The Observer reports that Green MP Caroline Lucas, has joined other leading environmentalists in calling for the smashing of what Sir David Attenborough has called the "absurd taboo" in discussing UK family sizes.
Lucas said: "We need to have a far greater public debate about population, whether it focuses on improving family planning or reducing global inequality – and looking again at how we address the strain on our natural resources. The absence of an open and honest discussion about this issue means most people don't give much thought to the scale of global population growth in recent years. In 1930, just one or two generations ago, the world's population stood at around two billion. Today it is around seven billion, and by 2050 it is projected to rise by a third to 9 billion.
"We live as if we have three planets instead of just one. It is interesting that public figures, environmental groups and NGOs in general have tended to steer away from population to the extent that it's become a taboo issue. The horrific consequences of China's one-child policy and of other draconian efforts to regulate procreation have, for many, rendered discussion of the subject completely unpalatable. Yet as long as an issue remains a taboo subject where no one talks about it, then there's very little chance of finding the solutions we need."
Exactly. A year or so ago, this issue was raised in the Observer magazine and some foolish parent wrote in claiming it was ok for her to have seven children, because she would raise them to be good little greens.
Assuming that none of the seven rebelled against her ideology and left whacking great carbon footprints, their green behaviour will not magically cancel out the resources that they had used growing up. Once an adult, they will need to travel, eat and sleep.
Will they really be able to offset all these carbon emissions?Even the most environmentally-dedicated person uses some resources.
We need an open debate where both sides can put their case. For too long, the logical concept that having more children will use up more resources has been the elephant in the room.