Yesterday, I did what I do almost every day. I sat at a coffeehouse and worked fervently over a set of watercolor paints and paper. At the table next to mine, two young women that couldn't have been more than 10 years my senior chatted, steaming cups in their hands, and a baby in a carrier on the floor beside them. Stolen bits of conversation floated over to me in the silent moments between songs on Pandora.
This is what I heard:
"She thought she was having a girl, but last minute the doctors realized it was a boy! She cried! She wanted a girl so badly and it took her a while to come to terms with it."
Babies. It's likely that both of those women have families and that babies take up a majority of their mental and financial resources. It's likely that babies will or are currently taking up many people's resources and lives right now. In fact, it's happening anew at an estimated rate of around once every 8 seconds in the United States.
We here in the United States have a little over 5 percent of the world's population and use almost 20 percent of the world's energy consumption. Theoretically, a family with 17 children in India might match the energy consumption of an American family that has just one child.
The earth isn't doing so well. Really, it's not even a controversial statement anymore. Many people and scientists acknowledge global warming, understand that the mass animal extinction, the deforestation, etc that's happening right now is mostly our fault and understand that fossil fuels are not unlimited. Yet, the statement that we are morally obligated to stop having so many babies? Terrifying to many of those same people.
I recently learned about a group that calls themselves The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. They believe humans are inherently detrimental to all other life on earth, and that the most responsible thing to do would be for all of us to stop having children. They kindly suggest joining Big Brother, Big Sister, rescuing dogs, or adopting a stream instead of reproducing to alleviate that burning desire to nurture.
They also have a lot of interesting information on their website, such as their easy to understand, well-written explanation why the human population is still increasing even though birth rates are currently lower than they have been in previous years. Here is their homepage, if you want to check it out. I don't know that they'll succeed in convincing others to not have children, but their vision is an interesting one.