Children, Global Warming, and Signs of Contradiction

life, miracle, wanted

We Americans are having a bad effect on Canada. Just the other day (January 13), Kristen Pyszczyk of CBC suggested quite nicely that perhaps it would be best if people were rude to couples who, like Chip and Joanna Gaines, have more than two children. “Shame is a powerful tool for changing behaviour: it’s how we introduce new and existing social conventions. It’s unfortunate that Chip and Joanna bore the brunt of changing attitudes, but let’s learn from the reaction and examine our own actions.” And so a Canadian feminist talks herself into endorsing impolite behavior because it’s For the Greater Good.

Children and Carbon Emissions

Why must parents of more than two children be shamed and bullied out of reproducing? Well, because population growth is driving climate change, the argument runs. The Global North has a very large carbon footprint and having more kids will simply make it larger. “It’s not OK to have five kids without once considering adoption,” admonishes Pyszczyk. “There are so many children in North America and beyond in need of loving homes, yet adoption rates in many areas are lagging.” It apparently doesn’t occur to her that so many children might be waiting because the far more numerous couples with 0 – 2 kids aren’t beating down the orphanages’ doors either.

But population growth per se isn’t what’s driving global warming. Rather, the culprit is energy consumption reflected in carbon emissions. Industry and commerce consume far more energy than do families. The second-most populated country on the planet, India, produced a mere 1.73 metric tons per capita of carbon in 2014 while Qatar, ranked 147th, emitted an astonishing 45.42 tons per person. What’s the difference? In 2014, Qatar’s economy produced roughly $93,965.20 per person, while India’s produced a mere $1,627.00. The U.S., with the fourth-largest population, produced 16.49 metric tons per person while generating a per capita GDP of about $54,596.70.

Moreover, the correlation between carbon production and population growth is modestly negative. Why? Because wealthier nations tend to have lower natural population increase rates. Countries like Malawi, Afghanistan, and Haiti had the highest natural population increase rates but some of the lowest per-capita GDPs and average wages in 2014; they also produced far less than a ton per person of CO2. By contrast, many First World economies are already at or even below zero growth. Many of them have already instituted wide-ranging “green” measures and are reducing their outputs. Nevertheless, the correlation between national wealth and carbon production is far stronger than between carbon production and population or population growth.

Three Rebuttals

The first point, then, is that the U.S. and Canada are already very close to zero natural increase rates, so it isn’t necessary to hound the multi-child parents into contracepting and adopting. In fact, people who are already at the arbitrary limit of two kids can adopt as well. Why not bug them? This isn’t a tu quoque; rather, it’s a call for the well-meaning nosy jerks with 0 – 2 kids to “walk the talk” before they criticize couples for reproducing instead of adopting.

Besides, some multi-child couples do in fact adopt and take in foster children out of the same generosity that prompted them to have so many children.

The second point: Arguing that more children will consume more resources overlooks a significant flaw — birth control does nothing, nothing, about all the people alive who are (presumably) generating so many metric tons of CO2 now. “Population control is a fraught topic, and carries with it associations with eugenics and other nasty historical events,” Pyszczyk admits. But the only point of putting a gun on the table in Act One, to paraphrase Anton Chekhov, is for it to go off in Act Three. Birth control, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia have already been put on the table; state compulsion is simply waiting in the wings.

Once you’ve concluded, in good utilitarian fashion, that the Greater Good justifies dismissing taboos, you’ve crossed the only bright line separating you from condoning greater evils that you have to breach.

The third point is that we are addicted to the lifestyles and benefits that our energy-intensive technology and economy have brought us — so much so that we refuse to acknowledge the drastic sacrifices we’d have to make to avoid the predicted disaster, changes that would likely deflate the economy and impoverish us. We are not only wealthy but greedy, self-indulgent, wasteful, and arrogant, foolishly secure in the belief that whatever problems arise, Technology will eliminate. And so we pin our hopes on “green” technology, in the hope that we can continue to wastefully indulge ourselves (but more energy-efficiently).

Perhaps by doing so, we can stave off the wrack long enough to build the Giant Space Ark, leave this dump and go spoil another planet. In the meantime, it’s so much easier to bully people into having only one or two kids … if they must have kids at all.

Signs of Contradiction

Berating multi-child parents is not only wrong-headed bullying, it’s futile. Shaming only works on people who have done things of which they know they should be ashamed. Granted that my sample size is small and religiously biased, I still say I know of few (if any) such parents who can be shamed out of their behavior. On the contrary: they’ll either cheerfully deflate you with a witty riposte or rip you a new fundamental orifice for your asinine rudeness.

