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Dear Polite Offender, - Page 6

post #101 of 132
Thread Starter 
Lux-

I see where you are coming from and you stated your point very eloquently. I understand scientifically where you are coming from.
post #102 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoulaSarah View Post
You have to understand, those of you with minimal children, that there is nothing wrong with a large family, although five isn't large.
Well... To me, 5 children, 7 total family IS a large family.

And your statement assumes that "those of us" with "minimal" children (minimal??) all think there's "something wrong" with a large family. I don't think there's something wrong with a large family. A large family is not for us, but its not inherantly wrong. Is there something wrong with a small family?

Do you believe your assumptions less offensive than those of the polite offender in your post? Maybe your post is less rude than the woman in person, but you've got your own biases & assumptions about small families.
post #103 of 132
Thread Starter 
Minimal simply means less. (As in numerically less children than I have) I had one child too. I had two children too. And I had three children for four years before having twins. I have no biases towards families smaller than mine or larger than mine.

I was talking directly to this woman, in my venting letter, sarcastically. It was not meant to be read in a literal sense throughout.
post #104 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I know you are in a very sensitive place right now, and I genuinely am not wanting to be provoking or make you feel worse, so I hope you can read what I have to say in the dispassionate spirit in which it is meant. The problem that I see with the environmental argument that you are making is that although you may be very eco-friendly yourself, there is no guarantee that your children (or their spouses, or their children, etc.) will be so. Statistically, your family and it's descendants are going to have a much larger impact overall than a smaller family, even if the smaller family is not environmentally-sensitive. Let's say each of your 5 children (assuming that you don't have more) opt for having a similarly-sized family. That means that 5 children becomes 25 grandchildren becomes 125 great-grandchildren, and that's not even including spouses. No matter how careful they are, that's a lot of people taking up geographic space and resources as opposed to 1 child becomes 1 grandchild becomes 1 great-grandchild. Of course, there are other factors to consider when having a family, but the environmental impact is real, and can't be denied. There is a book called, "Maybe One," written by an environmentalist that talks about the issue of population growth and how that is environmentally problematic, even taking into account the common argument that people make of, "But my children may solve global warming, or *insert your global calamity of choice*. I think everyone should have the freedom to say, "I want a big family," and then follow through but to downplay the macro picture of how that family will ultimately impact the earth is a sugar-coating of reality. In that light I don't think it's surprising when some people, especially environmental activists, have anger toward larger families because in their opinion, the sheer numbers are making a difficult situation worse. And to be honest, most large families even in the here and now are neglectful of their place in the overall environmental picture without even calculating the impact of their future descendants.

Of course, it doesn't sound like this particular woman had environmentally-conscious leanings, so what I'm saying is really just addressing the assertion that was made in regard to large families and their environmental impact being minimal. I don't think that's a statistical reality. And to say that it's no one's business how many children one has is also a denial of reality. We all live on one earth, and we are all impacted by other people's decisions, and it would be nice to know that other people are at least considering the broader picture when they procreate. They may still choose large families--and I totally believe they should never have that freedom denied--but I hope it's a decision that is made knowingly, beyond the "I want another baby just because" mentality. In our current world we can't afford to be so ego-centric. But that's just my opinion. From a very human perspective, I wish with all my heart that this wasn't the case.
There is no guarantee that children from a large family will have a lot of children.

For instance, a mom with 2 children could end up with 10 grandchildren (5 from each) and I (a mom of 5 so far) could end up with 6 or even less. (One child decides to not have children, 2 single children families, 2 with 2 children)

We can not see the future like that.

This whole theory is just that......a theory.
post #105 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
There is no guarantee that children from a large family will have a lot of children.

For instance, a mom with 2 children could end up with 10 grandchildren (5 from each) and I (a mom of 5 so far) could end up with 6 or even less. (One child decides to not have children, 2 single children families, 2 with 2 children)

We can not see the future like that.

This whole theory is just that......a theory.

