Oregon State study says having fewer children is best way to reduce your carbon fo...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by spaceboots06, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. spaceboots06 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2009
    The Rotten Apple

    Oregon State study says having fewer children is best way to reduce your carbon footprint

    Friday July 31, 2009, 11:27 AM

    Some people who are serious about wanting to reduce their "carbon footprint" on the Earth have one choice available to them that may yield a large long-term benefit - have one less child.

    A recent study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives - things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.

    The research also makes it clear that potential carbon impacts vary dramatically across countries. The average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S. - along with all of its descendants - is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh.

    "In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime," said Paul Murtaugh, an OSU professor of statistics. "Those are important issues and it's essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources."

    In this debate, very little attention has been given to the overwhelming importance of reproductive choice, Murtaugh said. When an individual produces a child - and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future - the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.

    Under current conditions in the U.S., for instance, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.

    And even though some developing nations have much higher populations and rates of population growth than the U.S., their overall impact on the global equation is often reduced by shorter life spans and less consumption. The long-term impact of a child born to a family in China is less than one fifth the impact of a child born in the U.S., the study found.

    As the developing world increases both its population and consumption levels, this may change.

    "China and India right now are steadily increasing their carbon emissions and industrial development, and other developing nations may also continue to increase as they seek higher standards of living," Murtaugh said.

    The study examined several scenarios of changing emission rates, the most aggressive of which was an 85 percent reduction in global carbon emissions between now and 2100. But emissions in Africa, which includes 34 of the 50 least developed countries in the world, are already more than twice that level.

    The researchers make it clear they are not advocating government controls or intervention on population issues, but say they simply want to make people aware of the environmental consequences of their reproductive choices.

    "Many people are unaware of the power of exponential population growth," Murtaugh said. "Future growth amplifies the consequences of people's reproductive choices today, the same way that compound interest amplifies a bank balance."

    Murtaugh noted that their calculations are relevant to other environmental impacts besides carbon emissions - for example, the consumption of fresh water, which many feel is already in short supply.

    --The Oregonian
  2. kymac macrumors 6502a


    Nov 4, 2006
    i blame octomom and the learning channel.

    also.. go beavs! yeaaa osu.
  3. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I'll be sure to pass this on to the herd of people living next door.
  4. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

    May 4, 2005
    Duh!!! It's absolutely self evident. And hardly knew. This kind of stuff was very common 30 years ago. My wife and I deliberately chose not to have children and I am vegan in part as a green contribution. (A few years ago, the respected English newspaper The Independent had going vegan as it's number one recommendation for greatest single contributor for helping the planet.) Yep .. all in all I'm a bit of a saint! :D
  5. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    What about "more kids = more people to figure out global warming and discover alternatives?" Technology may be the best solution to global warming, not killing the global economic system and sending us back to the stone age.

    Oldest of six kids here, and plan on having several myself.
  6. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Having one less child per family would "kill the global economic system and send us back to the stone age"?
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    But if you have less children then you can afford to educate them properly and make sure they have healthcare etc.

    Given how successful the Chinese have been over the past 20 years with the one child policy makes having more children difficult to accept as something that aids human technological growth.
  8. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Maybe we should have the EPA regulate child emissions.
  9. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    It's also the best way to make dining out, movie theaters and airplanes more pleasant :D
  10. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    Looks like it's time for Roe vs Wade to be looked at again.
  11. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Amen brother. Some of the smells that emanate from my nephew should be illegal.

  12. spaceboots06 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2009
    The Rotten Apple
    Oh, the memories.

    Back in the early '90s I "campaigned" for all American airline services to make parents check their babies and put them in the cargo area, where large luggage and animals would go. I think we had over 2,000 pledges/signatures after the end of a week and a half. It was both funny and slightly scary to see how many people took us seriously.
  13. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I like that idea. I'd rather have the dogs and cats in the cabin and kids in the cargo hold :D

    Seriously though, if airlines could put a childrens' section in the back of the plane, block it off with soundproof walls, and charge us 20 bucks extra to not sit in that section, I'd pay it in a heartbeat. Airlines are always looking for ways to make revenue, there's one that'll bring in plenty of it.
  14. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Classic! Thanks for my evening laugh!:D
  15. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    So basically taking the birth control regularly is "living green". :D
  16. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    And what about all the potential Mozarts that died of poverty and malnutrition before their first birthday?

    Technology has always been man's best tool for advancement. Mass procreation will only lead to mass destruction.

    I've heard barbecued lemming is quite tasty....
  17. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    In other news, study finds birthing less children lowers the chances they might grow up to produce useless studies...
  18. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    Swell, now I can pretend my decision to avoid procreation is ethically motivated, and not just because I flat out can't stand the buggers.
  19. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003

    In other news, studies show that having no children anymore reduces carbon footprint of the whole humanity to zero in about 100 years.

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