Nina Yammers About Overpopulation and Breeding
"Immigration Reform!" - 27 April, 2001
Immigration policy is an issue that generates great controversy. But the immigration issue is so important our nation, and to the global environment, that we must not let this controversy frighten us.
Many Americans are simply unaware of relevant facts. Most Americans, for example, are shocked to learn that 99% of our nation's population growth in this century will be driven by the current wave of record-breaking mass immigration of sperm into uteri (with the remaining 1% due to questionable medical procedures, such as in-vitro fertilization).
Every year, untold billions of sperm migrate across our vaginal borders, placing intense stress on the uterine environment. In their home bodies, sperm have limited environmental impact, but once in the uterus, they multiply indiscriminately. Unchecked, their exponential splitting outstrips available resources, with devastating consequences.
What can be done about the immigration problem? First, we must beef up security at our borders. Condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps must be maintained as physical barriers to massive waves of would-be immigrants. Chemical defense, such as nonoxynol-9, may also be employed. True, these chemicals have an adverse environmental impact, but this is negligible compared to the tremendous damage migrating sperm will cause if allowed to cross the vagina.
But defending our borders isn't a complete solution. Some illegal immigrants will inevitably get through. Although criminals, once these rogue sperm take up residence within the uterus, they enjoy the same comforts and protections of native cells - but exercise no responsibility. Furthermore, the vast numbers of sperm trying to immigrate exerts constant pressure, acting as a profound threat to our vaginal security.
Therefore, we must work to stop immigrants in their home testicles. Our foreign policy must actively promote vasectomies as a means to reduce immigration pressure. Sperm's Rights activists may protest that sperm diverted from any body they wish to enter are denied freedom; but in our current overpopulated world, the rights of sperm must take a back seat to the survival of the Planet. (Even if sperm should be free to leave their residence of origin, their ability to enter another body is not a right. It should be pointed out that the United Nations takes no position on Sperm's Rights.) Encouraging massive migration to our uteri will not solve the problems in foreign testicles. We can be much more effective through foreign aid and by teaching people how to use condoms and masturbate.
If we fail to take action, current immigration policy will lead to the devastation of the biosphere. Help us avoid this (needless) risk. Help us in our struggle for an immigration time-out.
"Pregnancy is a Disease" - 1 November, 2000
Parents and would-be parents want their insurance plans to pay for complete medical care for pregnancy, insisting pregnancy is a disease. Meanwhile, the childfree balk at having their health plans subsidize this care, because it would raise their premium payments. They consider pregnancy a choice, and the attendant treatments optional.
On this issue I part ways with my fellow CF's. Pregnancy is a disease. Fortunately pregnancy, like many diseases that have plagued mankind from time immemorial, can be cured, thanks to modern medicine. The cure for pregnancy is called abortion, and can be performed relatively simply and inexpensively in most hospitals and clinics. For the childfree to insist pregnancy sufferers should be denied coverage for treatment is simply selfish.
Left untreated, pregnancy can be devastating, causing brain damage or even death. And pregnancy doesn't just affect women; spouses, families, and whole communities suffer when a neighbor or loved one is afflicted. Pregnancy survivors are often crippled for life, requiring massive public funds to function. In addition to the emotional toll of untreated pregnancy, the financial cost to society is vast. In fact, the social cost of pregnancy is far greater than that of tobacco use, which has been estimated at billions of dollars. Pregnancy, more than lung cancer, is a national health crisis and cannot be ignored.
I believe health plans should cover fertility treatments as well as pregnancy care. Fertility is a common cause of pregnancy, and can be treated with vasectomies (for men) and tubal ligations (for women). Those who are fertile are at the greatest risk of suffering from pregnancy; surely in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Insurance coverage for these preventive measures could save millions of women from the disease of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a disease. I implore my fellow childfree citizens not to turn their backs on this national health crisis.
"Bad Night at the Moovies" - 10 September, 2000
So, DB and I go to a benefit screening of a new "film" about the Seattle anti-WTO protests of November 1999 (where DB participated and was arrested). Amidst all these activists talking about the endangered environment, and all their social and environmental concerns, and critiquing consumer culture, one prominent activist says, "A lot of people think the world is messed up, so they don't want to bring children into the world. But I think we should have as many children as we can, as many children as the earth can sustain. When I hug my child, there's a special joy, and the "great feeling" they say you get when you buy a new pair of shoes or a new car, that doesn't come close to the joy I feel when I hug my child." (paraphrased)
Of course, my blood boils. After the "film" (which is actually a video, although the publicity fails to mention this), there's a Q and A with the director and some of the prominently featured activists. Said activist, who is in fact the famous Michael Franti of Spearhead, steps to the front with a fabric kid-carrier + offspring. I wait, shaking, hand raised, and when I'm called I say, "I noticed a message in the film to have as many children as the earth can sustain. Many people, myself included, believe the earth cannot sustain 6 billion people. Also, it was implied that the alternative to consumer culture is having kids and spending time with them. I'd like to point out that having children isn't the only alternative, and that there are many meaningful connections people can have without having children."
