Friday, January 02, 2009

Child-Free By Choice: What It Means To Me

I'm often asked about my reasons for remaining child-free. If I set aside the personal issues, what's left are the common experiences that defined my choice and continues to define it. First and foremost, it's about overpopulation for me. Here's a few places that do a good job of explaining exactly what the term means and some examples of how it contributes to the damage done to our planet.


What is Overpopulation?

"Overpopulation is not a function of the size or density of the
population only. Overpopulation is determined using the ratio of
population to available sustainable resources. If a given environment
has a population of ten, but there is food or drinking water enough for
only nine, then in a closed system where no trade is possible, that
environment is overpopulated; if the population is 100 individuals but
there is enough food, shelter, and water for 200 for the indefinite
future, then it is not." read more


From Why Population Matters October 20, 2008

"The population of the US is projected to reach 300 million by October -
a population growth rate comparable to that of China. Because of
immigration, the number of people in the US could reach 400 million by
2050. About 76 million people are being added annually. This year's
world grain harvest will fall short of consumption by 61 million tons.
That's the sixth time in the past seven years that production has
failed to satisfy demand. The world carry-over stocks of grain will
fall to 57 days of consumption by the end of this year, the shortest
buffer since a 56-day-low in 1956 doubled grain prices. Despite
continued growth in world food output, the developing world had 815
million hungry people in 2002, 9 million less than in 1990." read more

My other concern is the overall health of the planet. Humans are a greedy species and everywhere we go we destroy something, use up something, or wipe out the population of something. With an Obama administration we will see a reversal of some of the most extreme of the Bushies thieve and destroy mentality, but we need to look deeper and prevent problems from developing into future disasters. Here's an excellent series of articles on what exactly it means to destroy a natural resource.

"Human activity on Earth has always altered the land. When populations
were small enough, and productive and accessible land was abundant,
people could abandon land that had been damaged by overuse and move on.
While some countries still have excess land available, if population
growth continues at the expected rate, virtually all arable (fit for
cultivation) land will be in use.
" read more

Then there's the issue of war. It's usually about land grabs, resource looting, and profiteering off human suffering. But it's also the greatest manipulator of human spirit there is. Those who want war will play on patriotism, fear, and differences to fill their uniforms. But a prosperous society where most are fed and clothed don't pay as much attention to the propaganda as those who are hovering around the poverty line. The military seeks out these desperate people and promises them housing, medical care, benefits ranging from home ownership to job training, and a steady paycheck to lure them into war. In a society where there are enough resources to go around, peace takes on greater importance than war. Overpopulation almost guarantees a ready supply of cannon fodder.

"In 2003 the Pentagon spent almost $4 billion targeting high-achieving low income youth with commercials, video games, personal visits, enlistment bonuses, and slick brochures." read more

I came of age during the Vietnam War. I lost those I loved, those I went to high school with, those in my immediate and extended family to that war. I swore I would never give the government a child of my own for them to kill in their evil wars. I've kept my promise to myself.

Finally there's the issue of a rising religious extremism that has as little respect for individual beliefs as the Taliban have for those who believe differently than they do. This loudly obnoxious Christian Reich Wing wants to ban birth control along with abortion.

"Supporters have pressured insurance companies to refuse coverage of
contraception, lobbied for "conscience clause" laws to protect
pharmacists from having to dispense birth control, and are redefining
the very meaning of pregnancy to classify certain contraceptive methods
as abortion. In increasing numbers, women and men opposed to
contraception are marshaling health facts and figures to bolster their
convictions that sex for anything but procreation is morally wrong and
potentially deadly." read more

As a child-free by choice woman I believe it's way past time for those of us opposed to these absurd policies speak out and let the world know these loonies do not speak for us. Here's a couple designs I made that gets the message across that I'm not buying their crap and if they try to mess with my rights, they're going to get a real battle in return.



The Condom Cross

Fight back against the religious reich's war on reproductive freedom
with this unique design of two condoms in the shape of a cross. Tell
them birth control is YOUR religion. You can buy it on everything from sweatshirts to buttons here

Or you can buy this one that I turned into a statement on birth control and religion:



Looking for an in-your-face response to those who want to ban birth
control for their personal religious reasons? Cross made of condoms and
"Church of the Holy Birth Control." Buy it here on many different items including t-shirts and other apparel.




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3 comments:

Dave Gardner said...

Thanks for taking a stand on this important issue. Love the sweatshirt.

You might be interested in the PSA I recently produced about overpopulation at www.vimeo.com/growthbusters

Dave Gardner
www.growthbusters.com

Pete Murphy said...

Rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. I'm not talking just about the obvious environmental and resource problems. I'm talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

I should introduce myself. I am the author of a book titled "Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America." To make a long story short, my theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption of products begins to decline out of the need to conserve space. People who live in crowded conditions simply don’t have enough space to use and store many products. This declining per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

This theory has huge implications for U.S. policy toward population management. Our policies that encourage high rates of population growth are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

If you’re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, I invite you to visit either of my web sites at OpenWindowPublishingCo.com or PeteMurphy.wordpress.com where you can read the preface, join in my blog discussion and, of course, purchase the book if you like. (It's also available at Amazon.com.)

Please forgive the somewhat spammish nature of the previous paragraph. I just don't know how else to inject this new perspective into the overpopulation debate without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"

Some Crazy Bear said...

Thank you for your comments. I feel more optimistic than I've felt in a long time about this issue finally gaining legitimacy again. The planet is one system with many pieces and I think people are starting to get that. I really appreciate your different ways of getting the word out and educating people about this vital issue because a better world means making less of us. :-)

Also, you might be interested in the link I put up in the strong women post about how the Bush red states are showing an increase in teen pregnancy rates. It's a disturbing but not surprising statistic.