In the beginning of Genesis, after He created human beings, God told them to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” British Vogue, though, is sending a bit of a different message.
A writer for the fashion magazine asked in a column published Sunday if having a baby nowadays is “pure environmental vandalism” and pondered if it’s even “possible to live an ecologically responsible life while adding yet another person to our overstretched planet.”
“For the scientifically-engaged person,” Nell Frizzell wrote, “there are few questions more troubling when looking at the current climate emergency than that of having a baby. Whether your body throbs to reproduce, you passively believe that it is on the cards for you one day, or you actively seek to remain child-free, the declining health of the planet cannot help but factor in your thinking.”
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Frizzell — who admittedly has a son — went on to write she “worried feverishly about the strain on the earth’s resources that another Western child would add.”
“I also worried about the sort of world that I would bring my child into — where we have perhaps just another 60 harvests left before our overworked soil gives out and we are running out of fresh water,” she wrote. “Could I really have a baby, knowing that by the time he was my father’s age, he may be living on a dry and barren earth?”
Even with such existential questions, Frizzell said she’d have another kid if her partner agreed to it.
Human Progress, a Cato Institute project sharing “evidence from individual scholars, academic institutions, and international organizations” to show “dramatic improvements in human well-being throughout much of the world,” argued an increase in reproduction is “correlated with an increase in resource abundance.”
Another dubious claim in the article: “Pollution now kills more people than tobacco – and three times as many as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.”
Air pollution deaths are actually going down. AIDS, Malaria, and TB deaths are just decreasing faster. pic.twitter.com/fdIzs8U5O4
— HumanProgress.org (@HumanProgress) April 28, 2021
To Frizzell’s credit, she did admit deciding whether to have a child can’t be boiled down to a “simply binary.” Ultimately, she argued it’s not increased population but the “lifestyle of the rich and super rich” that is “destroying the planet at a rate unimaginable just a hundred years ago.”
She concluded she “attempting to raise a child with an awareness of ecological inequality, who tried to satiate his desires with human interaction rather than material consumption, who helps him appreciate the natural world,” adding she hopes her son “might contribute to future humanity, rather than destroy it.”
She was nevertheless met with swift backlash from conservatives.
Meghan McCain, a co-host on ABC’s “The View,” made fun of Frizzell’s piece.
NOT TODAY SATAN! pic.twitter.com/Nj6XrerSjx
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) April 28, 2021
Others, like Emily Domenech, a senior policy adviser to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), described the Vogue piece as “unscientific trash.”
“If you are lucky enough to have a partner, have a baby!” Domenech wrote. “Don’t let them scare you — this beautiful planet full of innovative people will continue to survive and thrive. So many of us will never get this opportunity. Don’t waste your chance to be a parent because of unscientific fear-mongering.”
And offering a perspective some might have missed, conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson joked that it’s “really alarming that Vogue would let a person write this piece and presume the gender of her child before the child could decide for itself.”
Really alarming that Vogue would let a person write this piece and presume the gender of her child before the child could decide for itself. https://t.co/mMRqmpQNfJ
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) April 28, 2021