Well, that went over like a lead balloon. The crowded audience of supposed "environmentalist" activists were silent, or muttered disapproval. One said, "then only George Bush would have children!" (Your logic is impeccable Captain; we are in grave danger.) Franti, bag- o-sprog in hand, smugly says: "I said that some people think the world is too messed up to bring children into it. I say the only way we'll make it better is to have more kids and raise them to be better people!" The crowd cheers! (I wonder: What, are we going to create a race of activists? The activist race vs. the George Bush race?)
Me: "It has nothing to do with the world being too messed up for children. There IS a correlation between human population and environmental destruction and species loss. It's not just consumption patterns, it's also population!" (paraphrased -- I as so angry at this point I don't remember exactly what I said, but I was civil).As I stormed out of the theater, the next hand-raiser said, "well, I'm glad I was born, so I could see your beautiful film!" (CROWD CHEERS)
I unlocked my bike and cried on DB's shoulder. The stupidity, ignorance, and smugness of the "movement" breaks my heart. It's a battle I'll never win. Why do I try? No one in the crowd supported me. In spite of their "revolutionary" and "environmentalist" rhetoric, they worship the sacred cow of baybee, and are ready to denounce any who dare challenge their breeder propaganda (childruuun are our hope for the fuuutuure!). I too am opposed to the WTO, I am an environmentalist, I am very concerned about human rights. I'd really like to help out, but until they pull their heads out of their buttholes, I'm a free radical.
"Childfree Rant: Breeding and Extinction" - 27 April 2000
You know that breeder line about carrying on our beloved species: "If everyone did what you're doing, the Human Race would go extinct!" Most CF's respond with "So what?! Stop taking my money!" Others, more aware of overpopulation issues, say "There are over 6 billion humans on the planet , so going extinct is not a pressing problem at the moment," or, "What's wrong with humans going extinct? The planet would be better off without humans, and we wouldn't be around to feel bad about our loss!" Both statements are true, but neither quite hits the mark in regards to the concern about extinction.
After much pondering, I realize the correct response to the breeder hysterics is to say it right back to them: "If everyone did what you're doing, the Human Race would go extinct!" If we all had kids, we'd rush that much faster towards environmental catastrophe. I'd say "inevitable" environmental catastrophe, but it's not inevitable -- as long as we reduce our population and consumption. We non-breeders are doing just that.
If the human species is to survive the next 100 years, we MUST reduce the population - or Nature will do it for us. We are in danger of going extinct, just by choking on our own filth. Crowding and monocropping will render us ever more vulnerable to diseases and/or famines. Polluting the air, soil and water with chemical toxins makes us all the more likely to succumb to new and improved microscopic pathogens. Our numbers are taxing and breaking water systems everywhere, and water polluted with our own waste is an excellent conduit for disease. Of course there's also climate change and potentially rising sea levels, which by themselves couldn't possibly kill us off, but would make us more attractive hosts for plague. Humans are driving so many other species extinct up and down the food chain, we don't really know what kind of long-term ecological consequences we'll have to endure (the loss of certain insects, like bees, can quickly lead to the extinction of plants, possibly including plants we depend on for food).
