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May 10, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Vogue recently ran an article entitled, “Is Having A Baby In 2021 Pure Environmental Vandalism?” The uproar from conservatives was swift. Many commentators blasted the article, with one major media outlet saying the piece was “ripped as completely insane for calling childbearing environmental vandalism.”

Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy called the article “hysterical,” and one Twitter user said, “These people are completely insane.”

Indeed, Nell Frizzell’s article reveals that she was irrationally fearful at one point about the planetary consequences of having a child. “Before I got pregnant, I worried feverishly about the strain on the earth’s resources that another Western child would add,” she wrote.

Frizzell appears to have simmered down a bit after she conceived the child that she — as revealed elsewhere — had longed for so much. But concerns remained: “While gestating my son, and probably every day since, I have wondered whether having children is, in itself, an ecologically sound or unsound decision.”

“Well, spoiler!” She continues. “Like so much in this life, it’s not a simple binary.”

While her thought process is cause for concern, throwing the javelin of the pen at Frizzell like she’s a crazy woman misses the mark. This is not only because, to her credit, she refuses to treat “overpopulation” as a specter to be avoided, but because doing so ignores her piece’s greater context.

More precisely, what is outrageous about the piece is that Frizzell feels compelled to ask the question that she does.

It signals that we have reached a disturbing point in our society, when a sizable number of couples are staying childless — or perhaps worrying “feverishly,” like Frizzell once did — because of concerns about their children’s effects on the planet, or fears that their child will meet with a disastrous planetary future. The likes of a woman who writes for Vogue is swimming in the sea of “climate crisis” hysteria, and without an intellectual anchor, she will easily be caught up in its currents.

In fact, Frizzell’s piece comes close on the heels of another Vogue piece from March, Emma Harding’s “Fear Over the Climate Crisis Has Made Me Reconsider Having Children,” in which she reveals that she has, tragically and truly insanely, abstained from having children in order to help “save” the planet.

“Our own prevailing rationale for not having children stems from the crisis and the limited time we now have to address the climate emergency. I feel privileged to be in a position to be able to make this choice,” wrote Harding. She continues, saying “it is what feels right for us.”

“Even though up until now (I can’t promise an overriding maternal urge won’t consume my body one day) we have decided not to have children of our own, I hope we leave the world a little bit better for the children I so love — my nieces, nephews and goddaughter — so that they, too, can experience, love and protect the wonder of this Earth, for themselves and the generations beyond,” she concluded.

In fact, these worries are common enough — or at least, politically expedient enough — to prompt several mainstream news pieces in recent years featuring couples who’ve decided not to have children due to the climate “crisis.”

These fears generally revolve around both the worldwide environmental impact on others of a new human being’s resource consumption/carbon footprint, and the perceived likelihood that their child will meet with an inhospitable earth.

In 2019, the BBC featured a movement called anti-natalism, which is “based around the tenet that it’s cruel to bring sentient lives, doomed to suffering and to causing suffering, into the world.” The article revealed that anti-natalists had created an online petition, “Overpopulation root of the climate catastrophe — worldwide birth stop now,” which had garnered at least 27,000 signatures, and which they hoped to send to the United Nations.

The Guardian ran a piece in 2018 featuring people who gave up having children to “save” the planet, including a 26-year-old woman who sterilized herself, as well as members and patrons of the group Population Matters, which campaigns for population reduction. One of the group’s board members, Emma Olif, told the Guardian that having children, “from a biological point of view, is probably one of the most selfish things you can do.”

Then there’s the BBC interview with the “[w]omen too scared of climate change to have children,” who are part of the U.K. movement Birthstrike, “a voluntary organisation for women and men who have decided not to have children in response to the coming “climate breakdown and civilisation collapse.”

“I’m so depressed, I feel so hopeless over what I’m reading, just the last couple of months even,” Alice Brown told the BBC. “Insect numbers are plummeting so fast. We’re destroying Biodiversity so quickly that that threatens our food, and the UN have said that that can lead to the risk of our own extinction. My decision for being on Birthstrike mostly has come from not wanting to pass that fear onto someone else.”

The Founder of “Birthstrike,” Blythe Pepino, in an interview with The YEARS Project explained why she founded the movement, despite her own strong desire to have a family. She cited food and water shortages, rising seas, rising carbon emissions, and fear of future instability because of these factors.

“All of those things blew my mind. My life changed. I effectively took the blue pill from the Matrix and I couldn’t go back with what I had learned,” said Pepino.

“Red-pilled” is a term commonly used in reference to a famous scene from the movie The Matrix in which the main character, Neo, reaches a crossroads: He is given the option to become awakened to the true nature of reality (red-pilled), or remain ignorant and accepting of an illusion (blue-pilled).

