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Having large families ‘is an eco-crime’

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  • Augie
    Having large families `is an eco-crime Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Correspondent May 6, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , May 9 3:02 AM
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      Having large families `is an eco-crime'
      Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Correspondent
      May 6, 2007


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      HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an
      environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent
      long-haul flights, driving a 4x4 car and failing to
      reuse plastic bags, according to a report to be
      published tomorrow by a green think tank.

      The paper by the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) will
      say that if couples had two children instead of three
      they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by
      the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between
      London and New York.

      John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus
      professor of family planning at University College
      London, said: "The effect on the planet of having one
      child less is an order of magnitude greater than all
      these other things we might do, such as switching off
      lights. An extra child is the equivalent of a lot of
      flights across the planet.

      "The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help
      the future of the planet would be to have one less

      In his latest comments the academic says that when
      couples are planning a family they should be
      encouraged to think about the environmental
      consequences. "The decision to have children should be
      seen as a very big one and one that should take the
      environment into account," he added.

      Guillebaud says that, as a general guideline, couples
      should produce no more than two offspring.

      The world's population is expected to increase by 2.5
      billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. Almost all the
      population growth will take place in developing
      countries. The population of developed nations is
      expected to remain unchanged and would have declined
      but for migration.

      The British fertility rate is 1.7. The EU average is
      1.5. In some countries, such as France, the government
      is so concerned it has introduced financial incentives
      for women to have more than two children.

      Despite this, Guillebaud says rich countries should be
      the most concerned about family size as their children
      have higher per capita carbon dioxide emissions.

      The suggestion has been criticised by family rights
      campaigners. Eileen McCloy, a geography graduate from
      Glasgow with 10 children, said: "How dare they suggest
      how many children we should have. Who do they think
      are going to look after our elderly?

      "According to this I would have five couples' quota of
      children. I believe my children will be productive
      members of society."

      For more on the environment, read the Eco-Worrier blog


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