Like many couples out there planning to be parents, my partner and I had many discussions on the number of children we would have. His number was 6, mine was -2.
All kidding aside, we were concerned that we would just be adding another resource-consuming human being on this already resource-limited planet. Currently, the earth has a population of 6,739,482,381.* In the three minutes it may take you to read this post, the Earth will have welcomed 438 new individuals.* While no one knows exactly how many people the earth can support, we do know that the Earth is affected by how much each person consumes.
Some would argue that it is countries like India, China, Nigeria and Bangladesh that are to blame for our rapid population growth but when you consider that the wealthiest 20 percent of the world’s population consume 80 percent of the goods and services produced from the earth’s resources, then that argument just seems like an excuse not to act. Canada is one of the greatest consumers of energy per capita, burning the equivalent of roughly 7,700 litres of oil per person each year. This is about 50 times the consumption rate of Bangladesh, which incidentially is also a country that may be completed obliterated by climate change-induced sea level rise.**
Not to mention that Canadians use more energy than all of the 760 million inhabitants in Africa while we only make up LESS than one half of one percent of the world’s population. **
With all these mind-boggling statistics, you can imagine that our discussions about the number of children were lively, to say the least. So far, we have agreed to having just two kids, one to replace each of us, and to raise them as carbon-neutral as we know how.
* U.S. Census Bureau, “World POPClock Projection,” http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html.
** David Suzuki Foundation, “Kyoto Protocol: Canada’s Emissions,” http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Kyoto/Canadian_Emissions
Make a difference − share this environmental tip with your friends.