions. Raising kids is one of the greatest joys life offers, so we better be DARN sure that we aren't making a "premature optimization" here.
Raising kids and teaching them well is one of the best hopes humanity has.
If you're choosing to have kids, it still seems more ecologically responsible to have two or fewer. If two adults have up to two children, that's an overall reduction in population (because not all children reproduce or reach reproductive age).
Fortunately this is already happening which is why several Western countries populations are shrinking often being propped up by immigration.
 PDF Warning: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizat...
Ha, well the current estimate is that things should be roughly OK for about another billion years, give or take.
It is interesting to reflect that the run of life on Earth is 3/4 (or so) done, though...
> What will it matter to if we all voluntarily go extinct and add another millennia or two or three to the Earth? It will either overheat in a global warming or face eternal freezing when the sun burns out. Why not enjoy the ride while it lasts and allow others to as well.
We'll be in other star systems long before the Earth is uninhabitable...
Not arguing, just offering a counterpoint.
> As more children survive to adulthood, women are having fewer kids than ever before. The result is a global population that’s creeping slowly toward middle age.
So people are _already_ having fewer children. Assuming we want to maintain the human species, _someone_ needs to be having children. For diversity everyone should be having _some_ amount of children.
Then of course, it depends on your climate change mindset.
If you think humanity is doomed and there's no way out of this: Don't have children because you think they'll die suffer through the apocalypse.
If you think humanity needs to continue and we will solve this problem: have children because we can avoid the apocalypse.
If you're unsure? Have children. Someone's bound to survive the apocalypse. Maybe it'll be your genetic material.
Personally I think we'll make it through. Life will be different, but we've got a better chance of surviving than humanity has ever had in the past. I think it's more likely that we'll get wiped out by a cosmic event that we don't even see coming.
... I don't really understand why I would care if my "genetic material" survives a future apocalypse vs some other rando's "genetic material?" or anyone's "genetic material" for that matter.
This is an especially bizarre reason for having children.
This is basically why every species on the planet (with sexual reproduction) has children, whether you're aware of it or not. It's the instinctual drive to propagate. It's why sex feels good (for at least one party involved, for most species).
In politics donations (money) is e v e r y t h i n g and if your policies divert from typical donor interests then you have say things like this to expand and activate your donor base. This kind of signaling occurs across the political spectrum.
Which doesn't justify her doing it, and thus should be shamed because of it.
In retrospect it seems more silly (to me, anyway) to suggest that they shouldn't have had children because the children and their descendants would have had a hard time living through the collapse and ensuing "Dark Ages."
Their very distant descendants would have gone on to live through the most prosperous period in human history, which certainly wasn't foreseeable to the people living through the bad times.
Before anyone says that it's not comparable because the Roman Empire was just a small part of the world, and that we're destroying the whole world through climate change, I would suggest that for people living in Rome back then, Rome would have felt like the whole world and the vast majority of people were unlikely to uproot and move more than a few tens of miles, nevertheless, the population of Rome declined by, what, 99%?
In addition, most of the worst case scenarios for climate change seem to indicate the displacement of a few billion people at most, which would be terrible, to be sure. But the mere migration of a few billion people will probably be insignificant on the timescale of a thousand years.
More permanent destructive changes to the environment could cause massive human death, but I personally haven't seen predictions on the order of 99% of people dying (or anything remotely near that) and it seems like there's a pretty good chance that a new equilibrium would be reached at some point and the population of the Earth would surge again. Even the worst predictions seem like they could end up being inconsequential on long enough timescales.
And this doesn't even address the whole Idiocracy situation where arguably the best way to combat a dire future could be to raise kind, compassionate, conscientious children that will go on to steward the world onto a better path.
Needless to say at this point, I'm not convinced that it's remotely unethical to bring children into a difficult world. That's been the state of the world for basically all of human history.
1. The world will become a place of suffering. The assumption here is either that childhood is a terrible experience, or that suicide is immoral. Your children can decide for themselves if they don't think it's worth being alive in the future
2. Overpopulation is the cause of this doomsday. In that case, we're asserting that having children today means less children will be born in the future. This implies we need to reduce birthrates to more efficiently invest the planet. Unfortunately this line of thought can quickly devolve into eugenics. There are better ways to stabilize population. Relevant: Does saving kids’ lives lead to overpopulation? https://www.gatesnotes.com/2018-Annual-Letter?WT.mc_id=02_13...
island mamnal populations can take wild periodic swings of explosion and collapse. not necessarily the ideal way of going about it.
in any case we shouldn't confusebindividual fitness with group level fitness
You might want to think hard about how many kids you want to have, though. We know that we need slightly more than 2 kids per couple to keep current population levels.
I think the best approach to answering this question has to do with how many children your siblings and friends have. If everyone you know is childless; have a large family, guilt-free. If everyone has large families, consider having only child. If everyone you know has 2.5 kids, then consider limiting yourself to 1-3 kids.
By the way, having children is awesome. If you really feel guilty about overpopulation, but want kids, please consider limiting yourself to one, or adoption. Raising children is such a wonderful experience that you shouldn't let something like climate change get in the way. Put the extra money towards building a net neutral home and driving an electric car.
FWIW I have two. My wife and I wanted kids. We also did not want to contribute to the population explosion. YMMV.
The point is to slow down the population growth, by not having kids, and improve a bit the predicted future for those who do end up having kids.
Also, there may be a scientific consensus about climate change, but that does not carry into economic predictions of collapse. Economic predictions are not the same thing as physical ones.
It's always been the case that the kids are responsible for what they do when it's their turn. Regardless of how hopeless it looked.
The text of the article says the actual quote is "And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?". Which is sympathizing with an audience rather than contemplating decrees. But then it's written up as a strongly polarizing narrative, entirely tangential to the context of the original quote!
I'm not trying to defend Ocasio-Cortez here - in fact, I actually dislike her... but I'm willing to admit that my current opinion has been "informed" entirely by these baseless bullshit headlines! I am obviously not wed to this opinion, and I will have to do my own research some time - the point is that many won't.
It might be interesting if HN completely changed its policy on titles. What if rather than trying to be true to the "original" title (ie optimized to enrage), the goal was to make a passive description of the subject under discussion. Perhaps even one longer-lasting thread per topic. We sit here talking about the sorry state of online discourse, yet even here the clickbaiters get the substance of their bait directly embedded on the front page - and every time it's clicked-through, it validates the strategy.
Our planet is just one of many... Technology is advancing at an incredible rate. Who knows where we will be in 50 years.
Results in the last thirty years don't really back that up.
Considering the primary purpose of life is to reproduce and continue existing I'd suggest that even in a world of guaranteed suffering that it is our obligation to continue our existence.
Save it for what?
Only some countries should stop reproducing?
Who should stop reproducing?
Do we follow the Kyoto protocol and set a date back in time as the target goal? What can we afford, the year 2000, 1980, 1887?
This sound like it would be the perfect type of issue that could be addressed via a 5 year plan.