February 9, 2016
This table talk was about living more simply/consuming less. It was hosted by Adam in Room 160.
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In the talk we watched by Professor Robert Gifford, he makes the claim that children are bad for the environment. He puts those people who freely choose not to have children under the category of the honeybee. He also puts poor people under the category of the honeybee. I find these two claims a bit disturbing. Instead of not having children and celebrating poor people for being forced to be good for the environment I think the discussion needs to shift to imagining ways that we all can live healthy lives and consume less and prove that the human race can live with the natural world, and that we are in fact A PART OF the natural world.
If we are going to say that children are bad for the environment I think we might as well make the generalization that jobs are bad for the environment. Take for example, a disposable paper cup. We could all make the movement to stop using disposable paper cups and I think we could all agree that using less disposable things is good for the environment. But, wait a second. If you take out the paper cup industry you will have an effect on forestry jobs, mill worker jobs, paper cup making factory jobs, café jobs, city compost jobs (are the cups even allowed in the city compost is another question), compost/garbage/recycling (who knows where they are actually supposed to go….) collector jobs, and not even to mention all the jobs that go into that plastic lid for the paper cup.
So I guess my point is that living more simply is bad for the jobs market. However the discussion around the need to create jobs is present whether we are talking about development projects, rural small towns, life after university, or the next politician to elect, we all want more jobs. It would seem that to live in a world where children are not bad for the environment, we would all need a drastic paradigm shift. I’m not sure what my point here is, I don’t have any answers on how to have that drastic paradigm shift. I guess I just want to say that if children are bad for the environment then so are jobs. Don’t have kids and don’t plan to make money. Then you too can be a honeybee or mule.