After all, multi-child parents are not insecure teenagers or college students looking for acceptance by the “in crowd.” They’re mature, (mostly) well-adjusted adults who made their choices knowing they were transgressing social boundaries. More than that, they’re signs of contradiction (cf. Luke 2:34): by sacrificing so much to raise more than the usual number, their lives are testimony against those truly selfish souls who will neither procreate nor adopt because they consider children a burden and an enslavement. They are the nonviolent social revolutionaries Pyszczyk and her ilk only wish they were.

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29 thoughts on “Children, Global Warming, and Signs of Contradiction”

  1. Probably be best to leave out the climate change arguments altogether. Despite what one hears, there is no successful modeling of climate science that is confirmed by the standard two deviations statistically for certainty. In fact there appears a closer correlation with solar activity though that is not certain either. One thing is certain, as the article implies, a lot moral carbon is put into the air than by human activity. The volcano Mt. Pinatubo, put as much CO2 into the atmosphere in nine days as all the man made generated CO2 in a year. While the jury is still out on all the causes and effects, it seems quite clear that humanity is far from the precipice of doom.

    1. Sadly, comments like yours are one reason young, educated Americans are leaving Christianity in droves. You must look farther than Fox news, and “peer” review science that come from disreputed sources (many from India where you can pay to get published in one of their shoddy “science” reviews.) Instead of ludicrous denial, conservatives could take ownership of climate change and other environmental problems and come up with their own solutions, instead of crying “conspiracy” when liberals try to address this problem.

    2. Although I’m sure you are well meaning, you and many like you, typify the surprise that there are other opinions and reasons, quite logical and founded, for them. To grossly simplify but effectively illustrate; if carbon is the problem, simply plant a few billion fast growing trees and carbon problem solved. Time to move to the next impending disaster.

    3. Pueblo, I know many good, intelligent people who believe as you do. There is a lot out there on the Internet, and that’s why many people feel that it’s a matter of opinion, rather than physics. But the science is unequivocal. I hope you and many American Catholics will bother to sift through the information with a critical eye. Because it’s important to the future of our faith. If we are on the wrong side in the truth of science, how will our children trust us to be on the right side of truth in matters of faith?

    4. Amen.

      Some people live in a bubble. Or are more interested in being cultural warriors than following the Gospel. This is especially true in the era of the internet, where nothing is filtered, one can avoid reading things one doesn’t want to read, and one can find hundreds of people around the globe to confirm one’s preconceived notions. As our former president put it, an explanation from a Nobel Prize winning scientist as to global warming looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as a denial of climate change by someone on the Koch brothers payroll.

    5. You’re claiming that someone who doesn’t believe the global warming nonsense, isn’t a true Christian?

      That’s not your call to make, B. Christianity has never had a science litmus test.

      You’re a typical progressive, you don’t have ideas, just stances.

    6. AB-No, this so-called “science” is NOT unequivocal. Even if it was, there is no way power folks should get to rule us and deny our basic freedoms because of this theory. Turths of science are fleeting and are not the same as the truths of faith.

      We know that the truths of faith are timeless, always true, and unchangeable. Not so for so-called “scientific” truth. Fraudulent “science” abounds worldwide today. And good scientists who are not politically correct are not only called “climate heretics,” they are denied funding and destroyed professionally. And many “climate” scientists have morphed from servants of power to soldiers of power.

      Guy McClung, Texas

      See my articles:

      For example:

      “Science Is Not Infallible

      What about all that science has gotten wrong? The scientistic scientist tells us Trinity, Incarnation, the very existence of God, and even human love cannot be proven to exist; and that religion has gotten so many things wrong (the sun rises, e.g.), and science has gotten so many things right, that science is to be preferred. Again science is to be preferred because science is science. Since religious belief cannot be proven, it is to be rejected for another belief, scientistic belief. The scientistic scientist says “I like science because it is science. Science is science. And Religion is not.”

      Science’s errors and mistakes? There are now-rejected scientific theories in most branches of science, including, inter alia, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Cosmology, Climate Study, Geography, Geology, Psychology, and Medicine. For example, these once-accepted-as-true scientific theories are now rejected: Spontaneous Generation theory; Lamarckist Evolution; Phlogiston theory; Caloric Theory; Luminiferous Ether theory; the Ptolemaic System; Heliocentricism; Flat Earth theory; Hollow Earth theory; Geosyncline Theory; Four Humors Theory ; and Phrenology.

