My wife and I decided years back we didn’t want kids, for “environmental reasons”. Not to “reduce our carbon footprint” (a semi-dubious concept anyhow) but because from our best analysis, the trajectories for this species are extremely unpleasant. Peak water, peak soil, peak democracy. The whole human civ thing is looking quite peakish.
So I had the snip (less plumbing, us blokes) back in 2004.
And then we did an interview for one of wifey’s colleagues. And then it spiralled into a TV appearance. And more newspapers (the Absurder, Daily Hate Mail). And an Irish Radio interview for me. And a near miss the wife can blog about at length, on some mid-West radio station that rejected her because she wasn’t the swivelled-eyed loon they needed.
Recently the World Service got in touch, and the researcher was keen to have me, even after I explained it wasn’t “what our children would do to the planet, but what the planet would do to them”. She phoned back, full of apology a few minutes before the programme was supposed to happen (live) to say her producer had nixxed it.
I’d expected that, despite her assurances, and wasn’t bothered anyway. I get my 15 minutes hee and there anyhow. I also know a little of how meeja works. There’s a frame, an angle, a line. And what wife and I are saying is just not within the frame they are (currently) operating. Give it a few years…
When I had the snip and explained why, people thought I was batshit. Since 2004, a lot more people have been able to read the writing on the wall, and I don’t get the ‘you’re batshit’ response anymore. People may not agree, but they see why I might think that.
So, the phone just rang. A Radio 5 hack wanting to speak to t’wife about the not-having-kids thing. They also wanted an opinion on the woman with the octuplets. Wife is out having a life, not chained to keyboard, so I Spaketh Upon Her Behalf.
I said, speaking for myself, that I wasn’t going to lecture anyone (if he wanted that- then Jonathan Porritt has recently come out in favour of two maximum) but- deep breath-
it’s not what the kids would do to the planet- it’s a little late to be worrying about that- but rather what the planet will do to our kids, and that any child born now would hit adulthood with this realisation and that the sorts of things the radio producer and I take for granted will just NOT be available, that life is going to become worse than merely unpleasant, but truly appalling.
And guess what, the researcher knew where we coming from (i.e. he had done his research) and we didn’t fit the bill, so I don’t have to do the whole interview thing.
Environmentalism of the hand-wringing kind is legit, but a clear-eyed (or swivel-eyed: time will tell) view of where we are going is not (yet) permissible.