02 April 2007

April Fools From the Grist


Yesterday, the Daily Grist got me with their April Fools message:

Give Me Some of Your Tots
New company offers child offsets

Seems like everyone is offsetting their carbon emissions these days, from presidential hopeful John Edwards to the organizers of the Super Bowl. But what about offsetting their kids? A new venture called TerraTots is offering "child offsets" to parents feeling guilty over bringing wee ones into the world. For $100, TerraTots will offset the ecological impact of high-consuming little Emma or Dylan by working to reduce childbirths in developing countries through the provision of free birth control in underserved communities. "It takes 20 Bangladeshis to equal the ecological footprint of one American," says TerraTot CEO Nick Benedict, "so to offset your kid, you need to prevent the birth of 20 kids in Bangladesh." He emphasizes that all the family-planning services TerraTots offers are completely voluntary. Hollywood celebs have already jumped at the newest marker of green cred -- Julia Roberts has offset her twins, and Gwyneth Paltrow was overheard bragging how eco-friendly Apple and Moses have become.

I fell for it as it hit a chord with my guilty conscience about having children in a time when world population growth is out of control. Perhaps it is my friend's bumper sticker "Thank You For Not Breeding" or all those environmental science classes I took in college; however, living in the mountains, we don't feel the pressure of overpopulation directly. I absolve my guilt by reassuring myself that I am raising conscious and compassionate children that will help improve the world. In 1950, the world's population was estimated at 2,556,518,868. Today, it is estimated at 6,605,046,992. By 2050, there will be 9,404,296,384 people on earth (click here to see the yearly projections). Do we have enough resources to support this population?

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