Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Population matters

In the evening yesterday, Caroline and I biked down to a meeting in our Town Hall put on by the NGO Population Matters: its Chairman, Roger Martin was on the platform with Jonathon Porritt, whom he introduced as "Britain's leading campaigner on behalf of future generations". Jonathon (speaking of himself as a sustainability activist) boasted that he'd been described by Ann Widdicombe as "completely bonkers" for suggesting that the time would come when having more than two children might be regarded as irresponsible.

He quoted the 2009 report by Murtaugh and Schlax of Oregon State University, looking at the relative benefit of decisions which have an impact on one's carbon footprint. Based on then current figures, doing an aggregate of "good" things like driving a fuel-efficient car, introducing energy-saving measures at home etc. might save one individual a maximum of 500 tonnes of CO2 in a lifetime. Deciding not to have another child, however, would save nearly 9,500 tonnes - six times the average US citizen's lifetime CO2 use.

It was our wedding anniversary: this is one of the few images we had of us on that sunny day 36 years ago - there were no group photographs. Since then we have acquired four children and three grandchildren...

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