Awareness | Posted by Julie Z on 07/21/2009

“Why the planet needs more non-breeders”

no kids for me!

no kids for me!

Cameron Diaz, the super-environmentalist, has come out as a non-breeder, according to Kirsten Dirksen at the Huffington Post. That’s right, she’s not going to have kids. Why? Because one U.S. person is equal to 20 tons of CO2 per year and 24 acres of productive land. And probably a few other reasons as well, but truly, not having kids is an environmental act.

global destruction. because of kids. its all their fault.

global destruction. because of kids. it's all their fault.

So, considering that the world’s population capacity has been estimated to be at 5 billion and we’re currently at 6.8 billion and rising, and population growth has been shown to add to “water shortages, cropland conversion to non-farm uses, traffic congestion, more garbage, overfishing, crowding in national parks, a growing dependence on imported oil, and other conditions that diminish the quality of our daily lives,” you’d think that we’d thank all the selfless people who choose not to add to the destruction of the world as we know it. No, no we don’t.

We still think that there is something wrong with people that don’t want kids. A recent study showed that childless status could negatively impact the career of a childless woman, because they’re seen as lacking “essential humanity.” WTF?

the childless. obviously.

the childless. obviously.

Not to mention, there are plenty of reasons not to have kids besides, y’know, saving the world. Adults who have children are more at risk for depression, even after their kids move out. Some adults just don’t want kids. And, all together now, women who don’t have kids aren’t freaks and aren’t inhuman. Women are not only as good as their maternal inclinations.

The only thing that this article didn’t mention was the option of adoption. As far as the environmental impact goes, well the kids are already here, and they need love and a family just as much as anybody else. I think the argument that the kid needs to “be your own” for you to love them is complete crap, to be perfectly honest.

I honestly don’t know whether I’m going to have kids or not. I think it’s a decision that people don’t really think about enough. I always figured that when I reached a certain age I would just want kids and then I’d have them, because that seems to be how it goes. Now I’m at least going to really consider having kids, knowing that just because I’m a woman does not mean I have to have them, and that there are a lot of positive aspects of being non-breeder.

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  • Cara Mills @ at 11:55 am, July 21st, 2009

    I agree some people should def. be non-breeders. But Cameron Diaz? That’s like a crime against mother nature. I nominate Andy Dick and Jon Gosselin to become born-again-non-breeders.

  • Niamh @ at 1:37 pm, July 21st, 2009

    There is another side to the debate. An aging population is a huge pull on social security and in the next ten years or so, baby boomers will be retiring and they will drawing on their pensions. Even if not all baby boomers retire, an older average working age could mean a lower quality of work. There was a whole section on it in “The Economist”.

  • Robin S. @ at 2:22 pm, July 21st, 2009

    This is why I decided that even if I was able to have biological children (being gay means that becomes more of an issue, haha), I would adopt children instead. Sometimes when I tell people my reasons for this they don’t believe it–they assume I’m actually just too selfish to go through the pain of childbirth or something like that, like there could be no other reason why a woman wouldn’t want to have children. [/anger]

    Props to Cameron Diaz!

  • Soph @ at 2:32 pm, July 21st, 2009

    Niamh: kids are also unproductive and expensive, as old people are deemed to be by economists.
    You can choose to devote energy and money to raise your kids, or to take care of your ageing parents or friends.

  • My new favorite feminist site « SmallTownGrrrl @ at 3:04 pm, July 21st, 2009

    […] The FBomb has posts about Cameron Diaz choosing to be a “non-breeder” and Midwest Teen Sex Show making a pilot for Comedy […]

  • TattooedLunaChic @ at 3:20 pm, July 21st, 2009

    I’m 32, married and have a great career. My hubby and I do not want kids. We have 2 cats and recently adopted a doggie. We are perfectly fine with this. There’s so many reasons not to have kids, I can only think of maybe a handful as to why we should. I don’t feel my life is incomplete in any way. And now, with this economic nightmare going on, I’m even more grateful I don’t have kids to worry about taking care of, since the hubby and I may be losing our jobs.
    Also, I think I’m too messed up in the head to have kids. Thankfully, I realize that now. I also love the freedom I have. I don’t have to sacrifice anything for a kid, ya know what I mean?

