How far would you go to combat climate change? Forgo having children? Kill your dog? Wish your parents (or grandparents) an early death?
These bizarre ideas aren’t the loony ramblings of the militant cult, Deep Green Resistance, which called on its followers to engage in “coordinated attacks on energy infrastructure around the world” in order to usher in the “decline of the human population.”
These are the recommendations of (*cough*) “legitimate” climate change activists like Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Travis Rieder, an academician at Johns Hopkins University who is leading the charge to get women to stop having babies.
Specifically, Rieder thinks we must engage in “population engineering, the intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations.”
"Here's a provocative thought,” Rieder told NPR, “Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them.” And by “we,” he actually means you—because Rieder already has a daughter, who he describes as “the most amazing thing we’ve ever done with our lives.”
For the rest of us, well … “We'll start putting pressure on families,” he said. “If that pressure's really, really, really undesirable, then, well, maybe people decide to start doing the other thing.”
For starters, Rieder wants to eliminate tax breaks for having children and “actually penalize new parents” with a tax that could “increase with each additional child. Think of it like a carbon tax, on kids.”
“Children, in a kind of cold way of looking at it, are an externality," he says. "We as parents, we as family members, we get the good. And the world, the community, pays the cost."
Bill Nye, who publicly supported Rieder’s population engineering “solution,” doesn’t just want to see fewer babies, he thinks old people need to die so there will be fewer “climate change deniers.”
“Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “So we’re just going to have to wait for those people to ‘age out,’ as they say. ‘Age out’ is a euphemism for ‘die.’ But it’ll happen, I guarantee you — that’ll happen.”
And then there’s your pet. According to a report released last week by UCLA professor Gregory Okin, our dogs and cats are “compound[ing] the environmental impacts of human dietary choices” on climate change. The solution—says the guy who has two fish as “pets” because he is allergic to dogs and cats—is to “reduce the rate of dog and cat ownership, perhaps in favor of other pets that offer similar health and emotional benefits.” Like fish.
That anti-pet sentiment is shared by “sustainable living experts” Robert and Brenda Vale, who suggest in their book Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living (yeah, you read that right) that a medium-size dog could have a similar footprint to a large SUV.
According to baby-denier, Rieder, "The situation is bleak, it's just dark. Population engineering, maybe it's an extreme move. But it gives us a chance."
But Rieder should take solace in the foolish hysterical claims of the recent past. Back in 1968, Stanford biologist, Paul R. Ehrlich, published his best-selling book, The Population Bomb, which asserted that humankind “stood on the brink of apocalypse” because there were simply too many of us.
In it, he forecast that “hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s, that 65 million of them would be Americans [and] … that odds were fair that England will not exist in the year 2000.” He warned in 1970 that “sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come.” And by “the end,” he meant “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”
Yet here we are. Keep that in mind the next time tells you that you shouldn’t be allowed to have pets … or kids.