Neo is told by Morpheus, “You take the blue pill: The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: You stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Her reference to taking the “blue pill” is perhaps a telling slip of the tongue.

A new mentality that has been in the works for years

This mentality has been in the works for years. Janet Smith, in a revised transcription of her lecture Contraception, Why Not?, given in 2005, shares a sad story that reveals how the “overpopulation” hysteria even affects the minds of children:

Your children are being taught from kindergarten through college that there are simply too many people on the face of the earth. Every child that is being born is being treated as though it's a little environmental hazard, someone who's going to “take a bite of my piece of the pie.” Some children think that they are one of those too many people on the face of the earth. I read about one little girl, nine years old, who came home and threw out all of her dolls. Her mother asked her: “Why are you doing that?” She replied: “Because there are too many people on the face of the earth. I'm never going to be a mother.” She got the message: she's been taught that it is irresponsible to have children.

The idea that we shouldn’t have children — or even that we need to significantly reduce consumption, that is, learn “to live within our environmental means,” as Frizzell argues — is directly challenged by research from an initiative of the Cato Institute. tweeted in response to Frizzell’s article, “@NellFrizzell should read our #SimonAbundanceIndex. Children do not strain the world’s resources. In fact, the opposite is true: each new child is correlated with an increase in resource abundance.”

The Simon Abundance Index, which “measures the relationship between population growth and the abundance of 50 basic commodities,” including food and energy, found that the average person’s “personal resource abundance rose by 303 percent” between 1980 and 2020.

In the United States, farmers continue to be paid by the government to leave land unfarmed.

Even if this were not documented to be the case, it’s strange that many so-called “progressives” — supposedly firm believers in the power of men’s ingenuity to solve the problems of mankind — essentially suppress their imagination about sustainability solutions. That is, if they don’t conclude we must give up children altogether, they conclude that we must live in poverty, or “own nothing,” as the World Economic Forum has told us will be our fate (the original video has since been removed due to backlash).

If human beings can learn to communicate wirelessly from thousands of miles apart, to make 400-ton hunks of metal fly, to make electricity from wind or sunlight … Then why must we resign ourselves to giving up children or living like a third-world country to save the planet?

Frizzell noted that despite her concerns that the world “now is dangerous for children” — because of, for example, the dangers of pollution — she had a baby “anyway,” adding, “Is that because I am selfish, myopic or greedy?… Perhaps.”

But who really suffers from myopia?

A materialist worldview

Those who decide not to have children to “help” the planet are really saying that the world would be worse off, not better off, if they brought a child into it.

There is nothing more cynical, more anti-”progressive,” more self-denigrating, more dense, more senseless, more anti-human, more tragic.

What such a stance really does is expose the frightening and pitiably two-dimensional worldview of the pure materialist, which reduces human beings to their material productivity. If your child consumes more resources than they expend, well, they are a mathematical liability, a useless eater.

Whether or not it is articulated or realized as such, the mentality is that if one human being inconveniences or materially reduces the “quality of life” of another, it is better if the human being didn’t exist. Hence: contraception as the norm, euthanasia for the elderly, abortion of the disabled — abortion, period.

Frizzell’s “feverish” worry before pregnancy about “strain” on the earth’s resources, and her expressed hope that her son doesn’t “destroy” “future humanity,” suggest that she buys into this materialist philosophy.

I imagine that many, many parents have concerns or worries about bringing children into what is — and what has always been — a dangerous world.

But I fear that anxiety about purely material concerns — which do have their place — overshadows concerns about what has a much more profound impact on our posterity’s well-being:

Wwhether our children can establish whole and meaningful relationships in a forever “socially distanced” and masked world; whether our children will grow up in a loving household with both a mother and a father; whether our children can retain their innocence, or even have an idea of what innocence is; whether our children will live a life of character and principles, even when it is not politically correct or popular; whether they will have a firm reason for and source of those principles; whether our children will grow up knowing they have a loving Father in Heaven, their unshakable Rock and reason for hope.

The greatest miseries of our world are not the physical sufferings. They are the miseries of abuse, mental illness, addiction, neglect, hatred, apathy, loneliness, nihilism … And no amount of “saving the planet” can cure and heal these blights — nor will technological progress, and, it is true, nor will material wealth.

Along with a societal return to God, the opportunity to raise and form strong, principled, and loving children — if possible, many children — is a bright and promising, and beautiful antidote.

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Emily Mangiaracina is a Miami-based journalist for LifeSiteNews. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Florida. Emily is most passionate about the Traditional Latin Mass and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church.