Of course it's a theory but there is actual data to support it. The population trend right now is toward smaller families in general. However, many people (not all) who have large families have religious beliefs that dictate that, which means that if their children remain part of that religious tradition (and supposing that they are fertile) they will also have a large family. Also, children resulting from a large family are more likely to have larger than average families of their own (probably because that's what they're used to). It is much more statistically unlikely for an only child (or a child from a small family) to have 4+ kids--it doesn't mean it won't happen, but it is less likely to. The issue at hand, too, is that having a large family in America is different from having a large family in Ethiopia or Tanzania or Guatamala, etc. Our culture is a "super-consumer" culture, and even living as "green" as possible we still are a huge resource drain per capita. And, then again, there is the issue of whether each resulting child will continue to live with a "small carbon footprint," and their children and so forth. And ultimately, there is only so much room on the earth for sustaining humanity. Our space is not unlimited.

I'm genuinely not meaning for this to be a post against large families--I'm just trying to say that there are real issues that need to be actively thought about. I'm trying to point out that the assertion of having a smaller carbon footprint as a large family is really an impossiblity when compared to smaller families. In the end, it is much less likely to happen.

One of the common comments throughout this thread has been "reproduction is no one else's business," but I think we're getting to a critical point in Earth's history when even this sensitive subject is becoming public interest. We need to be able to talk about this in open discourse. As I said earlier, we all share the same planet. What we do in America impacts the rest of the globe, and the same can be said for other "first world" countries. And population is an issue, and it is becoming problematic. There are environmental studies to back that up, as well as stastics, as well as basic numbers.

But, of course, we all love our children dearly and wouldn't send any of them back . . . and OP, your children are adorable and they are very blessed to have you as their mother. I dearly hope you are not offended at what I'm saying, because I'm definitely not meaning it as a slight against you personally. I don't want to be the subject of another "Polite Offender" letter.
post #106 of 132
Thread Starter 
Lux - I do understand where you are coming from, and I don't take any offense by it. I do what I can to educate my children, and FWIW, I am from a small family, and so is my husband, and yet we have five children. I did have twins, which don't run in the family, and it was close to being triplets, which really don't run in the family! I never thought that I would ever ever have five kids.

What I hope to do, is show the kids that by having our own chickens, growing a large garden, shopping locally all year from the markets and having a CSA (we are in MN, so it's not always possible in winter) buying in bulk for meat from a local farmer, using E85, homebirthing, breastfeeding, shopping second hand for everything...blah blah blah...you get the point...is that this earth is incredibly fragile and that we need to watch what we do to it. I do think that we live in a fallen world and it won't get better until Jesus comes!! But again, that is just me!
post #107 of 132
Lux Perpetua - I understand a lot of your Earth Spaceship argument - only so many resources and a population growing at a rapid rate.

I've read a lot on this too - as part of my Media/Ecologically Sustainable Development degree (yeah, now that's a useful peice of paper, lol). I became a teacher

I believe that the OP can be accurate though when she says that her ecological footprint can be less than many smaller families. Even accounting for the exponential effect of having more child bearing offspring - the real issue is consumerism.

We only need to worry about over population if we wish to continue our greedy, over zealous, consumerist lifestyles. Eventually, if we continue to use up resources as we do we wont have any choice but to live more minimally anyway. Many people have less children so that they can live more financially free lifestyles. How many people say "I cant afford more children" but what they really mean is "more children will cut into my wealth"? People who have more children generally don't earn more money - so they might consume more food and water, and perhaps produce more bio waste - but they have to do so within the same economic means.

Are you saying that OP should have less children because if everyone had 5 children then we would have to eat less red meat, buy less plastic and take more public transport?

Large families cant, in general, afford the consumerism of smaller families. The mind set in large families is "sharing" - thus they tend to buy less things and use them more resourcefully. Even if her children were to have a large family too it is likely that they would share this large family mentality. I think the proof of this mentality is the mindset of those in rural India and China - HUGE population, smaller ecological footprint.

Perhaps the US only has such a great footprint because we have small families and can afford to have consumerist attitudes. Just a thought.
I know you weren't attacking the op
post #108 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
Of course it's a theory but there is a actual data to support it. The population trend right now is toward smaller families in general. However, many people (not all) who have large families have religious beliefs that dictate that, which means that if their children remain part of that religious tradition (and supposing that they are fertile) they will also have a large family. Also, children resulting from a large family are more likely to have larger than average families of their own (probably because that's what they're used to). It is much more statistically unlikely for an only child (or a child from a small family) to have 4+ kids--it doesn't mean it won't happen, but it is less likely to. The issue at hand, too, is that having a large family in America is different from having a large family in Ethiopia or Tanzania or Guatamala, etc. Our culture is a "super-consumer" culture, and even living as "green" as possible we still are a huge resource drain per capita. And, then again, there is the issue of whether each resulting child will continue to live with a "small carbon footprint," and their children and so forth. And ultimately, there is only so much room on the earth for sustaining humanity. Our space is not unlimited.