  • Dave Rickey @ at 5:27 pm, July 21st, 2009

    My thanks to Ms. Diaz, and all other voluntary non-breeders. My children and their descendants will appreciate their thoughtfulness.

  • Laura @ at 6:07 pm, July 21st, 2009

    I have many reasons for not wanting to have children, but I never really thought about the environmental implications of having children. Very interesting.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 7:02 pm, July 21st, 2009

    Uhg, you don’t want to know how bad it really is…. I don’t want to know how bad it is, unfortunately I’m training to be a bioengineer and it’s one of those things you can’t help but notice.

    The optimal carrying capacity of the Earth isn’t 5 billion, it’s about 1.5 billion, +/- 500 million depending on how we live. The reason why humanity has survived at such atrociously high levels is because it’s been borrowing from the future, depleting the planet’s reserves(which have been slowly accumulating over thousands/ millions /billions of years)faster than the planet can replenish them.

    So that 1.5 billion number might be closer to 1B or 750M given the damage we have done.

    It gets worse, a week before World Population Day, the United Nations Population Fund announced that it’s reduction programmes have not been nearly as successful as they have hoped, instead of the global population maxing out at 9.1B like they have been claiming forever…it’s going to double in 40 years. That’s 13.6B peeps!

    Er well there is a reason why the UN picked 9.1B as the max,because somewhere between 10-12B peeps, the ecosystem implodes spectacularly and humanity get wiped out by something like Julie’s Mt. Everest sized tilde wave topped with surfing polar bears….na it won’t be that cute of an ending.

    Now here’s where the non-breeding part comes in, it’s a very good thing in concept, it might even become law in 20-30 years, but done smart, and we are not being smart about it.

    The majority of those deciding to opt-out are successful/exceptional people who *should* be breeding, not a slew of kids, just one, and it’s not like every successful women would be required by law to have a baby.

    Consider this, for every Cameron Diaz who decides to opt out, there are 20 utterly unexceptional women who are going to have 2,3,4,5 kids(8-12 if they are with the quiverful movement), so her sacrifice doesn’t make a difference as far as the planet is concerned.

    As for adoption, it’s not the same, we are learning more and more how much genetics matter, some scientists go so far as to say that “freewill” is an illusion.

    The movie idiocy is a highly exaggerated parody of the phenomena, but people really are getting dumber, the Average American IQ has fallen from 100 to 97 in 50 years, intelligence has a genetic component.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 7:13 pm, July 21st, 2009

    @Dave Rickey

    I sure hope the doomsayers are wrong, but if we must choose who is going to survive and who is not at some future date, I will not shed one tear when your descendants are “culled”.

    The world becomes a better place every time a good-for-nothing, greedy, selfish, utterly unexceptional average Joe or Susie finally drops dead. Won’t miss you either.

  • Rogue @ at 7:22 pm, July 21st, 2009

    ‘people really are getting dumber, the Average American IQ has fallen from 100 to 97 in 50 years, intelligence has a genetic component.’

    There are so many variables that affect intelligence, genetics being one small part. You can’t blame a 3 point drop in the average IQ (source?) on genes alone.

    I would also like to know what makes Ms. Diaz so exceptional, besides her fame? Are we really losing out on the next Einstein because Cammy won’t have kids? And what makes a person “utterly unexceptional”? Just because someone isn’t a brain surgeon (or a bioengineer!) doesn’t mean they’re morans.

  • Amanda @ at 7:39 pm, July 21st, 2009

    Sadly this only means the smart ones will stop breeding while the white trash in trailer parks continue to make more kids.

  • Average Joe or Susie @ at 7:55 pm, July 21st, 2009

    @Alex Catgirl

    This world runs on average Joes and Susies. If everyone were as smart as you claim to be, nobody would want to do the manual and physical work on which society is based. So in response to your heartless disregard for human life, I say ‘What the fuck?’. Look in the mirror at your self-loving, holier-than-thou reflection and tell yourself that the world would be better if everyone were geniuses. Like I said, if everyone was the equivalent of you, there would be a shortage uniquness, manual labor, materials, and tears. Reconsider.

