Late last week, I posted about a debate in the NY Times that discussed the potential of a world with 10 billion people – you might remember, I was pretty horrified by the thought.
But you know what? I’m hoping that I’ll contribute to those 10 billion. I want children some day. I’ve always wanted kids and at this point, it’s not something I’m prepared to compromise on (except in a horrible unable-to-have-babies situation).
Is that hypocritical of me? Is it selfish? Well, in a nutshell, yes. I see the size of the global population as the biggest issue facing the world right now. But I don’t want to give up my right to have a family, to have a little mini-me or two venturing bravely forward. Maybe I hope that I can produce the kind of offspring who can help save the future, who will care enough to make the changes that we need to see. Even so, that doesn’t negate the fact that they’ll still be extra mouths to feed in a very hungry world.
I’m not writing this to say “Hey, look at me! I’m happily going to screw the planet!” I’m also not going to try and justify myself with some flimsy logic about the fact that I’ll never live in an air-conditioned McMansion or drive a 4x4 (SUV for any Americans lurking). My point is that in some way, we are all going to be environmental hypocrites in one way or another. You might drive a Prius and it might be a squillion times better than a 4x4 – but you’re not relying on walking, biking and public transport. You might buy organic but disregard the food miles. Unless you go completely off the grid, grow all your own food, install solar, don’t travel, don’t use batteries and basically shut out the outside world entirely, you are making an impact.
The best we can do is to be aware of this and to do the best we can to lessen our effect.