I'm genuinely not meaning for this to be a post against large families--I'm just trying to say that there are real issues that need to be actively thought about. I'm trying to point out that the assertion of having a smaller carbon footprint as a large family is really an impossiblity when compared to smaller families. In the end, it is much less likely to happen.

One of the common comments throughout this thread has been "reproduction is no one else's business," but I think we're getting to a critical point in Earth's history when even this sensitive subject is becoming public interest. We need to be able to talk about this in open discourse. As I said earlier, we all share the same planet. What we do in America impacts the rest of the globe, and the same can be said for other "first world" countries. And population is an issue, and it is becoming problematic. There are environmental studies to back that up, as well as stastics, as well as basic numbers.

But, of course, we all love our children dearly and wouldn't send any of them back . . . and OP, your children are adorable and they are very blessed to have you as their mother. I dearly hope you are not offended at what I'm saying, because I'm definitely not meaning it as a slight against you personally. I don't want to be the subject of another "Polite Offender" letter.
There is actual data proving that some countries are actually going to experience dwindling numbers as well.

It all depends on who you put your trust in I guess.

I choose to put mine 100% in God That goes for my family size and for the environment.
post #109 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoulaSarah View Post
Lux - I do understand where you are coming from, and I don't take any offense by it. I do what I can to educate my children, and FWIW, I am from a small family, and so is my husband, and yet we have five children. I did have twins, which don't run in the family, and it was close to being triplets, which really don't run in the family! I never thought that I would ever ever have five kids.

What I hope to do, is show the kids that by having our own chickens, growing a large garden, shopping locally all year from the markets and having a CSA (we are in MN, so it's not always possible in winter) buying in bulk for meat from a local farmer, using E85, homebirthing, breastfeeding, shopping second hand for everything...blah blah blah...you get the point...is that this earth is incredibly fragile and that we need to watch what we do to it. I do think that we live in a fallen world and it won't get better until Jesus comes!! But again, that is just me!


We also have chosen to live with family in a multi-generational home to reduce our carbon print ad stretch finances to better serve our family....immediate and extended.
post #110 of 132
Carbon footprint:

My sister has 2 children. I have 5 children.

Her house is twice as big as mine.

They buy everything new. They throw things away when they're done with them (toys, electronics, housewares, clothes). We rarely buy new (major appliances and carseats) and reuse, repourpose, donate or recycle everything we can.

My sister used bottles w/ inserts and formula and disposable diapers with her kids. We use cloth diapers / ec our kids ... the same cloth diapers (purchased used at a tag sale) for the first 4 with a few used diapers thrown in here and there and I breastfeed.

They use more electricity and water than our family. We grow/forage/trade/CSA a good portion of our fruits and veggies - they grew tomatoes last year.

And the list goes on.

Who knows how many children my children will have - they may decide to adopt and/or foster (having friends who are adopted/fostered), not to have kids, or to have small families. My sister's kids may decide to have 6 kids a piece. We just don't know.

All I know is that the odds of my kids living a more eco-friendly, less consumer-driven lifestyle are greater than those of my sister's gotta-have-it-kids.

No matter how many children you have (or not) and how you come about parenting the children (birthing, fostering, adopting), what right does anyone have to say what is the right number of children for anyone or what is "too many"?
post #111 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoulaSarah View Post
Lux - I do understand where you are coming from, and I don't take any offense by it. I do what I can to educate my children, and FWIW, I am from a small family, and so is my husband, and yet we have five children. I did have twins, which don't run in the family, and it was close to being triplets, which really don't run in the family! I never thought that I would ever ever have five kids.

