Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
raise children. But because the world of that novel could never exist—
for without other living things, human beings would have litle oxygen
to breathe—it is finally a metaphor for our world, and thus encourages
us to think that even if the planet is dying, we should bear children just
as before. In the world of the novel, such a belief is delusional: it is truly
horrific to usher a child into a dead future. In our world, that belief is far
more harmful, for it allows us to comfort ourselves that even if we are
contributing to the planet's decline, we are still good people—because
we are bearing and caring for children. But in that case, having kids helps
us avoid facing the real ethics of our choices. In its gentler way, he Road
also reinforces a mode of ecocidal parenting.
Since we Americans now live in a society everywhere shaped by these
ideas, since our destructive impact on the planet's life continues to grow
apace even after we have become aware of that fact, we who wish to pre-
serve a future must consider adopting the opposite point of view—one
that places the interest of the biosphere above our own wishes. Instead
of raising a beloved child in a ruined world, our beter option is to raise
no children at all—on a thriving, beautiful, and beloved planet. It might
sound like the basis for that choice is a joyous sellessness, an uterly
altruistic commitment to the life of others. No doubt about it, this choice
is altruistic. But only this choice preserves a future for ourselves as well.
Only in a thriving biosphere can we live out our lives in the way we might
imagine. Choosing otherwise might be selfish, but it would also be sui-
cidal—or at least would kill the future.
I admit that it is more than a litle paradoxical not to have children at
the same time as choosing for the future. After all, children have always
served as the very emblems of the future, the embodiment of what is
coming next, the carrier of what will be. Nevertheless, a choice not to
have children today will make it possible for that understanding of chil-
dren to return someday. Once we actually transform our culture so that
we do not eat the Earth as a mater of course, then we can restore the
ancient alignment between sustainability and reproduction. A choice not
to reproduce would make that eventual alignment possible.
What would be the cultural consequences if many Americans took
this ethics as their own? It goes without saying that it would transform
our basic assumptions and practices almost across the board. We'd end
Search WWH ::

Custom Search