I am a longtime opponent to having children.
This isn’t because I don’t like them, they can be great. Come on, we’ve seen them in their little Chucky T’s, with their tiny skinny jeans and those adorable little hoodies. They’re great. But on the inverse, they can be right little shit-bags and I don’t want their gross stumpy little hands near me.
No, the reasons I oppose having children is less about them, and more about me, and the wider world. The list is long and revealing of my selfish side; it could be the fact that I am barely able to keep my own shit together let alone a tinier, more energetic version of me. It could also be the fact that over the initial 18 year contract period I’m likely to forego anywhere from $230,000 to 500,000 per child according to AMP and The Australian Bureau of Statistics. And, if the child version of me is any kind of indication, we need to factor in counselling services for my mother!
One of the real reasons that I have decided kids aren’t on the cards for me is because in part I am, and always will be, an environmentalist. Environmentalist and vegan are synonymous in my mind. I wouldn’t say it us un-vegan to have kids but it is something that should be given at least a passing thought.
“I also cannot guarantee that my child will be vegan, environmentally conscious, a feminist, or anything for that matter. There are no certainties when raising children and this terrifies me and probably should terrify you too.”
I would hope that if I did procreate that my offspring would be ethical, responsible little punks but we don’t all turn out like our parents now, do we? By having one child I potentially increase my carbon footprint by 50% (initially I said 100% but then realised that I am not able to reproduce asexually – also, way more complicated than that). They could then in turn go on to have their own children, thus increasing my damage exponentially. I also cannot guarantee that my child will be vegan, environmentally conscious, a feminist, or anything for that matter. There are no certainties when raising children and this terrifies me and probably should terrify you too.
Let’s take out of the argument that my child could be the next Nikola Tesla harnessing infinite renewable energy for all by creating the first ever Dyson Sphere. That is a facile argument, and we don’t even want to talk about the other side of that argument (*cough* 1940’s *cough*). Nobody knows what the future holds but I would feel dreadful if I brought a new human into the world who had to endure the ravages of time, famine, war, love, or God forbid, a reboot of Friends!
In just over one hundred years our population has increased by around 5 billion people to hit a total of 7 billion and that number is set to hit 10 billion in around 30 years. With a population growing as rapidly and as uncontrollably as ours is we need to consider the impact our natural actions have on the planet, non-human animals and, our entire race. This is why I probably wouldn’t procreate. Because we should all treat animals the same way we treat humans I will apply the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ mentality. There are so many children that are without homes, food, or love and I don’t think I could morally bring a new one into the world whilst they suffer.
If you do decide to have kids, I wish you the best of luck raising them and I hope that, they’re (vaccinated) ethical, moral, caring, and healthy versions of you!
Editor’s note: The Vegan Independent acknowledges that the choice to have or not have children is a privilege not afforded to the world’s entire population. The author makes his case from a privileged, male, able-bodied Western perspective. This article is a rumination on choices made in such a context.