So, let's say that you're a woman of childbearing age. Let's say that you're a woman of childbearing age who happens to find herself bearing a child. And let's say, further, that you decide that you should have an abortion, and following that abortion, have yourself sterilized? Why, do you suppose, might you make those decisions?
There are a gazillion reasons why a woman might not want to have children - at a certain point in her life, say, when she isn't ready, or, perhaps, ever. And I'm absolutely certain that most of those reasons are perfectly good, perfectly reasonable ones. But one reason that strikes me - and feel free to disagree with me here - as entirely unreasonable is this one: because it's good environmental practice.
Some years ago, an environmental activist by the name of Toni Vernilli had an abortion and then had herself sterilized because, she said, she wanted to "protect the planet... Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet." She went public with her anti-natalist position last year, and very quickly became a key figure in extreme environmentalist circles that hold to the idea that human life is a plague upon the planet. Her views were in the news again this week when Greenpeace founder Paul Watson said, in reference to an accident during which four seal-hunters were killed, that the death of seals is "a greater tragedy" than the deaths of any humans. Humans, after all, are destroyers of the earth, and seals are cute and fluffy. You do the math.
I think seals are adorable, and I would prefer, strongly, that they not be slaughtered. HOWEVER. I'm also pretty fond of human beings - being one myself - and find the view that humans, as a species, are a plague abhorrent. And aborting babies and sterilizing women to reduce the impact of said plague? Abhorrent, squared. (I'm not alone in this. Canadian environmentalists are withdrawing their support from Paul Watson's projects in droves. He has, in the words of one Canadian blogger, LabLady, "gone too far. Again")
I've written about anti-natalism before. In short, I think it's stupid (I've addressed the abhorrent issue above.) It tilts invariably to reductio ad absurdum - if fewer children = fewer human beings = better, why not kill off everybody? If we support abortion and sterilization for environmental reason, how great a step is it to supporting euthanasia and the abandonment of sick children and dying mothers in, say, Nepal (more on Nepal below) for the same reasons? And? Are humans not part of nature? What purpose does it serve to eliminate humanity? Shouldn't we get rid of the jet planes and the McMansions and every single frill of life in developed society before we start putting an end to the babeez?
But the bigger reason is this: women (and men) who love their children are also inclined to love the earth and want to protect the Earth. "For our children" is one of the most powerful refrains of the environmental movement, and it's one of the primary reasons why there are so many "eco-moms" out there pursuing eco-activism with a passion.
I could go on and on - about how painful and challenging such arguments are for women struggling with infertility, for women who have lost children, about, again, how stupidstupidstupid the arguments are when you push them to their logical conclusions don'tevengetmestarted - but I won't.
I'll just say this: I thank the gods every day that I am happily, healthily pregnant with my second child, and I every day pledge to those same gods to do whatever I can to make this world a better place.
With that in mind... go have another look at the efforts going on this month - EARTH MONTH, y'all - to teach our children the virtues of eco-consciousness. Check out the BlogHersAct Canada eco-KIDS-challenge for the month, and find out more about the super awesome Kids Art Auction For Earth Day.
And then - because no you are not done - go straight to Global Giving and find out how just a small donation can help save the lives of mothers and children in Nepal. It's part of BlogHer's partnership with Global Giving to empower women to help other women. To SAVE. LIVES.
Because life IS worth saving. Always.
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