A recent news story caught my eye about how the Chinese government, long advocating a one-child policy, has begun to alter its slogans.
According to the communist party paper, People’s Daily, the government is doing away with such horrific exhortations such as:
“We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child!”
… in lieu of sweeter, kinder messages like:
“Caring for the girl means caring for the future of the nation.”
Thus far, the Chinese government estimates their one-child policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since implemented in 1979.
Horror stories abound regarding this policy, like people doing away with female infants; if you can only have one child in China, a boy is more sensible from a wage-earning standpoint. Thus the new policy contains slogans that encourage “caring for the girl.”
You gotta wonder what the Chinese think of the Duggars, the American family whose brood is so prolific they have their own reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. By “Counting,” producers mean to suggest the Duggars are still adding even more carbon emitters to the planet.
Their twentieth spawn was heralded for sometime in 2011, before Michelle miscarried.
It’s hard for me not to react to the Duggars with a measure of disgust — and don’t even get me started on Octomom!
Last November, planet Earth received its seven-billionth human.
This number, according to some scientists, far exceeds the carrying capacity of the earth’s resources. When you factor in what’s needed to feed, house, transport and entertain that number, you fall far short. According to Global Footprint Network, “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste.”
For those who believe these challenges are surmountable with better distribution, technological advancement, etc., consider the UN’s World Meteorological Association’s just-released report: 2001-2010 was the warmest decade in human history. In fact, nine of those ten years were in the top-ten warmest years ever recorded.
Chilling, ain’t it. Even if earth’s inhabitants could work together as a planet, keeping up with the chaos of our climate change will be challenge enough.
No wonder the Duggars educe my negative judgment. They′re like the Hummer drivers of parenthood. People who have just one or two kids are akin to Smart Cars or Priuses.
Some people I know of reproductive age are adamant they won’t have children. Those folks, to follow my metaphor, are tantamount to opting for public transit or bicycles.
I am reminded here, given the title of this piece, not of Shakespeare, but of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Slaughterhouse-Five. Late in the 1972 novel, there’s a passage where the protagonist’s friend Bernard V. O’Hare is sharing information about population growth: “The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world’s total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000.”
Vonnegut responds (and oh how I love this): “I supposed they will all want dignity.”
Dignity, yes. And food and shelter and transportation and entertainment.
But take comfort. Thousands of industrial chemicals now inhabit our environment, from bisphenol-A lining your soup can or baby bottle or credit card receipt, to estrogen flushed into the groundwater, to flame retardants in your clothing and furniture.
These endocrine disruptors permeate our ecosystem, leading to hermaphroditic fish and amphibians, defective reproductive organs, sperm damage and other reproductive challenges.
Who knows? It may be our way of keeping ourselves in check.
That’s not birth control, but close enough.