What I hope to do, is show the kids that by having our own chickens, growing a large garden, shopping locally all year from the markets and having a CSA (we are in MN, so it's not always possible in winter) buying in bulk for meat from a local farmer, using E85, homebirthing, breastfeeding, shopping second hand for everything...blah blah blah...you get the point...is that this earth is incredibly fragile and that we need to watch what we do to it. I do think that we live in a fallen world and it won't get better until Jesus comes!! But again, that is just me!
I absolutely agree with you! We most definitely live in a fallen world. And I think it's wonderful that you and your family are so proactive in your living. That really is a fantastic example for everyone. Being good stewards is part and parcel to living a Christian life. I have a friend similar to you--she had one child, took fertility meds to have a second and ended up with quadruplets. Not what she bargained for--she loves them dearly but they were a surprise. However, unlike you, she just doesn't have the energy or know-how to live more "green" under her current circumstances. She's just trying to stay afloat. I think that when you're in "survival mode" it's just hard for people to be able to be think beyond the "bread and butter" to larger issues. I am totally in awe that you can because I know that would be impossible for me. You rock, mama!
post #112 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
Lux Perpetua - I understand a lot of your Earth Spaceship argument - only so many resources and a population growing at a rapid rate.

I've read a lot on this too - as part of my Media/Ecologically Sustainable Development degree (yeah, now that's a useful peice of paper, lol). I became a teacher

I believe that the OP can be accurate though when she says that her ecological footprint can be less than many smaller families. Even accounting for the exponential effect of having more child bearing offspring - the real issue is consumerism.

We only need to worry about over population if we wish to continue our greedy, over zealous, consumerist lifestyles. Eventually, if we continue to use up resources as we do we wont have any choice but to live more minimally anyway. Many people have less children so that they can live more financially free lifestyles. How many people say "I cant afford more children" but what they really mean is "more children will cut into my wealth"? People who have more children generally don't earn more money - so they might consume more food and water, and perhaps produce more bio waste - but they have to do so within the same economic means.

Are you saying that OP should have less children because if everyone had 5 children then we would have to eat less red meat, buy less plastic and take more public transport?

Large families cant, in general, afford the consumerism of smaller families. The mind set in large families is "sharing" - thus they tend to buy less things and use them more resourcefully. Even if her children were to have a large family too it is likely that they would share this large family mentality. I think the proof of this mentality is the mindset of those in rural India and China - HUGE population, smaller ecological footprint.

Perhaps the US only has such a great footprint because we have small families and can afford to have consumerist attitudes. Just a thought.
I know you weren't attacking the op
I definitely think you're onto something. I think, though, in the end the population numbers themselves become problematic. With only so much arable land and water, we can only feed so many mouths. We need to reduce to numbers as well as the amount of resources that we use--but that demands a restructuring of our culture that I'm not sure is going to happen anytime soon, which is why I think talking about family-size is important. It isn't vital for everyone to have small families (or no children at all) but under our current conditions I think that may be the best way to get to where we need to be . . . but these are just my thoughts talking here. I've just read other environmentalists talking about this, and it does make sense to me.

Oh, and I'm a medievalist, so I hear ya about the "useful piece of paper" bit. In one of my classes the teacher used to have us practice saying, "Would you like fries with that?".
post #113 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
There is actual data proving that some countries are actually going to experience dwindling numbers as well.

It all depends on who you put your trust in I guess.

I choose to put mine 100% in God That goes for my family size and for the environment.
I thought I'd just add that I put my trust in God 100% as well. I just also believe that God has given us the blessings of science and knowledge to make more informed choices in all areas, including how much we procreate. Just because a person believes in birth control doesn't mean s/he doesn't trust God. I trust God but I still lock my door when I go out. I just wanted to clarify that point.

Ultimately, we get a new earth anyway, but we still have to answer for why we didn't take care of this one. And I include myself most strongly in that "we." I know I should be more environmentally-conscious myself. Starting by choosing a small family is one way that I'm making that happen. Of course, as I think has been mentioned, not everyone needs to do that . . . it's just something that people need to be open toward.
post #114 of 132
Most of the bigger families I know are pretty environmentally friendly, although there are some who obviously are not.

We moved to Canada a couple of months ago (from South Africa) and although South Africa is a first world country in some regards I have been totally and utterly SHOCKED by the consumerism in Canada (and when I speak to people here who have lived in the States, they reckon it is pretty much the same there!). The paper products; the plastics; the throw away society have all been a total shock for me. These things I don't think have anything to do with large or small families. Some large families are environmentally friendly, some are not. Some small families are environmentally friendly, some are not.

