Having kids won’t kill the planet

Millennial narcissism has given new life to the misanthropic population-control movement.

Ella Whelan

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past six months, you might have noticed that climate-change activism is all the rage. Protesters from Extinction Rebellion are regularly blocking roads, schoolchildren are forever going on strike (apart from when they’re on summer holidays), and every politician with a half-decent PR team is saying Something Must Be Done about our impact on the planet.

While many climate-change activists take these political issues personally – their placards often express concerns about ‘my’ future – some environmentalists have decided to make a very personal decision to combat climate change. The ‘BirthStrike’ movement, an idea spawned by Extinction Rebellion supporter Blythe Pepino, is a group of men and women who have decided ‘not to bear children due to the severity of the ecological crisis and the current inaction of governing forces in the face of this existential threat’. BirthStrike’s website is headed with a picture of a woman’s belly daubed in the XR symbol of Extinction Rebellion. The message is clear: if you want to save the planet from destructive humans, stop giving birth to them.

So-called antinatalists — people who argue for reducing the world’s population — have been around for centuries. But it is important to note that BirthStrike is not calling for the kind of misanthropic measures associated with past population-control campaigns (particularly one-child and two-child policies). Its manifesto clearly states that it ‘disagrees with prioritising population control over system change in regards to tackling the environmental crisis’ and is against ‘any enforced population-control measures’. It ‘recognises the colonial violence of such measures having been proposed in the past and present’.

But while BirthStrike makes these important caveats, there are many other initiatives aimed at limiting childbirth that are gaining traction. This Thursday was World Population Day, which was established by the UN to raise awareness of population growth, presumably to commemorate the tragedy that any of us were ever born. This year, the UN marked the occasion by announcing its support for ‘Thriving Together’, a campaign which aims to reduce population growth, an issue which mostly concerns poor and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa. The campaign is led by family-planning charity the Margaret Pyke Trust and is supported by numerous antinatal NGOs like Population Matters and celebrities including Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall.

Access to contraception and family planning is vital in all parts of the world, including the ‘poor rural communities in developing nations’ targeted by Thriving Together. But the campaign is not motivated by a desire to promote women’s bodily autonomy. Rather, it believes that ‘family-planning provision is [often] the most important way to respond to conservation challenges’ and that ‘reducing population growth’ can ‘arrest the huge losses of biodiversity’. In short, Thriving Together is prioritising beetles over black people. There is something deeply unpleasant about white environmentalists like Dr Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough fronting these campaigns to strongly discourage women in developing countries from giving birth to ‘too many’ children.

Putting aside the ‘colonial violence’ of some population-control organisations, the move to make women’s fertility an environmental issue is deeply worrying. It speaks to a very personalised and atomised view of politics. The most private decision a woman can make – whether or not to have children – should not be made to carry such momentous political weight.

Women’s bodily autonomy is in serious trouble in the current climate. In places like Northern Ireland, Poland and Texas, women can be punished for accessing abortion services. Meanwhile, environmentalist campaigns that hold childbirth responsible for the state of the planet cannot help but make women feel guilty for choosing to keep a pregnancy.

The ideas behind the BirthStrike movement also have some celebrity backing. Miley Cyrus, pop singer and outspoken ‘hippie’, has claimed that millennials ‘don’t want to reproduce because we know that the Earth can’t handle it’. Pop stars might have a reputation for self-absorption, but movements like BirthStrike highlight the narcissism of millennial climate activism. These activists seem to be engaging in a form of semi-religious martyrdom, making the ultimate sacrifice of not having children in order to ‘save the world’.

A woman’s personal decision about pregnancy and birth should be nobody’s business but her own. Any attempt to connect women’s fertility and the planet – no matter how carefully worded – will always end up putting women’s wombs on the political frontline. We should be campaigning to depoliticise every aspect of pregnancy – from testing to contraception, abortion and childbirth. We should certainly not reframe pregnancy in terms of our responsibility to the planet.

Besides, if we truly want to save the planet, we’ll need more human beings – more brains, more brawn and more human ingenuity – to do it.

Ella Whelan is a spiked columnist and the author of What Women Want: Fun, Freedom and an End to Feminism.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Jen Weaver

29th August 2019 at 4:52 pm

The world IS over populated. Look, we are destroying the planet, it’s that simple. We are stuck in a vivious capitalist cycle of corporate greed and consumer demand that is taxing the planet’s resources 100%. We can NOT sustain the population we have when we have to destroy rainforests and other lands for food and consumer goods. CONTEXT here…. CAPITALISM. If we all lived as people did before technology, we would be fine. But there is no turning back, it’s too late. Most of us can’t live on our own piece of land and grow our own food. No one will live without cars, TVs, heating and cooling. People just won’t do it. So, people work at jobs that pay them so they can buy capitalist goods and services. Corporations are destroying the planet to feed you, house you and keep you comfortable and in luxury. They will keep doing this as long as there is demand. The more people on the planet, the more demand, the more money the corporations get, the more they exploit the planet (and us).

There are too many people on the planet to sustain at the level people demand to be sustained. Period.

