Archive for November, 2007

From the “Wait, what?” department, today comes this. Fox News summarizes it nicely:

A British woman who had an abortion 10 years ago and was later sterilized did so because she believes pregnancy is bad for the environment, the London Daily Mail reported Sunday.

Toni Vernelli, 35, hopes her actions would ensure her carbon footprint would be kept to a minimum, the Mail reported. The environmental advocate also sees having children as an egotistical act.

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” Vernelli told the Mail, adding she believes bringing new life into the world only adds to the problem.

Another person unclear on the concept. Having children is “about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet”? Huh? The entire ultimate purpose of human reproduction is survival. In the full Daily Mail version of the article, she is quoted:

“Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.”

This sounds to me like Vernelli is against the entire concept of human reproduction, rather than simply making a personal decision to not have one more child in a world she views as over-populated. That means Vernelli is basically advocating the suicide of the human race for the “benefit of the planet”.

While that may sound completely insane (it is), this is not the first time I’ve heard of environmentalist nutcases state the opinion that humanity in general is a plague upon the Earth, and that the Earth would be better off without us. They seek to restore the Earth to some kind of pristine, human-less state. I’m always bemused by this idea, since the mental image I get is of the Earth, without people, going about its business of nothing in particular, with no one around to enjoy or appreciate it.

Also, the logical endpoint of such a belief is to commit suicide. These people don’t seem too receptive to that idea, or there wouldn’t be any of them around.

The assertion that the Earth is over-populated is also ridiculous. One only needs to look at a space-view of the Earth at night to see how barren human civilization really is on this planet. Perhaps such people are referring to the capacity of human civilization to feed itself. Even in that case, they are wrong. We have the ability to feed many times the people currently alive on the Earth. The problem is not one of food production, but of transportation logistics. Specifically, that the people most in need of the food are in countries run by tyrannical governments that actively prevent their people from getting it. Artificial famine is a tool of dictatorships to control the populace. People who are starving don’t riot or stage revolutions.

It’s also disingenuous of Vernelli to assert that her lack of a child somehow helps any perceived lack of resources. She lives in the UK. That country doesn’t have a problem feeding and providing for its population. One more person isn’t a strain. In fact, the fertility rate in the UK for 2006 was 1.84 children per female. That is below the level needed to replace the population, and while that rate has been growing in recent years, it is still very low. The UK needs all the kids it can get.

Okay, so Vernelli is crazy. That much is apparent. It’s one thing to become a vegetarian based on a shallow and flawed understanding of facts and logical thinking. But to abort a child? To have oneself sterilized? These are significant, dangerous surgical procedures. She underwent these operations on the basis of political beliefs that are not only false, but easily disproven with about 15 minutes of research.

Conclusion: she didn’t want to know the truth. She wanted to believe what she believes, and she will avoid acknowledging any evidence to the contrary. People like this think that wishing something will make it real; that reality can be shaped at a whim and that it is somehow different for everyone. To act with regard to something that is not so will lead only to death and disaster.