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College Professor: Stop Having Children to Save Them from Climate Change

College Professor: Stop Having Children to Save Them from Climate Change

“The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis”

Here at LI, we’ve been covering the various attempts by the left to use global warming climate change as an excuse for everything from a falsely predicted “bee-pocalypse” to #Brexit to the rise of ISIS (or is that vice versa?).

Bored with pointing out how climate change is responsible for everything bad in the world, some progressives have switched over to urging population control in the name of their “settled” science.  This time it’s not an intellectual exercise, it’s being “taught” by Johns Hopkins’ Travis Rieder.

NPR reports:

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

He’s at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a “small-family ethic” — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to “give them grandchildren.”

Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

For years, people have lamented how bad things might get “for our grandchildren,” but Rieder tells the students that future isn’t so far off anymore.

He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.

“Dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then,” he says. “Very, very soon.”

The way, he opines, to avoid their children’s future suffering may be to “protect them” by “not having them.”

He’s a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his arguments against having children are moral.

Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, he says. Yet people in the world’s poorest nations are most likely to suffer severe climate impacts, “and that seems unfair,” he says.

There’s also a moral duty to future generations that will live amid the climate devastation being created now.

“Here’s a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them,” Rieder says.

His arguments sound pretty persuasive in the classroom.

The worrying thing about this is the same worrying thing about all progressive education.  Young, impressionable minds hear this, internalize it as coming from an “expert,” and go forth into the world carrying this baggage along with them.

This is evidenced by the next tidbit from NPR about a young graduate student who fears future climate change sufficiently to seriously consider shelving her life-long dream of having children.

NPR continues:

Meghan Hoskins is among a dozen people gathered in the spare office of an environmental group in Keene, N.H., earlier this year. They sit on folding chairs in a circle, the room humming with multiple conversations.

“If I had told my boyfriend at the time, ‘I’m not ready to have children because I don’t know what the climate’s gonna be like in 50 years,’ he wouldn’t have understood. There’s no way,” says Hoskins, a 23-year-old whose red hair is twisted in a long braid.

This is one of 16 meetings over the past year and a half organized by Conceivable Future, a nonprofit founded on the notion that “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis.”

Hoskins says she’s always wanted “little redheaded babies” — as do her parents, the sooner the better.

But she’s a grad student in environmental studies, and the more she learns, the more she questions what kind of life those babies would have.

It doesn’t stop there.  Of course.

Back at James Madison University, Travis Rieder explains a PowerPoint graph that seems to offer hope. Bringing down global fertility by just half a child per woman “could be the thing that saves us,” he says.

He cites a study from 2010 that looked at the impact of demographic change on global carbon emissions. It found that slowing population growth could eliminate one-fifth to one-quarter of all the carbon emissions that need to be cut by midcentury to avoid that potentially catastrophic tipping point.

Rieder’s audience seems to want an easier way. A student asks about the carbon savings from not eating meat.

Apparently uninterested in an easier way (remember the mini-cows that were going to save the planet?), Rieder dismisses this idea.

Excellent idea, Rieder says. But no amount of conservation gives you a pass. Oregon State University researchers have calculated the savings from all kinds of conservation measures: driving a hybrid, driving less, recycling, using energy-efficient appliances, windows and light bulbs.

For an American, the total metric tons of carbon dioxide saved by all of those measures over an entire lifetime of 80 years: 488. By contrast, the metric tons saved when a person chooses to have one fewer child: 9,441.

Another student asks: “What happens if that kid you decided not to have would have been the person who grew up and essentially cured this?”

Again, great question, says Rieder, but the answer is still no. First, the chances are slim. More to the point, he says, valuing children as a means to an end — be it to cure climate change or, say, provide soldiers for the state — is ethically problematic.

With all that’s at stake, he says, we need to shift our cultural attitudes. “It’s not the childless who must justify their lifestyle. It’s the rest of us.”

And that includes Rieder.

A father of one, Rieder’s “children for me but not for thee” philosophy has developed into a plan that he calls “the carbon tax on children.”

Yes.  Really.

NPR explains his “carrots for the poor, sticks for the rich” population control plan:

Ethically, Rieder says poor nations get some slack because they’re still developing, and because their per capita emissions are a sliver of the developed world’s. Plus, it just doesn’t look good for rich, Western nations to tell people in poor ones not to have kids. He suggests things like paying poor women to refill their birth control and — something that’s had proven success — widespread media campaigns.

. . . . For the sticks part of the plan, Rieder proposes that richer nations do away with tax breaks for having children and actually penalize new parents. He says the penalty should be progressive, based on income, and could increase with each additional child.

He explains that this is the only way to avoid some sort of climate-related calamity.

“The situation is bleak, it’s just dark,” he says. “Population engineering, maybe it’s an extreme move. But it gives us a chance.”