  • links for 2009-07-21 « Jet Grrl @ at 8:52 pm, July 21st, 2009

    […] “Why the planet needs more non-breeders” | Awareness | fbomb (tags: feminism) […]

  • @Amanda @ at 12:16 am, July 22nd, 2009

    Amanda, I take issue with your comment. Please reconsider the implications of society placing value only on the reproductions of certain groups of people.

    Children may follow in their parent’s economic/educational footsteps, but this is a failure of the system not of some “white trash” gene that is inherent in poor people. By not assisting families in need (of food, more money for education, affordable higher education, etc etc) we are recreating the cycle of poverty. Eugenics works all ways, try substituting your sentence with any racial or ethnic group and see how problematic it can become.

  • Wednesday Blogaround « The Gender Blender Blog @ at 12:17 am, July 22nd, 2009

    […] Why the planet needs more non-breeders – a post from fbomb, an awesome new young feminist blog, on Cameron Diaz’s decision to not have kids (for the environment) and how women are caught in a double bind where they are judged for both wanting/having kids and not wanting/not having kids. […]

  • Dave Rickey @ at 2:02 am, July 22nd, 2009

    @Alex Catgirl:

    The point I was making is that I will *have* descendants. Ms. Diaz and company are culling themselves out in advance, reducing the competition for those descendants of mine. I actually am grateful to her for that.

    For genetic purposes, non-breeders may as well have already “dropped dead”. Express your moral outrage if you like, but any ZPG program that doesn’t involve fully automatic weapons, bio-engineered disease, and/or nuclear fire, is just mental masturbation.

    My grandchildren won’t care how immoral their existence is by your standards, and neither will the ones you won’t have care about your rectitude and respect for their nonexistent needs.

    Anyway, in case you haven’t noticed over the last 30-40 years, the best population control program is a western middle-class lifestyle. All across Europe, chunks of Asia, and the US/Canada, we’re not even making our own replacements.

    If you’re complaining about population growth and not planning on either killing a few billion people in Africa, Latin America, and the less developed portions of Asia, or embracing consumerism and trying to figure out how to make it sustainable on the necessary scales, you’re wasting your time.

    Truth is, for various reasons connected to your guilt at *living* a high-consumption lifestyle (no matter how much hemp clothing or carbon credits you buy, the mere fact you’re on the internet saying this means you have the environmental footprint of a large African village), you don’t want to have children. Fine, feel free. But spare me the outrage, it’s so hollow it’s transparent.

  • Brooke @ at 3:27 am, July 22nd, 2009

    From a feminist breeder standpoint I’m a little offended by this article. Not that I am disagreeing that overpopulation is one of the causes of global warming. HOWEVER, I think that the statement “non-breeder” is in itself bias, does that make women who have children “breeders”? A pretty sexist word which has been used against women who have children to de-humanize them and their families. Also I think this general argument places an unfair burden on women and mothers, unfair blame as well. Yes, human population increase is partly to blame for global warming. However part of the reason why there has been a huge increase in population has been due to a huge increase in the amount of food via destructive technologies and other political acts, not just people choosing to have or not have children. Labeling one’s self a “non-breeder” also reeks of middle class privilege. Easy if you can afford medical care, birth control and maybe even sterilization. Easy maybe if you can demand that your sexual partners wear condoms. Yet for women who are outside of the middle and upper classes, women whose access to birth control is limited or women who are being sexually abused, mentally or physically abused by their partners, their ability to be non-breeders is compromised by those factors. These women are the most offend attacked and burdened by our society’s anti-child attitude.

    I’m also understand the argument from a feminist standpoint that women should have the option of not having children without being seen as crazy. I’m not to sure about that survey. Being a parent I see myself being discriminated against or held up to a double standard because of the fact that I have a child and cannot be committed to my work environment the same way a single childless person can. I also I don’t think there is anything wrong with seeing mothers as maternal. The problem is when people cannot see the duality, that a mother can be a very maternal, nurturing, loving parent, but also a strong woman.

