Forget about saving the environment for the sake of your children. It turns out that if you really care about the planet, you probably shouldn't have any children to begin with.
That's the thrust of the 2009 report from the U.N. Population Fund . . . The Fund has long believed that more people are a burden, not a boon, to human welfare. The idea is not new, and over the centuries has taken form in the view that too many people consume too many natural resources, or that more people necessarily means more poverty, or (much more sinisterly) that people prone to having many children are somehow the wrong kind of people.
Now the Fund has gone a step further, arguing that the scourge of reproduction is not just a question of raw numbers, but that humanity itself is destructive. "No human is genuinely 'carbon neutral,' especially when all greenhouse gases are figured into the equation," the report tells us in a section entitled "At the brink." "Therefore, everyone is part of the problem, so everyone must be part of the solution."
That sounds like a somewhat totalitarian formulation to us, even if the Fund goes out of its way to shed its image as a eugenics-advocacy group by swapping the term "population control" for "population dynamics." Indeed, the Fund—unusually for a U.N. organ—favors efficiency when it comes to culling our ranks, citing one finding that "dollar-for-dollar, investments in voluntary family planning and girls' education would also in the long run reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at least as much as the same investments in nuclear or wind energy." Even better, the report says other studies indicate that avoiding one billion new babies by 2050 would save as much energy as building two million one-megawatt wind turbines. The environmental argument extends equally to human welfare—the report notes that "the use of voluntary family planning directly decreases child mortality."
It's hard to argue with that logic: Eliminating life surely is the most expedient way to avoid the problems it brings. Of course this rationale ignores the possibility that one of those "prevented" lives might have been the one to cure cancer or HIV. Then again, why cure disease if human life itself is a cancer on the planet?