Jon Austen

23rd July 2019 at 9:53 pm

Why criticise charities for trying to give people better lives?
Why criticise David Attenborough and Jane Goodall of all people?
These charities are all doing brilliant work helping communities who are first in line to suffer from climate change.
To insult them and accuse them of racism is so low you should be ashamed and remove this article immediately, together with the podcast where you casually drop the racist slur several times

First Eukaryote

22nd July 2019 at 4:09 pm

There is a concept called replacement level fertility that leads to stable populations. Basically if each family has 2.1 children the population does not grow and does not shrink. Yeah I know, the .1 is a problem so here is a simple guide: https://www.genolve.com/design/socialmedia/memes?creation=9a3cca7fb6c54e9aa82bb25a6056acd2

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 2:38 am

Re. people having large families in third world nations; the activists appear to have overlooked certain factors which those countries share with working class people in Victorian Britain – no universal health care, no social security, no universal pension, and high rates of infant mortality.
In those countries, (as it was in Victorian Britain), having a large family increases the parents’ chances that there will be enough children who grow up to be capable of supporting their parents in their old age, and take care of any siblings who are unable to work through chronic health conditions through having suffered incurable injuries.
Unless and until third world populations have the kind of benefits I’ve mentioned above, any pleas for them to reduce their populations are going to fall on very deaf ears.

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 2:16 am

Personally, I’m all in favour of these ‘activists’ not having children. Let them put the Corollary of Darwin’s Theory into practise; ‘the non-survival of the unfittest’.

Martin Bishop

20th July 2019 at 10:49 pm

“Besides, if we truly want to save the planet, we’ll need more human beings – more brains, more brawn and more human ingenuity – to do it.”. There are about 7.7 billion people in the world at present…..

Witf Omg

20th July 2019 at 3:29 pm

I don’t know who wrote this, but they are ass-backwards. The opposite of this article is true. Stop having litters! Save the world!

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 2:13 am

Well, the world certainly doesn’t need any more people with mentalities such as yours, and that’s a fact.

Fuck You

8th November 2019 at 10:07 am

Speak for yourself

Jon Brooks

20th July 2019 at 10:10 am

many children in the foster system need parents; human population growth is driving tens of thousands of species extinct. Look up anthropocene mass extinction…it has been happening for a while now…wake up! That is irrespective of greenhouse gasses; so is the fact that pollution from fossil fuel combustion in cars is more cancerous when we inhale it than increased background radiation from the hundreds of nuclear weapons we detonated and the incidents at nuclear power plants.

Plain and simple…we need to control our population on Earth in order to give a chance for survival to the many other species on Earth which are veritably extinct because of human population growth and hyper-consumption. We can limit our population preventively (with contraceptives) or reactively (with world wars).

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 10:41 am


Martin Bishop

20th July 2019 at 4:18 pm

The rebellious children don’t want to stop what they’re playing with and tidy their room up. They want a surrogate mummy or daddy to do it for them.

Jen Weaver

29th August 2019 at 4:54 pm

I totally agree. Wars are a result of demand for resources. So, yes, we’ll kill ourselves off when the time comes.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:25 am

Smella Kneelin’

If l was able to use the free speech that this promotes, then I’d have a serious go about how your perverse ideologies blind you. It doesn’t have anything to do with bodily autonomy. You are a ratbag.

I don’t call them the green-nazi’s for nothing. The whole climate-hoax was perpetrated by nazi’s like Phil the Greek aa a way to ..”conserve” the earths resources for the globalists. The whole climate-hoax is rooted in eugenics.

Check the vid starting at the 37 min mark.


Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:25 am

*this site

Jon Brooks

20th July 2019 at 10:03 am

It’s on youtube so it must be true

fret slider

19th July 2019 at 11:44 am

I think the birthstrikers are to be commended

No child benefit for them.

Genghis Kant

19th July 2019 at 10:05 am

The only purpose to human existence is to prepare the next generation to become adults capable of looking after the generation that follows them in order for that generation to become parents themselves.

Everything else is just farting around.

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 10:19 am

So where does your post fit in to that sole purpose?

fret slider

19th July 2019 at 3:14 pm


You declared; “There is no biological impulse to reproduce”

The entire 6 kingdoms of life say you are terribly wrong about that.

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 11:23 pm


We are talking about human beings in this discussion not the ‘six kingdoms’.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:29 am

You’re not still going on about that are you, Tim?

fret slider

20th July 2019 at 10:11 am


Now you declare your ignorance on the subject

“There is no biological impulse to reproduce”
“We are talking about human beings in this discussion”

So, you are of the belief that Homo sapiens sapiens is not an animal? Really?

In order for any species to persist, they must by definition reproduce to ensure the continuation of their species.

Without reproduction the species ceases to exist. Duh. The capacity for reproduction and the drive to do so whenever physiological and environmental conditions allow it are universal among living organisms.

Never heard of evolution?

Tim Hare

20th July 2019 at 10:49 am

Your argument is that all animals have a biological urge to reproduce. You rightly declare that human beings are animals and from this you deduce that human beings must have a biological urge to reproduce.