Overpopulation alone isn't leading us down this sorry path. It's also consumption. Or, as we population activists like to say, I=PAT: Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology. Given the affluence and technology of North Americans, our population has to go way, way down before we could possibly sustain our lifestyles long term. American "Eco-Mommies" who recycle and put "Save the Trees" bumper stickers on their cars are still, like the rest of us, consuming and polluting at unsustainable rates; unlike us, their offspring will consume and pollute alongside them as they live, and continue to do so after they die. (Some Eco-Parents believe 2 kids per couple isn't adding to the population. This would be true if both parents died at the birth of the kids. In reality, 2 parents +2 kids =4 people, and the parents will have DOUBLED their impact until they die, at which point their 2 kids will "replace" them. Unfortunately, by then their kids will probably have kids of their own, possibly grandkids. Itıs simple: birth ADDS to the population, death SUBTRACTS from it. Unless the births are accompanied by an equal number of deaths, population isnıt stable.)*
*Note (added 6-7-01): Many people assume that when their 2 kids are born, someone ELSE dies, thus keeping the population stable. If our population were stable, this would be true. But because it is not stable, but is growing, the death rate, by definition, does not match the birth rate. To be fair, one might assume that when their kid is born, .7 (approx) humans die somewhere else, so they're really only responsible for adding .3 children to the population, rather than one entire additional human. In addition, people can draw lines to reduce their responsibility: "The death rate in MY (neighborhood, city, state, country, immediate family, religious organization, stamp collecting club) DOES match or exceed its birth rate, so I'm entitled - nay, compelled - to bred." Those of us who see ourselves as part of the Human Family don't recognize these smaller divisions. Those of us in first-world societies, where each individual has a huge ecological footprint, have a particular responsibility to recognize the global impact of our breeding. Adding one child to the US is akin to adding over 40 to a poor country, with the brunt of our environmental impact being felt in the third-world countries we pollute and exploit through corporate manufacturing. Given that our impact as consumers and polluters is global, doesn't it make sense to see our responsibility as global?
Environmentalism fuels my commitment to the Childfree "movement" (although I have many other reasons to be CF as well!) I have no problem with vast amounts of tax money going toward the "common good." I do oppose parent subsidies (especially AFFLUENT parent subsidies with no income caps, like per-child tax deductions) because they encourage massive environmental degradation. "Who will take care of me when I'm old?" becomes absurd next to the question "what will I BREATHE in 50 years? Where will I find uncontaminated water? How do I keep from dying of malnutrition and diarrhea?" No kids will support their parents if the earth can't support anyone.
"Children are our FUTURE!" they say. But there will be no future for any of us unless we have far fewer children. Population reduction is not extinction, but population expansion is.
Pre-Seattle Natalfest Rant - 16 October, 1999
So, I'm at this anti-World-Trade-Organization protest meeting, and everyone's joining in solidarity against the global corporate destruction of the rain forests, dolphins, sea turtles, indigenous peoples, etc. Then they trot out this American steel worker, who gives his heart-wrenching tale of battling his company, going on strike for a year, and so on. Then he emphasizes, "how am I supposed to support my WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN?" Later, he calls for a moment of silence, a sort of prayer for the suffering environment and workers of the world; after which he says, "thank you, I know my wife and THREE CHILDREN felt that."
Now, how is this guy helping the world? Even on strike, he and his THREE CHILDREN consume more than the 14-cents-an-hour third world factory worker he claims solidarity with. They're definitely not starving (at least he isn't, believe me), nor are they scavenging cow dung in the streets to use as cooking fuel. His family's consumption is PREDICATED on that exploited wage slave. Apparently he's fighting for more $ for his family to consume even more. Is he suggesting he'd like the 3rd world worker to consume at his level? Then he and his kiddies can kiss the remaining sea turtles goodbye.
I can't expect him to see things this way, of course. My gripe is that he specifically mentioned his THREE CHILDREN as a ploy to GAIN SYMPATHY for his cause. Instead, he completely alienated me. It's not that I can't accept that he has 3 kids; rather, I can't accept his using this fact as propaganda to further his own ends.
Later in the meeting, two hip-hop/poet performers came out and did a few catchy numbers. They closed with "a poem I wrote for my friend's new little baby," and went on to rap about how "god is reflected in a child's eyes." What, and god isn't reflected in an adult's eyes? Or an animal's? What about all those dolphins and trees these folks claim they want to save? Isn't god in the eye of the beholder? Again, the pro-natalist propaganda was canceling out the anti-WTO stuff I came for.
A lot of potential protesters showed up with their own little kidlets. I imagine they'll parade them around at the big anti-WTO demonstration in Seattle in November. This bugs me too. How can a 6-year-old make up his mind about a complex political issue? The parents are using their kids to forward their own agenda. I don't like it when right-wing anti-abortion clinic-blockers do this, and I don't like it when people closer to my own political beliefs do it, either. In fact, to me it makes their argument seem weaker, like they can't find enough grown-ups who agree with them so they have to press their kids (who are essentially their property until they're 16) into service. Of course, most people will find it "cute," and it will make the movement more appealing to other pro-natalists. But it really alienates me.
Now I think the only big protest I'd feel good about would be something like the "Million-Nonbreeder March." No matter how much other CFers' political and religious beliefs differ from my own, I'm still in solidarity with them. I don't care WHY people choose not to breed, I'm just happy they're making that choice. And the more socially acceptable that choice becomes, the more fence-sitters will feel free to make it. I'm really glad there's such a wide variety of CFer's. Go team!