Back Away from That Baby!

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Maybe you've seen that new film Babies, says Courtney Martin, but "don't be fooled by their innocent appearance." Though "many mothers I know say that having a child is the most miraculous experience they've ever had ... turns out, harsh as it sounds, that it's also one of the most environmentally irresponsible."

Writing at The American Prospect, Martin explains that "thus far, consuming via baby-making has been a no-judgment zone for most Americans, even the most 'green' among us." Environmentalists haven't quite been ready to judge each other for having kids, even though Oregon State University statistician Paul Murtaugh says having a child negates all the rest of the green decisions a consumer can make and then some. Supposedly contraception and female education in the developing world is supposed to solve all these problems, but Martin points out that "as of 2005, women in 18 of the 24 wealthiest nations were having more babies than in previous years"--in other words, countries with plenty of contraception and education aren't actually slowing down their pace of reproduction. So the "problem" persists.

"It's easy to understand why we don't weigh these public ramifications in our procreation decisions," Martin says, "but it doesn't make it right."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.