    What women really deserve is respect for their choices without criticisms from either the right or the left about their reproductive choices. I think if people choose not to have children that is great. I personally don’t plan on having another child myself. However the level of criticism that women have received in this “green” movement for having children is counterproductive to the goals that environmentalist should be focusing on and serves as a distraction to the real issues. Like that Obama fully supports burning coal, a leading cause of green house gas?

  • acetyleen @ at 3:30 am, July 22nd, 2009

    This reminds me of the movie Idiocracy.

    I think one reason I don’t want to have children, is fueled in part by patriarchy. I don’t want anybody’s name, and I am a daughter so MY children wont be seen as “carrying on the family name” to my parents. Lunacy.

  • pmsrhino @ at 10:22 am, July 22nd, 2009

    I’m a proud non-breeder. And the thing about adopting children has always been a key point for me. I would never want to bring a new person into this world (it’s hella messed up) but I cannot deny a child that is already in it love and compassion. If I ever want to have kids (I think I’m already through the good part of my extremely fertile years and that “maternal calling” or whatever has never kicked in for me, though I guess there’s still the “biological clock” ticking away) I will most definitely adopt. Probably an older kid too, people focus too much on adopting “adorable” babies and completely look over the older children most of the time. It would be nice if more celebrities said things like this. Celebs are constantly pushing motherhood at us, and it feels like being a mom is the cool thing today. It is refreshing to see an A list celebrity saying they are choosing to not have children. It’s really pretty awesome.

  • RebJ @ at 11:07 pm, July 22nd, 2009

    There’s plenty of kids out there, they just need to be distributed more evenly into the rest of the world through adoption.

  • mia @ at 8:35 pm, July 23rd, 2009

    I personally don’t think it should be necessary to give reasons why not to have children. Its a very personal choice, but every time I say that I really don’t want to have kids, people glare and demand my reasoning. Screw reasoning. Not all women are natural nurturers.

  • valy @ at 7:48 am, August 7th, 2009

    Cameron Diaz had found another reason why I woman should not have a baby. For me I think she has alway the right idea about maternity. Very interesting! As Cameron i don’t think I’m gonna be a mother in my life, so I think this could be another valid reason I could say when people ask me if I want kids.This article should be readed by those women and men who say that maternity is the main experience a woman becomes complete with.

  • erin @ at 2:58 am, September 21st, 2009

    My partner and I have been together for 4 years and we have both decided not to have children. For us there are many reasons not to – we save money, we have our freedom, and we focus on each other as individuals rather than “parents”. We have a cat, and plan to get a dog further down the track, and that will be more than enough for us. We love our life. I don’t think it’s “weird” at all.

  • one free bitch @ at 6:40 pm, May 29th, 2010

    think transgenderd males…we are geting more and more like women and hopefuly will take the place of out of control breeding is the way…a lot of trannies look feel and act just like women…who needs all paine and grief…free bith

  • Noe Prescod @ at 11:13 am, June 29th, 2010

    I bookmarked this website a while ago because of the new content and I have never been let down. Continue the outstanding work.

  • Sam Wood @ at 12:11 pm, July 28th, 2011

    Have kids! It’s an experience like no other. The earth is going to be fine for your lifetime and several lifetimes over, so its not like it will matter to you what happens. Get over the whole “environmental” thing and just have children. It’s like having a pet, but better!

  • stuntcat @ at 6:38 pm, July 28th, 2011

    I would not give the rest of this century to my innocent child if my life depended on it. I have so much respect now for people who care enough for the environment, and are honest enough about the future, to sacrifice making little copies of themselves. THE most selfish thing that educated 1st-worlders can do from now on is make more babies.

  • JD @ at 8:41 pm, July 28th, 2011

    I’m a non-breeder by choice and it does seem to me a bit of a shame to use (even for rhetorical purposes) “we” to mean “(apparently) the majority” (i.e. “you’d think that we’d thank all the selfless people…”, “We still think that there is something wrong with people [who] don’t want kids.”) Both these statements are untrue (for me anyway). So where does that leave us non-members of ‘we’? Answer: completely alienated. The other problem with this is that it can sound like the editorial ‘we’ that so many people use, i.e. it can sound like an expression of the writer’s opinion.

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