The Selfishness Behind Environmentalists’ Call for Fewer Children

children environment

Selfishness is much more palatable when you can cast as concern, but strip away the faux outrage and it’s always there under the surface.

That is illustrated once again by the reaction to a recent study that argues the best way to fight climate change is by having fewer children.

More than recycling, using an electric car, eating a plant-based diet, or even not owning a car, according to this study, having one fewer child has a much larger reduction of CO2 production.

As someone with no knowledge of climate science, I don’t intend to argue with their research, though others more qualified certainly should. But this tweet from pro-choice activist Jill Filipovic clarified the actual stance of many.

On the surface, this concern seems to be about the planet. She selflessly wants to do what’s best for the planet, but that’s not actually what’s happening here.

The issue is about less humans so those of us already living have more resources. The value is not on the planet, it’s on preserving as much as possible for those of us privileged enough to be alive right now.

As someone who has written on environmental issues, Spence Spencer says, the central issue is not about population; it’s about consumption. Yet somehow the solution for those like Filipovic always ends up with, “If only we had less children …”

That’s not actually concern for the planet. That’s “Don’t be born, so I can have more.”

Also, there is the pressing question of exactly whom does Filipovic want to have less children.

In the U.S., a total fertility rate of 2.08 children per woman is considered replacement level, according to Pew Research.

Guess who is not at replacement level. United Kingdom (1.89), United States (1.87), China (1.6) Canada (1.6), Germany (1.44), Japan (1.41), South Korea (1.25) and most developed nations, according to the CIA.

The nations that are at or above replacement level are mostly African, Middle East and poorer nations in Asia and South America.

I’m not implying Filipovic is racist. Though I dare say being a pro-life evangelical I would not garner the same courtesy from her.

I am saying the argument that having fewer children is automatically good for the environment is conveniently made by those who are already consuming resources and ignores the positive impact future generations could make.

Who is to say the contributions future humans could make in sciences, including climate science? What if humans and our ingenuity and creativity are the greatest possibly resource we have.

Her solution is to avoid unleashing that potential because they might consume more of other resources than she is comfortable with?

It seems to be me that’s the worst thing you could do for the planet and those future generations you are depriving of life.


  1. Ellen

    Countries like the U.S. are headed for the same kind of problems as Japan. We depend upon younger people to support programs like Medicare, for instance, and we already have a problem with a system that will be out of resources, whether it is sooner or later. When we have even fewer young people, we then need even fewer old people. And what do we plan to do about that?

  2. Linda

    Odd that on one ever calls for less airplanes….ever!

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.