Be green! Use birth control!

With families like the Duggars and the Gosslins and raking in so many dollars for the TLC network, of course a new formula reality show about yet another huge family is being unveiled this fall. Quints By Surprise will follow a family of, you guessed it, quintuplets as they coo and cry times five.

It is no surprise that life imitates art. With this glorification of large families in popular culture it is no coincidence that regular families are being super-sized as well. Just this past month I have learned of two families welcoming four or more in early 2011. Some of this is due to irresponsible fertility medicine, but a closer look at most of these families shows the new multiples are not a couple's first baby.

Jon and Kate already had twins when they began fertility treatments (and got six babies) and Octomom already had six children before her giving birth to her latest batch of eight. And the Quints By Surprise? They have two older siblings as well.

What gives people the right to have all these kids?

Overpopulation is a problem. Even with the greenest initiatives, an American family will still use more gas, oil and agriculture resources than a family in any other nation. A family of eight in India, for example, uses less resources than of a western family of four. Couple that with the infant mortality rate in developing countries vs. the high chance that an American baby will grow to be a functioning adult and you see the problem. There are too many of us.

Zero Population Growth is an initiative to limit human reproduction to 2.11, the approximate replacement rate. That means nine out of ten families should have only two children with the exception being a third child. Not a nineteenth.

I'm not saying the government should get involved in policing family size, but how about eco-conscious manners? Why do the Duggars think creating 20 new households is fair to the planet and to the rest of society? Actually, it's pretty rude!

When each Duggar child grows up and establishes a home, that's eighteen more electric bills, eighteen more lawns that need watering, eighteen more Sunday papers being delivered, eighteen more gallons of milk per week and eighteen more groups of new siblings being born than would have taxed our resources than had Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar been responsible, earth-friendly people.

Birth control is the greenest product you can buy.

 

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  • ummmm, aren't you pregnant?

  • In reply to hooha:

    Well, "Hooha", yes I am. With my second child, not my 12th. Which is the point.

  • In reply to hooha:

    You know, I've never really given this topic much thought. I guess I'm doing my part by only wanting two? Sweet.

    The only thing I really have to add to this since I have next-to-no knowledge on the subject is that I'm pretty sure the Duggars use less resources than a normal American family of, I don't know, three? Seriously...they're pretty green, crunchy and resourceful. So they at least deserve props for that.

  • In reply to chibbz:

    They may use less resources than a comparable group of 20 people, but far greater than a family of four. We all need the same calories to live and survive - and they even eat meat! That's a whole post on its own (pound for pound, beef burns up resources 9 to 1 vs. vegetable-based food just getting on the table).

  • In reply to VelvetMinxx:

    Yes, I would agree with you that the meat factories we have in our country are terrible for the environment and eating less meat and more veggies is definitely the way to go. I was just trying to defend them *a little* because they catch so much bad press and they really are pretty cool people if you watch the show. I thought they were totally LOONY until I watched it a few times.

    I definitely agree with you that this is not a place for governmental control. I think, as Americans, we're on the right path these days toward becoming more environmentally conscious and aware of how our actions affect our planet. We have a LONG, LONG way to go, but at least we're all starting to take notice! :)

  • In reply to chibbz:

    I absolutely agree about no government control. There are a lot of non-legislative initiatives that change parental behavior, the "Back To Sleep" campaign is an example. I'm not saying people should be FORCED to have small families, I'm just suggesting that they limit their children to two or three. I'll probably have a third child myself!

    I don't think the Duggars are intentionally bad people, just extremely unaware. They think that by buying used clothes and recycling that they're "breaking even" with their impact. Not true :)

  • In reply to VelvetMinxx:

    How incredibly hypocritical of you. God forbid some says something slightly critical of a parenting decision you or one of your friends makes because you'll get all up on your high horse about not creating guilt in mothers and being respectful of other people's decisions. But, you'll bash other families that have made decisions that differ than the ones you've made regarding family size? How about being respectful of all mothers and the decisions they have made for their individual family.

  • In reply to Natbrat76:

    3, 4, 5 kids? Fine. But 10, 14 or 20? That doesn't seem selfish to you? I guess if you think that's too judgey of a thing to say then feel free to not read my blog anymore. Sad to lose you!

    I don't condone everything every mom does just for the sake of niceness. What about the lady who killed her five kids by driving them into a lake? BAD. MOM.

  • In reply to Natbrat76:

    This topic is a real head vs. heart thing for me.

    I hear you about large families consuming more than their "share" of the world's resources. But I also come from an Irish-Catholic background where big families are common -- and it is impossible for me to feel that this is somehow "wrong."

