Sunday, August 27, 2006


Less than a year ago I had little thought about population growth. Actually, I had little thought of anything outside of my own little existence and what I could purchase.

In April, after I joined the compact, I learned a lot about my role in this world. It was at that time that I really started to think about my role and the number of children I had chosen to have. At times I have tremendous guilt over my choice to have 5 children. I remind myself that this was something I chose to do before I even thought about the choice and the impact on the world. Now that I have a greater understanding, I realize that although I cannot change hte number of children I currently have (or soon will have), I can have a role in determining how we live.

I think choosing what to purchase and what to consume has as large of an impact on the environment as having the number of children that we have. For instance, we are primarily vegetarian - choosing to eat this way uses fewer of the earth's resources than if we were a smaller family and were meat eaters.

" On average, 18,500 litres of water are used to produce 1Kg of meat, the equivalent amount of water used by a typical Canadian family during a one-month period. To feed the typical meat-eater for 1 day requires more than 14,800 litres of water."

less that half the farmland in North America is used to grow food for humans; the largest part is used to raise cattle. For each 16Kg. of grain consumed by an animal, meat-eaters receive only 1Kg. of meat. What's more, to satisfy the annual consumption habits of a meat-eater, 3.25 acres of farmland will be needed;"

Also, choosing to use fewer new items (clothing for instance) lessens our impact than if we purchased all new. Yes, we drink a lot of water, however, we drink almost no soda (special occasions) or juices. Again, this is cutting down the impact of our larger family.

Choosing to have a large family means making very prudent choices on how we live and what we use. I think I am more careful now than I would have been if we were a family of 3.


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I had idly wondered (though would never have asked) if you now question the number of kids you have chosen to have.

I grew up with three siblings. I love large families. I want a large family of my own. With any luck (and some persuasion of Dan about how many kids we should have!), we will accomplish that through birth and adoption or adoption only. With adoption, well, obviously, you're taking kids who are already going to exist and bringing them up (you hope) to be thoughtful, intelligent, well-adjusted kids.

For what it's worth, I think the world could use more people who were raised to think about their choices, even if it means a few more mouths to feed and a few more consumers. The world is desperately going to need people to lead them down brighter paths than the ones many people are now taking.

And I really value all of my siblings. I wouldn't have chosen life without any of them.

Chelee said...

I agree with the first post. I would feel much better about my choice since you are helping to creating responsible people who will then go off and teach others.

We chose to have 2 children feeling that they would only be replacing us, not increasing population. Strangely, my siblings have also chosen to have only 2 children each (I'm 1 of 3) though not for the same reasons. I do have quite a few friends that are not having children due to decreasing population.

teripittman said...

You need not feel guilty any longer. Many years ago, I chose not to have children, due to the folks I was hanging out with at the time. Heard lots about how having children was bad for the earth, etc. Regretted the choice later on but wasn't able to reverse my decision. So I give you the "pass go" card for two of your children. If anyone asks, tell them you had them for us ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ poster number 1 (like the other posters). You are bringing up children w/ values that will help the planet. There are so few people who pay attention, and you will be contributing to the number of responsible, awake people. I don't think you need to feel guilty. You should be proud of your family.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

No posting since Sunday! I wonder if you went into labor. . . .

Emme said...

Finally just posted! It has been busy - preparing for classes that start next week! :) Thanks for asking. I still have about 5 weeks....