. . . . “We know exactly how to make fewer babies,” he says. And it’s something people can start doing today.


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I support this for the same reason I support abortion. If leftists want to remove themselves from the gene pool then who are we to stop them?

    rinardman in reply to Ironman. | August 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    His arguments sound pretty persuasive in the classroom.

    If they’re stupid enough to believe him, they’re too stupid to reproduce, anyway.

    tom swift in reply to Ironman. | August 20, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Well, yes.

    Since he’s preaching for fewer Progressive voters … what’s the down side?

    Milwaukee in reply to Ironman. | August 20, 2016 at 11:32 pm


    “I support this for the same reason I support abortion. If leftists want to remove themselves from the gene pool then who are we to stop them?”

    Suicide is removing themselves from the gene pool. Abortion is removing an innocent from the gene pool. The easiest thing is no sex. It isn’t what needs to be done, it is what needs to be left undone.

    Perhaps this fellow needs to off himself, to set an example for the rest of us.

    Has he seen any of the research on the number of demographically upside-down countries there are? Where the percentage over 50 is significantly greater than the percentage less than 30. Japan for example, seriously needs to get on the stick (no pun intended) and have more children.

    Once again, these people are always presenting an immense problem which will end in the ruin of all if we don’t do something about it NOW. Since we no longer have Peak Oil to worry about, have children.

    OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Ironman. | August 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    You are both original and witty – not. In case you didn’t noticed, as nations become more affluent the number of children per family go down (voluntarily).

    You guys love to have it both ways, too. I have seen numerous posts, here, about how Margaret Sanger founded PP to promote Eugenics.

    It is interesting how many woman want to limit the number of children they carry. Since it agrees with you goals, why not help them?

      I hope none of my tax dollars paid for your education.

      “I have seen numerous posts, here, about how Margaret Sanger founded PP to promote Eugenics.”

      Do you find something amiss with those posts? She was a long-time supporter of negative eugenics (there are two sorts, you know), which she promoted quite heavily in her book Woman and the New Race, published in 1920 if memory serves. The purpose of negative eugenics is to prevent procreation by those considered “unfit”, although it has always been a bit of a question as to who would make that fitness determination. Planned Parenthood abortion clinics “assist” mothers in making that choice, which is at least egalitarian, I suppose; in the first half of the 29th century others (the Nazis, the KKK, Stalin) made those decisions, leaving the mothers free from having to fret their po heads over them.

      As an aside, I don’t see any indication that your education was wasted; it merely seems … incomplete.

        OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Walker Evans. | August 21, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        I was pointing out that people in this thread keep writing that liberals not reproducing as a good thing. I understand that those comments are about as close to humor as those people are able to get. But I do think it is ironic when they rail against modern PP based on early Sanger. They are, in essence, celebrating eugenics for ‘stupid’ liberals.

        BTW, I thought someone would bite and produce the talking points that are supposed to put a stake in the heart of current family planning. Do you also take notice of conservatives who sterilized young women without informed consent during the same period of time. They were no followers of Sanger. Sanger always wanted education and choice.

        Sanger had a flirtation with eugenics. But Sanger came to regret those ideas. Later in life she advocated for education and choice. Her earlier ideas came from her social work. She met many poor women who were worn out from pregnancy and raising children. These women were desperate for anything that would stop the cycle. She met women who had a child a year for 10or more years. Many women needed something to deal with their husbands and the churches.

        If Sanger’s changes aren’t relevant, then Trump should be known as a supporter of PP. He once was.

        “As an aside, I don’t see any indication that your education was wasted; it merely seems … incomplete.” Yes it is. Yours is complete? It didn’t occur to you that you that you were being baited? Did you think you had a crushing argument? Did you really think I mentioned Sanger without know the whole story?

        Most history is complicated. That is your lesson for the day.

I’m 100% in favor of idiot leftists avoiding reproduction.

Climate change (could there be a fuzzy vague concept?) reminds me of Paul Erlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb in new packaging. According to Erlich, none of us should be here.

    Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams has a blog in which he says fear is the greater motivator and that the klinton campaign now has a super persuader he calls Godzilla who changed her campaign from issues to one of fear of Trump.

    The one thing these doom and gloom bs artists can do is create fear very well. Erlich was really good at it. And of course so little of it every came true as capitalism just picked up the slack and knocked his predictions down the toilet.

    Blog is below the cartoon. I don’t always think he’s correct in his assessments but it makes for some entertaining thoughts on how the campaigns are going.

      Paul in reply to 4fun. | August 20, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      So a guy spends 30 years writing a cartoon about a bunch of computer dorks, and then one day declares himself an expert on “persuasion?”

        Milwaukee in reply to Paul. | August 20, 2016 at 11:35 pm

        His cartoons were, and are, successful because of his keen insight into human behaviors and foibles. Further, he has people listening to him. He may be right or wrong, but he has an audience who finds him credible.

        murkyv in reply to Paul. | August 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm

        You should try actually reading some of his works before spouting off.