    My mom is 1 of 7. My aunt and uncle have 12 kids. I love being part of this big extended family. All of these many, many people have loved and supported me in ways that have been very formative. I am grateful for all of them.

    Plus, I already have 3 children myself -- which I guess puts me over the "limit."

    This is a complicated issue, that's all.

  • In reply to caitlingiles:

    I don't think there should be a "limit" per se, just something to think about and really, it's for the massive families like the ones I mentioned. A third child is hardly extreme!

  • In reply to caitlingiles:

    The comment about the Duggars, that assumes they all become homeowners! 18 kids doesn't necessarily equate to 18 more lawns to mow, etc.

    There are alot of people who, like myself, are indeed aware of consumption issues, but totally respect one's right to have, say, 20 kids if they so desire. Not that I would have that many myself- I think I'd lose my mind! heh heh (Just like I would totally respect one's desire to have only two or three kids, for the sake of the environment, even though I don't necessarily agree)

    Really, I simply think that putting an environmental aspect on your family size just overcomplicates things. ;)

  • In reply to caitlingiles:

    I thought about this blog post today lol, because of the Discovery Channel Hostage situation.

  • In reply to savannahm:

    You know what? Me too. Effing scary that that loon and I actually had some kind of common ground. NO!! I don't mean that. God, my children are everything to me and no child is a "curse" on the environment. I just wanted to shed a little breath on the idea of family size and pollution.

    I thought about this all day today, so weird with the timing. That guy literally hates humanity and that is a sad, sad thing.

    Ironically he did like squirrels - see we differ! lol, kidding.

  • In reply to savannahm:

    Read this article on iVillage today... reminded me of your blog post. lol.

    http://www.ivillage.com/did-duggars-push-discovery-channel-gunman-over-edge/6-a-275264?ftr=iv%3Afb%3Agunman%3Aduggars

  • In reply to Natbrat76:

    Wow. I don't quite know what to say here. I actually may be offended, but haven't made up my mind yet. I am pregnant with my fourth (and final) child. My husband and I put MUCH thought into this and there were several reasons we decided to have a large (by today's standards) family. I stay at home and while I may not be "green" for the sake of the environment per say, I am very frugal. I make my own cleaners, ect. But I will be the first to admit that I could be doing more...regardless of the number of children I have.

    I suppose my issue here is that I am not really sure who can say what one's family is "entitled" to when it comes to resources. A certain amount of water? Food? The implication that I am somehow helping aid in the destructionof the planet is, well, offensive. Besides, I would like to think that by raising my children to be self sufficient adults, I am contributing to society; certainly not taking from it.
    Plus, I think that "saving the environment" goes well beyond family size and more into teaching our children how to respect the environment. This is something that for so long, was forgotten. My kids kow they get in trouble if they throw trash outside and they know not to keep water running while they brush their teeth. We are starting a garden and teaching them about raising our own food for cost reasons and definately for health reasons. These are small things, but can have a great impact.
    I will also say I don't know where you are coming from on the meat thing. This is not to be argumentative, but really, I am clueless here. Obviously fruits andveggies are the way to go, but we do eat meat. I respect a vegetarians choice and in no way condemn it, but how does feeding my family meat make me less "green"?

  • In reply to oliren0812:

    The whole thing with meat basically is thus: if you have 100 acres of farmable land, you can use that to grow food for people *or* you can use that to grow grass for cows to feed people. The former yields more food for people, the latter yields 10% of that amount of food due to the resources "wasted" on the cow (the cow breathing, living, etc.) Following this example, you would get, say, enough food to feed a family for 10 days vs. enough beef to feed a family for 1 day.

    Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism

    Anyway, the idea that families would limit their sizes to two (four, with adults) is one suggestion from the Zero Population Growth camp. I myself may end up with three, but even four or five is "reasonable". My point was to these massive families that frankly, do use a lot of resources and make a bigger carbon footprint on the planet being that we live in a western nation.

    This is an issue that not a lot of people are aware of. I'm not saying you are a horrible person or even that the Duggars mean harm. But it is an issue that needs a little light shed.

    Peace.

  • In reply to Natbrat76:

    You have by far the most narcissistic blog I have ever come across. Perhaps that is what keeps people reading- they enjoy laughing at your expense. Bravo if that is your intention.

  • You're saying I'm stupid and your solution to the empty houses is to create more people? Hilarious. Perhaps it is YOU who has no concept of supply and demand on available resources or a population reaching its saturation point.

    Further reading on why rich countries reach over population at fewer people:

    http://www.npg.org/forum_series/ehrlich.htm

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