      Instead of recounting all the sins and sinners of science, here it is appropriate to note that today an incredibly large amount of reported “scientific” research results are simply fraudulent. Richard Horton, an Editor-In-Chief of the journal Lancet has written:

      . . .
      Therefore, it is no wonder that powerists co-opt religious-type beliefs (based on non-materialist ideas such as care for future descendants and fear of the end times) and use scientific dogmas in creating their own government “religions” that seem to espouse belief in something beyond this life, something that cannot be scientifically proven. Good examples of this are the so-called “population bomb” that never exploded, “peak oil” that never peaked, and “global warming” that, at least for now should be presented as “?global?warming?” and accompanied by all the opinions of all respectable scientists on the subject, pro and con, and the data from all their work.

      Global Crisis, Global Alarming
      It is no accident that the powerists revel in any “science” that can be alleged to affect the whole world – that allegation is the basis for worldwide power. That is the appeal to the powerists of population “bombs,” fossil fuel shortages, and “global” warming. Like revivalist preachers, powerists rant that everyone on the earth is affected and, if the powerists’ power is not increased, the individual’s liberty diminished, the world as we know it will end.
      Certain expressions of “global warming” and “climate change” are the new doomsday dogmas of the powerists, the dogmatic basis of warmist religion; and the climate scientists who abet the powerists are this generation’s scientistic soldiers.

      And the Religion Of Science is no different in dealing with “climate heretics,” except for the new tortures of cutting off research funds and “investigating” the heretics using all the tools of modern technology. Such investigations are done at the highest levels of the state in America:

      Dennis Clayson has realized there is a new warmist inquisition at work in science:

      The literature is replete with examples of inquisitional tactics used against any scientist who would challenge the AGW magisterium – the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

      For other examples of current science-based inquisition, check out the treatment of vaccination heretics, fetal-pain heretics, GMO food heretics, natural medicine heretics, sex-gender heretics, same-sex “marriage” denigrating heretics, and abortion-cancer- connection (“ABC”) heretics .

    7. Organic coffee, prepared and consumed correctly, is a health food.Still, I must limit to 3 cups a day!

    8. Is organic coffee any better than the store brand? Caffeine is still caffeine, isn’t it?

      When I was younger I could drink cup after cup and still sleep. Now, I get jumpy after my second. Unfortunately decaf tastes chalky and is unsatisfying.

    9. OK-Anthony Layne, forgive me, not exactly on point: short sermon re coffee as healthy health food: Begin with good organic fresh coffee beans; grind only enough beans for the coffee you are going to drink right now; use filtered water filtered to get rid of all the crud, incld chlorine and flourides (you can get such a filter online); make the coffee and drink it soon after you make it.

  2. Mr Layne,
    Thank you for a good articulation of the issues. However, although I understand that some environmentalists point to overpopulation when the main problem is overconsumption and lack of social justice, it doesn’t mean population is irrelevant or that the environmentalists of the 60s were wrong. Because we live on a finite planet. Through technology we have been able to increase population and prosperity, but it is wrong to assume that this model can continue indefinitely. It isn’t just carbon emissions and climate change. We are facing severe environmental constraints on so many fronts : reduction in biodiversity and modern mass extinction, pollution, depletion of natural resources and pesticide poisoning that is harming not just the birds and the bees. I love the Catholic teaching on human sexuality and I agree with it. The ethos behind it is that love and life should always be intertwined. But we can’t accept even a 1%growth rate for long. At 1%growth, in 700 years there would be only 1 Sq meter for every perdon on the planet! That’s why, to be fair, we ought to consider that at this juncture in history, it would be prudent to encourage smaller family sizes, without necessarily passing judgment on large families.

    1. Annette,What you suggest in your last sentence is, in the real day to day world of families at school and supermarket and at parks, impossible. I know of gazillions of times me, my wife, and many many others were and have been publicly castigated for daring to appear anywhere in public with more than 1.2 children. {I either smiled or said “yes, we went for BOTH quality and quantity”] . God, not us, plans each and every parenthood. I refuse to leave to the folks in charge now – who have done such a good job with social security, health care, storm preparedness, crime reduction in the large cities, winning the now decades long so-called “war” on poverty- and, my pet peeve: taken our tax money to fix the potholes in roads and highways all over America – I refuse to cede to these same folks in power or any more of my personal liberty so that they can attempt to “solve” the problems of “climate change” at conferences which they fly to in their private jets – “climate change” now morphed by the liberals into “global warming.” When the “liberals” you mention address many problems, their solution is to give tax money from the 50% who pay taxes to the 50% who pay no income tax. They care not a whit for addressing carbon emissions; they care about votes. Guy McClung, Texas

    2. God bless you and your large family! I wish that discussions of issues didn’t always revolve around liberal vs conservative. Global warming is a serious threat. So if you’re conservative, why do you let liberals own this issue by denying the science? I suggest you read Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, laudito si, for how to face environmental challenges from a Catholic perspective. If you want fewer people to judge you for having a large family, try not to judge them for having a different view on good governance. In the US, we need good Catholics to be willing to dialogue with others in a respectful way -seeking first to understand, then to be understood!