        Adams has been spot-on about many many things in this current political climate.

        Another Ed in reply to Paul. | August 22, 2016 at 12:35 am

        Could those opinions on “persuasion” be based on Scott Adams’ training as a hypnotist? Or would his MBA in Economics and Management from the university of California, Berkeley be more more of a factor?

      OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to 4fun. | August 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Clinton causing fear of Trump? All she had to do was get out of the way and he did it himself. Every time he opens his mouth he loses general election support.

      Trump used to support PP. But he looked around and saw where the chumps were. Unfortunately, there were only enough to get him the Republican nomination.

    tom swift in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 20, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Yes, this is all so ’70s Retro. I wonder if his lecture had any music on 8-track tape playing in the background.

… valuing children as a means to an end — be it to cure climate change or, say, provide soldiers for the state — is ethically problematic.

So is not valuing them, also as a means to an end.

Carbon-based life sequestration.

Population control has a long and depraved history.

Dear Rieder,

Suicide is a good means of reducing the population.

Just sayin.

The true believers in GW should commit suicide to save the world.

    Milwaukee in reply to ConradCA. | August 21, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Suicide is a bit harsh. How about they just live in the woods, naked, and without fire, or any technology past the stone age.

    Farmer’s Almanac is predicting very cold winter for the north east part of the U.S. of A. this winter. I moved to southern Texas.

So, the best way to fight global warming is free birth control and progressive taxation? Two policies that the progressives have been pushing for fifty plus years? Yeah, that sounds pretty scientific to me.

Funny how the solutions to global warming that these “scientists” come up with never involves any kind of actual engineering.

    OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to tyates. | August 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I guess where you live there is no engineering. But the rest of the developed world and much of the developing world is moving to renewal energy. China is becoming a leader at mass producing solar and wind. There are complaints that they are stealing the technology. But why should we care based on the reactionaries commenting here?

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out how you can ridicule renewal energy. There is an old joke about a ‘pious’ man stuck on a rooftop in a flood:

    The authorities come by in a patrol boat and offer to rescue him He demurs because god will save him. The authorities are followed by a man in a power boat, a man in a row boat and a man clinging to a log. Each time they offer to save him. He demurs because he believes that god will save him. Finally, a frustrated god, screams down from heaven: “Hey schmuck, I tried to save you 4 times.”

    We are down to the rowboat and you are the …………………

      According to actual engineers, all renewable energy sources combined can only supply about 5% of our current energy needs using today’s technology. Could there be a breakthrough that would turn that number on it’s head and give us plentiful, cheap renewable energy? Certainly! However, no such miracle cure in within sight and we still need to live while waiting for the day when (if) it happens. In the meantime we have relatively cheap and amazingly plentiful fossil fuels we can rely on here and now.

      Do the research on this; I have. The greenies like to spout Death and Doom if we continue to put life-giving CO2 into the atmosphere, but their dismal predictions are as unreal as those made by the Heavens Gate people.

        OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Walker Evans. | August 21, 2016 at 9:10 pm

        “According to actual engineers” Well now I am convinced. Who could argue with “According to actual engineers”?

        “greenies like to spout Death and Doom if we continue to put life-giving CO2 into the atmosphere” Yes, all ‘greenies’ think alike. Yes, CO2 is life-giving. Tell that to sailors in a submarine. Tell it to the Astronauts who almost died on Apollo 13. If they don’t scrub it, it stops being life-giving in a hurry. Tell it to all the people living on Venus.

        You people are like little kids told you have to eat your vegetables. You jump around, yelling: “Mommy, Mommy, ice cream has all the essential ingredients of life. Can’t we just eat ice cream all the time. Mommy, I know someone who says its OK and healthier and saying it will make you fat is a communist plot”.

OnlyRightDissentAllowed | August 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

I do hope you are joking about the Farmer’s Almanac. That would be stupid even for this site.

BTW, they had fire in the stone age. They also had clothes. The population was also much lower. So it was much easier to hunt and gather. They didn’t even need guns.

So who is gonnapay for his Social Security?
I think you should get credits for producing tax suing citizens (maybe based on their income).

buckeyeminuteman | August 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

Now I know why they’re pushing the gay agenda so hard. In all seriousness, if these climate change nutters want to remove themselves from the gene pool by not raising children to further peddle their propaganda on, that’s fine by me. As for myself, I’m having as many babies as I can to teach them conservative values and ethics.

Is this professor a racist?

Only in Africa is the population booming. Most of Europe and white America are depopulating right now, while countries like Niger have total fertility of 6 babies per woman.

Africa is scheduled to be half of the world’s population as soon as 2100.

What exactly is this professor advocating?