Monday, June 9, 2008


In the fight against climate change, it has never been a question of how many of us there are, but how we live. It’s all about our lifestyle “choices”. The prime minister could make a few “lifestyle” choices. He could drastically reduce the entry of migrants from countries of low consumption and high fertility to this country of high consumption and low fertility. He could also “choose” to eradicate pro-natalist policies which reward citizens for having children and creating more greenhouse emitters. But these are just the kind of choices that soft green environmentalists will never talk about. Nor will they talk about the choice your neighbour makes to have more than two children. That you see, belongs to the sacred realm of “personal choice”, as if bringing a child into the world that in North America will dump 23.8 metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere is “personal”.

Quite an interesting concept that. Throw litter out the car window and that is a very “public” act. Be a demographic litter-bug with your third child and it is nobody’s business. If you are a single mum on the dole, of course, you are a subject of muted scorn. But celebrities are given a free pass. Case in point. Let’s take our continent’s two most famous climate warriors, Saint Al Gore and Saint David Suzuki.

Gore has brought four children into this world and Suzuki five. To gauge their footprint let me put it in these terms. If your car burns 416 litres of gasoline, it will have emitted 1 tonne of CO2.. In one year I burn 572 litres or 1.38 tonnes of CO2. Al Gore’s kids dump 69 times more GHG into the atmosphere by living in the United States than I do driving my car. Dr. David Suzuki’s kids do 86.25 times more damage to the atmosphere by living in Canada than I do driving my compact car.

As for myself, I have never felt the need to replicate myself, feeling instead a biological urge to be an uncle. I have a dog, with an extremely low footprint, and I adopted him----as far as I know I didn’t sire him as the only thing noticeably Irish about him is that he walks on all fours.

When archaeologists are excavating the ruins of our “civilization” looking to render an autopsy, the one thing that is going to strike them as curious, I think, is that we forced to people to buy a license if they wished to catch so many fish or hunt game to preserve nature’s balance, but allowed them to procreate at will. Brishen Hoff has pondered that conundrum for years.

No comments: