And now you tell me that you're having my baby
I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to
But one step further and my back will break
If my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two?
- George Michael (Everything She Wants)
Sometimes you receive news that leaves you flabbergasted.
After a year characterized by record heat, wildfires, drought, rising fascism, war with Russia and now a widening Middle East conflict, my neighbor is pregnant.
The couple next door is expecting a baby. And so are many more.
Do I live in a bubble in which only I and a niche cohort of realists are exposed to the noxious stench of civilizational collapse? I don't understand how this can be. Perhaps not to the same dedicated extent as blogs like Collapse2050, but I'm certain that mainstream media has covered the calamities of 2023 and broadcast the concerned cries of climate scientists and geopolitical analysts.
Had this been five or 10 years ago, one could be excused for a lack of awareness - either of humanity's predicament or its inextricability. But today? How captivated are these people by greenwashing, techno-optimism and Instagram Reels so as not to understand the state of our world?
I suppose most simply aren't paying attention.
The Future That Awaits Children Born Today
My neighbor's child will be 76 years old by the end of this century. Life expectancy will decline in the future, but based on current standard's 76 isn't especially old.
At a minimum, this child's life will be much worse than ours. More realistically, the things this child will experience and witness - if he survives long enough - will be horrific.
With environmental disasters and resource scarcity comes starvation, fascism and war. These aren't distant prognostications. Turmoil is already on our doorstep.
I'm shocked that anyone could be so optimistic about the remainder of this century to voluntarily put a hypothetical loved-one through it. If the parents do have the slightest awareness about the future, then the reason to add another to the population is dogmatically selfish.
"I want a child", they say like it's an aspirational possession. Well, once our generation is dead these children will be on their own, fighting for scraps wishing they had never been born. They will curse their parents for willfully ignoring reality.
Even most animals know better than to procreate in the face of resource scarcity. They delay reproduction, reduce litter sizes, alter ovulation or metabolic states, or adjust social patterns when food becomes scarce. For animals, these changes are driven by biology. For human's it's foresight that should be guiding us.
The Environmental Impact of Children
Not only are these parents subjecting their unborn child to a hellish life, they're worsening the crisis for the rest of us. The world doesn't need another lifetime of driving, flying and inconspicuous consumption.
Indeed, adding another human to the planet is the worst thing any adult can do to the environment.
"To put it simply, adding another person to the planet who uses more resources and produces more carbon dioxide is always going to make a large contribution to climate change," UBC researcher Seth Wynes.
There was a time conception was a happy occasion. Now I do my best to hide my dismay.
Like George Michael sang in the 1984 Wham hit Everything She Wants, "If my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two?".