May 28, 2024

Childless and Saving the World

The Daily Mail has an amusing article today about two couples who are doing their part to save the world by not having children.

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers – and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Perhaps having an abortion was the right decision for Ms. Vernelli.  Doesn’t seem like she’d make much of a parent if merely thinking about having responsibility for a child makes her “shudder with horror”. 

Happily Toni lives in a country that allows her the freedom to act according to her beliefs, whether misguided or otherwise.  If she’s convinced that she should not have children, no one should dictate the contrary to her.

Yet I can’t help believing that such “firm beliefs” are rooted just as much in personal narcissism as in genuine concern for the future of the planet. 

Having a child is a life-changing event, one that circumscribes a parent’s freedoms and puts him or her into a sort of life-long servitude that we conduct with uncertain hopes of being rewarded in return.  But most of us realize that there is nothing of comparable worth to be found on Earth.

People who don’t want children should consider following in Vernelli’s footsteps.  Certainly they have the right to do so.  But some (many?) such should also be honest enough to acknowledge that they’re doing so to preserve their personal freedoms and obligation-free lifestyles rather than pretending to save the world.

More about Toni:

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35.

“Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.”

While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.

I would think that the world would be a better place for having more children of “green” parents rather than fewer.  Vernelli and those like her are (not) breeding themselves out of existence.  Their ideas and values will die with them despite the nobility of their “sacrifice”.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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