We are expecting our 7th child... When living in SA this is how we lived (by choice and we will hopefully be doing the same thing here within the next year, in the meanwhile we do what we can)... We raised all our own freerange, antibiotic free meat (and supported 3 families who lived below the breadline. They helped by offering their labour to assist us). We also grew all our own vegetables year round (and had the same arrangement with the other 3 families). We had one family vehicle and we only went into town once a week or when possible once every two weeks. We did all fencing, shelters etc. for the animals with what was available on our property - as far as possible. We had our own milk and I made our own yoghurt, ice cream and butter. My dh was in the process of setting up our whole property to run on biodiesel that he would have produced from used vegetable oil collected from restaurants (he finally had the process down pat) when we moved. We had well water and made use of a huge watertank for storing rain water to supply some of our water needs. We used gravity feed tanks for watering our vegetable and herb gardens.

We started making some quilts by using the wool we sheared off the sheep in summer as fillers (we were still in the process of learning how to do this effectively).

We tried to buy used as far as possible.

I am telling you this only because I want you to know that there are big families who really go all out in being environmentally friendly! We all do what we can, to the best of our ability!

My children are very, very aware of the world around them and their responsiblity to be good stewards. BUT we also trust God to know what is best for us - also in our family planning!
post #115 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I thought I'd just add that I put my trust in God 100% as well. I just also believe that God has given us the blessings of science and knowledge to make more informed choices in all areas, including how much we procreate. Just because a person believes in birth control doesn't mean s/he doesn't trust God. I trust God but I still lock my door when I go out. I just wanted to clarify that point.

Ultimately, we get a new earth anyway, but we still have to answer for why we didn't take care of this one. And I include myself most strongly in that "we." I know I should be more environmentally-conscious myself. Starting by choosing a small family is one way that I'm making that happen. Of course, as I think has been mentioned, not everyone needs to do that . . . it's just something that people need to be open toward.
Oh, we will have to answer for what we have done to his earth.

I will, however, never chose the environment over life. For me personally, that is NOT an option.
post #116 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
Oh, we will have to answer for what we have done to his earth.

I will, however, never chose the environment over life. For me personally, that is NOT an option.

God calls everyone to different vocations in life.

~~~~

Ack . . . I didn't mean to be so long-winded in this thread. I'll hush up now so the conversation can get back on track. Can I just say how grateful I am that I have been allowed to talk about a sensitive topic? I know this isn't easy from anyone's perspective. Thank you.
post #117 of 132
I totally get the thing about carbon footprint, and think it is super important. For me personally, my family's environmental impact definiely weighs into our decision making.

That said, I also think that parents *do* have an impact on their kids, and that parental environmental practices can certainly influence whole families through adulthood...they did for me! I grew up in a large size (by the 1.5 kidf family that seems to be the current standard) hippie family. We all have differing views on everything from politics to parenthood, but all of us have better than average environmental practices. Large families have a point here.

Also, I am hearing a biased assumption that large families are usually that way because the mother is giving birth. A lot of the largest families I know in person are foster and adoptive families. My family is a foster adoptive family, and you wouldn't guess it necessarily by looking at us (not by design, just the way it has happened so far), so you might mis-judge us eventually when we have four or more.
post #118 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Close2Me View Post
I have big family envy! If I wasn't almost 42, I'd go for at least 2 more kids and have 4...*heck! 5 would be amazing!
If I ran into you I'd tell you I admire you & your family!
I'm almost 44 and I still plan on at least 1 more, praying for three (or else just triplets )

Go for it!!! : Anything's possible...
post #119 of 132
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
Ultimately, we get a new earth anyway, but we still have to answer for why we didn't take care of this one. And I include myself most strongly in that "we." I know I should be more environmentally-conscious myself. Starting by choosing a small family is one way that I'm making that happen. Of course, as I think has been mentioned, not everyone needs to do that . . . it's just something that people need to be open toward.
I agree with you about taking care of our earth. This is the one that was given to us and that is why it is so important to me to do as much as I can. I prayed about having one more child, and He gave us two. Some families aren't supposed to have more than one. It makes sense to me. We all have our own quivers to fill. Yours is full with one, and mine with five!!
post #120 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovbeingamommy View Post
I'm almost 44 and I still plan on at least 1 more, praying for three (or else just triplets )

Go for it!!! : Anything's possible...


Heck! I agree. Reproduce so long as you can. Go all the way up til menopause. I pray that you get your wish, Mama.
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