The narrative that the world is overpopulated stirs up arguments and confrontation on both sides. No matter what side is yours, it is important to think about the environment in your parenting decisions, particularly when it comes to your family's consumption.
David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, says: "It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue - but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption,"
Related: Want to Save the Planet? Have Fewer Children.
With that in mind, families who desire to have multiple children must consider their consumerism and reduce their carbon footprint. Society must focus on moving away from the emphasis of material wealth and towards a society where individuals and well-being are of utmost importance.
1. Less Focus on Material Items
If our goal is to reduce consumerism in our family, we must purchase less, so that means we have to switch our focus away from needing the newest, hottest items. Sure, your child might want that sweet new video game, but we want to move away from purchasing items all the time.
Instead, switch your focus to buying birthday experiences rather than gifts. Pay for a year of guitar lessons or enjoy a trip to an amusement park.
2. Shop Second Hand
Shopping second hand is a great way to save money and reduce your consumerism. Purchasing second hand also helps other families. Make sure to save and pass down clothing to your other children.
3. Grow Your Food
A great way to work towards a smaller footprint is to grow as much of your food as possible. Whether you have a patio or have acres available, large families can grow food. Plant tomatoes in containers and let green beans grow up your fence. Any food that your family can grow saves money and reduces fuel required to ship food to the stores.
Related: Gardening Tips for the Natural Gardener
4. Support Local Farmers
If you can't grow much food at your house, you can support local farmers. Supporting local farmers reduces the emissions from factory farms and reduces the fuel needed to ship food from hundreds of miles away. Plus, shopping at farmers' markets also means you use reusable bags and skip on food packaging.
5. Stay Home or Carpool
Even if your family needs a minivan, intentionality can save you time and reduce pollution. Large families learn quickly that it is best to conserve trips, shop less, and spend more time at home.