    3. The pope is not a scientist.
      Neither is Al Gore.
      Neither are you.

      Stop mouthing the silly junk science cliches.

  3. A side note on the effect of “global warming”: I wonder if the average Canadian or Russian is willing to reverse whatever climate change, real, temporary, permanent, illusory etc., and in the process forfeit the extra millions of acres of arable land that has been added to the sub-Arctic territories.

  4. I wonder how Qatar manages to produce almost thrice the carbon emissions per capita that America does. I thought we were ridiculously wasteful, What do Qatari do…run their cars in the parking garage 24/7 with the door open?

  5. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY EXTRA – Big Pulpit

  6. i am sure satan supports fewer souls being created to share eternal life with our Creator. so, wittingly or unwittingly, the anti-procreation meme is part of satan’s agenda.

  7. In the 60s we were told to stop having children because everyone would starve to death. Now it is global warming. I guarantee you if that fails, some other reason to not have children will be asserted. I have read arguments that the planet would be better off with no humans alive at all, which at least is an honest admission of their goal.

    1. That was a point I thought about addressing. Population control was a thing long before environmental sciences became concerned about global warming; the anti-child faction simply hijacked the issue for their own agenda. And there is in fact a group called the Voluntary Extinction Society, though why they haven’t set the example is anyone’s guess.

  8. It has yet to be proven just how much human CO2 emissions influence earth climate change.

    The earth has had 4.7B+ years of climate change before modern man walked the earth.

    1. It is abuse, to have the billions of $’s wasted on funding ideas, projects & expensive elite conferences that are mere theories, when those $’s could be used to help failing infrastructures & truly needy.

  9. Yes, there is climate change, and carbon emissions. Democrats, RINOS, ____ists [choose whichever totalitarian ism you wish], always, in their sensitivity, smarts, and compassion find a crisis, vow to save us all, and then note what wee bit more of our liberty we must sacrifice so that they can help us. Remember Peak Oil? the so-called Population Bomb? Out of love they will do this for us and to us for our own good. And on their way to their golf games in 7 vehicle caravans, each getting 8 mpg due to run flat tires and armor plating [full of men with guns to protect them frrom wackos like us], they will congratulate themselves since their wives are pregnant with more elite human beings, not with a black or brown baby who will join the ranks of the 30,000,000 out of 60,000,000 killed in the name of “choice” over the last 45 years. Guy McClung, Texas

    1. That was a weak message? :^D

      Seriously, Guy, I get what you’re saying. The anti-kid brigade was banging this drum long before the environmental scientists began worrying about the hole in the ozone layer. And I sometimes smile ironically when I remember that all these clever smartypants are slowly removing themselves from the gene pool by their anti-kid ways. But I’m not about to dismiss the valid concerns of the environmental scientists simply because the limousine left uses them to advance an anti-life agenda.

    2. He who tells the morning when to come each day, Who summons the lightning, and Who speaks from the whirlwind will be delivering the strong message. He is Who is. Just wait for it . . . .

      AL- Great point re: “removing themselves from the gene pool.” One famous (or infamous) black lady comedian/actor has had 5 abortions. Those 5 babies, rather than carrying on black genocide here, are with the God who made them. Perhaps helping Him in trying to get her back to Him. The line “If you’re old and all alone” below is about those “smartypants” to whom you refer. Guy Mcclung, Texas

      [for full text: Catholic Lane
      April 20, 2015
      By Guy McClung]
      If you’re happy killing babies, clap your hands.
      If you’re happy killing babies, clap your hands.
      If you’re happy baby killing and for you its so fulfilling,
      If you’re happy killing babies clap your hands.
      . . . . .
      If you’re old and all alone, don’t clap your hands.
      If you’re old and all alone, don’t clap your hands.
      If you’re old and all alone, and your children aren’t at home,
      If you’re old and all alone, don’t clap your hands.

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