February 22, 2018

Editorial Staff

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Posts published under the Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other sources, or they may be collaborations by multiple authors. To submit your news for publication on Why No Kids? please contact us via the website, Facebook or Twitter.

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

Today’s guest post is from Ivan Cicin-Sain, an environmentalist working for Population Matters (www.populationmatters.org), a UK charity concerned about population growth. As Organisational outreach officer he is keen to create contacts and partnerships with other organisations promoting smaller families or being childfree.

It is curious that those who are childfree are described as selfish – their choice is one of the biggest contributions to society one can make.

The WWF Living Planet report states that we are consuming one-and-a-half times what the planet can produce sustainably, even though billions still have very low standards of living. (Source: WWF “Living Planet Report 2016”)

The factor that we have most control over is the one we address the least.

Encouraging people to live sustainable, low-impact lifestyles is part of the answer, as is reforming industry, government and society to reduce collective wasteful consumption and inappropriate incentives. Better use of technology can mean achieving the same results with a reduced use of resources and energy. Yet the factor that we have most control over is the one we address the least. In the last fifty years, vertebrate populations globally have dropped by half. All except one – humans. Our numbers doubled from 3.5 to 7 billion, and are still growing by 80 million a year. According to the United Nations, the global population is likely to continue to rise throughout the 21st century, reaching about 11 billion in 2100. (Source: United Nations “World Population Prospects 2017”)

Imagine instead a world where family size was falling. Endangered species would be recovering instead of being extinguished. There would be more green spaces and access to amenities. House and room sizes would be rising, instead of falling. Falling prices of resources (e.g. food, water, energy) would enable rising living standards for the poorest, instead of the current position where rising competition for resources puts increasing pressure on the poor and other species. Even climate change would be a thing of the past, eventually.

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

In surveys, most people recognise that populations are too high, but don’t know what to do about it. No-one wants the swingeing fines China imposes on families exceeding state guidelines or the excesses of local officials working to sterilization targets. In the absence of compulsion, won’t everyone have large families? In fact, the real answer, like encouraging people to be more environmentally conscious in other ways, is not compulsion but freedom. After all, where people have a choice, families are typically low.

We need to give women the freedom to say ‘no’ to sex when they do not want it, to say ‘no’ to forced and child marriage, and to say ‘no’ to pregnancy where it is unintended. We were engineered to enjoy sex and to have children as a consequence; that is why we are all here. However, we know how to manage our fertility and, as a consequence, many countries today have very low birth rates. It involves good quality sex and relationships education, respect for women and good access to a range of affordable and appropriate family planning methods.

This topic is absolutely not about first world vs. third world, black vs. white, natives vs. immigrants, secularists vs. faith groups or men vs. women. Richer countries and communities, with their much higher per capita consumption, have even more cause to limit their family size in order to reduce the degree to which they exploit the resources which are needed by the poor to improve their living standards.

Our case is simple: a smaller family is a sustainable family.

A childfree family is even better!

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

Environmental Benefits of Being Childfree (Source: Holly Mandarich via Unsplash)

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Should Airplanes Offer Childfree Zones? (NJ.com)

Should Airplanes Offer Childfree Zones? (Source: NJ.com)

Should Airplanes Offer Childfree Zones? (Source: NJ.com)

When budget air carrier IndiGo announced it would now offer child-free Quiet Zones on its flights, many criticized the move as discriminatory towards kids. No U.S. carrier has made the change — but should they? Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, and Scoot Airlines have all added adults-only spaces on their flights. In a 2014 Trip Advisor survey, 42 percent of respondents said would pay to sit in a child-free section. But even if there is demand for child free zones, are they unfair to families? (Source: Should planes have child-free zones? | NJ.com)

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Childfree = Time to Do Other Things (Independent.ie)

Irish businesswoman Aileen Eglington, director of PR company, AE Consulting… refuses to be defined or diminished by the fact that she has no children…”I never wanted children,… I just didn’t want to do it. So many things can give you fulfillment. For me, not having children has given me time to do other things. There’s a bigger family out there. I see parents who are very active locally, coaching kids and cheering them on, but you don’t have to have children to engage with your community…” she says. (Source: Independent.ie)

Zero Population Growth and Other Reasons Millennials Don’t Want Kids (Mic.com)

Zero Population Growth (Source: Mic.com)

Zero Population Growth (Source: Mic.com)

When it comes to embarking on the journey of parenthood, lots of millennials are saying, “Meh. No, thanks.” According to data from the Urban Institute, birth rates among 20-something women declined 15% between 2007 and 2012. Additional research from the Pew Research Center reflects a longer-term trend of women eschewing parenthood as the number of U.S. women who choose to forego motherhood altogether has doubled since 1970… In an effort to find out why so many young people are really deciding against parenthood, we solicited dozens of responses from our audience… (Source: 11 Brutally Honest Reasons Why Millennials Dont Want Kids)

When are you going to have kids?

At 29, female and happily married, there is one question I despise more than all others. Its the dreaded, “When are you going to have kids?” People always throw it in there casually, too. Usually between such innocuous questions as, “Hows your mother?” or, “Wheres the bathroom?” Just as Im getting comfortable in a conversation, someone drops in wondering if my ovaries are firing at full capacity and how often Im banging my man. And while theyre at it, whats my current condom bill? Because really, thats what asking about family planning boils down to. (Source: The Most Invasive Question I Get Asked Daily, by Julie Zack Yaste)

Childfree Workplace Stigma Questioned (The Billfold)

Childfree Workplace Stigma? (Credit: Robert Servais via Unsplash)

Childfree Workplace Stigma? (Credit: Robert Servais via Unsplash)

How tinted do your grievance glasses have to be to see a bias TOWARDS parents in today’s economy? I’m sorry, employers value parents? […] Trying to work and raise children at the same time in this country is exhausting and expensive… No wonder parents are miserable… But most of the issues articulated in this Fortune piece are work-life balance issues, common to every American employee. (Source: Can Parents And Childfree Employees Stop Fighting Over Who Has It Harder? – The Billfold)

Childfree Stigma and Burden in the Workplace (Fortune)

Childfree stigma at work?

Childfree stigma at work?

Since the 1970s, being childfree — not wanting children — has slowly become more recognized as a legitimate choice… [but] we still have a ways to go when it comes to society accepting those with no children without judgment or stigma. This lack of acceptance has played out in the workplace. (Source: The Brutal Truth About Being Childless at Work – Fortune)

Kid-free Controversy in Korea

Kid-free Controversy in Korea (Source: Korea Herald)

Kid-free Controversy in Korea (Source: Korea Herald)

Kim Min-kyung, a 37-year-old mother of two children… [supports] the concept of kid-free zones.

“No-kid zones should be called more like a no-irresponsible parents zone,” Kim said, lashing out at ill-mannered parents turning a blind eye to their children’s misbehavior.

“The self-centered parents do not seem to make enough efforts to teach their children how to behave in public, and they get often offended when others ask them to keep their kids quiet,” she said.

“They should take the blame for making their own innocent kids be treated like a nuisance in society.” (Source: Korea Herald)

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