Having large families, it seems, is not only bad for privacy and savings, but also for Mother Earth. A study conducted by the Orwellian-sounding Optimum Population Trust (OPT) states that couples with two children instead of three cut their family’s carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 20 London-New York return flights a year. So switching lights off at home and conserving water aren’t good enough any more. Having ‘extra’ children is an ecological crime.
In India, the line ‘Hum do, hamare do’ was never tremendously popular. Will one have a better chance with a new line like, ‘Prithvi ke liye bachhe roko’ or ‘Have three and you’ll kill the trees’? The problem with an environmental think-tank telling individuals to stop having more than two children to save the planet is two-fold. At one basic level, people — rightly or wrongly — put individual happiness before global unhappiness. Which is why smokers are not sent to Siberia and washing machine owners are yet to be shot by a firing squad for eco-crimes. On another level, having a fixed limit on the number of children a couple can have can only be suggested, not imposed upon — unless, of course, you live in China.
The correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide emissions — not to mention methane ones — and the number of children per family is a strong one. But then, one wonders what would have happened if those wanting to impose a ‘two-children family’ were not allowed to be born as their parents were already saddled with two kids. Who would have warned us?