September 27, 2021

Overpopulation: they don’t want children to preserve the planet

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‘Having a child would totally disagree with my ideas. I never wanted it and the more time passes, the more it becomes confirmed, ‘says Manon, 26, to France 24.’ I don’t see the point in imposing on the world one more consumer. We Westerners are already consuming more than the available resources’, continues the young woman. Like Manon, more and more young people of childbearing age have decided not to have children out of commitment to protect the planet.

On the networks, they call themselves ‘childfree’ or ‘ginks’, a contraction of English for ‘green inclinations, no kids’ and they claim their refusal to have children. Convictions reiterated in view of World Population Day, celebrated on Sunday July 11, after the Five Billion Day, celebrated on July 11, 1987 with the aim of drawing attention to the urgency of demographic issues.

‘I have no desire to drop a kid on this planet’, explains youtuber Anna Bogen, followed by more than 15,000 subscribersin a hit video. ‘When it comes to the end of its resources, I’ll be six feet underground. But if I have a child, he and his offspring will have to live with it. I don’t want to do this to someone. ‘ Denis Garnier, president of Démographie Responsable, an association founded in 2009 to promote a lower birth rate, notes that in ten years, the theme of non-procreation has gained ground. ‘Young people are more informed, thanks to the publication of studies on global warming and the emergence of questions of attacks on biodiversity in the public debate,’ he says.

On the association’s website, a counter displays the number of human beings on Earth in real time. The numbers go by. ‘We are about 7.8 billion, it’s already too many. We should exceed the 8 billion mark by 2022 or 2023 ‘, recalls Denis Garnier, concerned about the pace of population growth on this World Population Day.

‘One child less is 40tons of carbon gained per year

‘Overpopulation has serious ecological consequences. The calculation is quite simple, the more we are, the more we emit COtwo, the more climate change worsens’, warns Jean-Loup Bertaux, emeritus research director at the CNRS and author of ‘Demography, climate, migrations: the state of emergency’ (Fauves Editions). ‘In France, one child less is saved 40 tonnes of carbon per year. By comparison, switching to an electric car saves 2 tonnes. ‘ And the scientist recalled that the global ‘day of overshoot’, calculated from the ecological footprint of human activities and the ‘biocapacity’ of the Earth, was reached on August 22 in 2020. According to this index, calculated by the American NGO Global Footprint Network, humanity consumes beyond this date, more natural resources than the Earth can renew in twelve months.

In the online videos and comments, the speeches of the ‘childfree’ are marked by this anxiety, but also the mistrust vis-à-vis the previous generation. ‘I have never had an adult without children around me. For me, having children was compulsory, like getting up to go to school in the morning (…) but we have to ask ourselves the question of the world we leave to our children. I don’t know if I want to leave them a world like this’, says Clémence, 27,another successful Youtuber.

‘We are lucky to be able to control your pregnancy’

Manon confirms, the subject is difficult to broach with her parents, even if she was raised in a family ‘where we took care of the planet’. ‘When we talk about it, they really don’t get it. For them, having a job, getting married, having children, that is part of the meaning of life. My position is completely beyond them, so we don’t dwell on the subject. ‘ A decision all the more difficult to get people to accept as she is a woman, Judge Manon. ” ‘You will change your mind, you are still young’, ‘You will see with the maternal instinct’ … I do not know if a man would receive the same kind of remark as me ‘, wonders the young woman . ‘We are lucky to be able to control your pregnancy today in France. This is not the case for women all over the world. For some, having a child or not is not a matter of choice. ‘