That is very poor logic unless you can prove that all animals including humans have that urge to reproduce. The fact that humans choose to reproduce is not proof of your ‘biological urge’. It is only proof that they have the option to reproduce.

If it is such an urge how come so many people choose not to reproduce? Is there something wrong with them?

fret slider

20th July 2019 at 12:22 pm

Ask yourself why animals, including humans, have a powerful sex drive.

What is the point of that?

The only real difference betwee humans and othaer animals is the ability to think.

“If it is such an urge how come so many people choose not to reproduce”

So many? It’s a gaussian distribution in the population. The same goes for homosexuality.

If it isn’t such an urge why are so many desperate enough to go through IVF?

Tim Hare

20th July 2019 at 12:49 pm

Having a powerful sex drive is also matched by the ability to control it and use it reasonably. In other words we have a choice about what to do with our sexual feelings. We can think and reason and this makes us different from other animals. So we have a choice about what we do with our sexual feelings. We can choose to use them or not for reproduction.

Our choice should be reasonable and if our choice involves experiencing pain then the powerful drive to avoid pain will come into play. Women can avoid that powerful drive to avoid pain but the question is why does any individual woman choose to avoid the drive to avoid pain. What force is at work that makes them deny such a basic instinct to avoid pain?

The only reasonable conclusion is that they are driven by emotional pressures to avoid the pain of childbirth. Those who pursue IVF are driven by the same emotional pressures to have children. As you say they are desperate – not rational.

fret slider

20th July 2019 at 1:39 pm

You miss the point completely – intentionally? I think so.

It’s a gaussian distribution.

I’m guessing you have no children of your own. Yes childbirth in humans is a generally more painful experience, but it pales into insignificance once the child is born. That’s why many women have more than one child. Plus there’s the numbers game. Fortunately, mortality is way down today and larger families area thing of the past.

Modern medicine hasn’t been around for over 100,000 years. Humans have. According to your logic we should have become extinct at least 70 centuries ago.

Sharon Muench

21st July 2019 at 8:17 am

Tim Hare, I am rolling my eyes at your arguments; I can only assume you are very young, very male, and not a parent. I speak as a 68 year old woman who has given birth to and raised two children and now delight in two, and hopefully more in years to come, grandchildren. And honestly, your arguments are theoretical nonsense.

Most women who have the choice still want children. Most women who don’t want children — and I know a few — don’t make this decision because of the inconvenience and pain of pregnancy and childbirth, but for personal lifestyle reasons: career, more freedom, financial independence etc. and now environment comes into the mix. I’ve listened to many childless/childfree free women and not one has ever cited pain as the reason for her decision.

What you may not understand is that whatever pain there is, vanishes in a twinkling once the baby is born and is healthy, as we all hope. I was lucky enough to have two relatively straightforward and pain-free pregnancies and births, and I can say unequivocally that my two children have given me such joy, such immense fulfillment, that they are far and away the best things to ever have happened to me, and now that they are adult they are my very best friends.

Mothers (granted, not all) know this.
Pregnancy and childbirth gave me a new understanding and respect for my body that I could never have come near to guessing at beforehand. As a man you cannot be expected to understand this; perhaps as an expectant father, you might. The sheer miracle of birth, the experience of knowing a human being is growing inside you and then holding that perfect being in your arms, watching him or her grow and develop — well, what can I say? No other human experience even comes near. Yes, I am lucky in that all went well; some women are not so lucky.

But assuming a best-case scenario: most women want children, and always will. It is an instinct, ingrained, and even women who don’t particularly like sex or have a low sexual urge, will still do it because they want children. Even women who had no choice in the matter, as in the poor regions of the world; women who were forced into marriage and thus into childbirth: their children remain for every one of them the most precious “things” in their lives, more so than their husbands.
Having children and then treasuring them above all else is perhaps the most basic of all human instincts.

True, now that we have a choice some or many choose not to reproduce. Yet we still do it. And Western societies, where most of the women making that choice live, are actually in crisis because of too few children and a lopsided generational pyramid. The low birth rates in our privileged societies today is going to cause huge problems down the line; it’s already the case in countries such as Germany, where the contributions of the working young pay for the pensions of the elderly.

Who is going to care for all the childless humans when they grow old? Who will support them, financially and practically?

Thank goodness, most of us still want and cherish children.

Claire D

22nd July 2019 at 2:05 pm

That’s beautifully put, thank you Sharon. I also have 2 children, 1 of each and for me too, they are the best things that ever happened to me and most precious. My first labour lasted 3 days and was extremely difficult, all forgotten the moment my baby was put into my arms.

Claire D

22nd July 2019 at 2:14 pm

Pure joy.
I meant to add.

Jerry Owen

19th July 2019 at 9:24 am

ER Is a sort of coming together of liberal leftists, socialists, communists and watermelon environmentalists ( and no doubt anti Brexiteers ). It is clearly a cult based on .. well not science for sure if Thunberg and Attenborough are the spearheads of AGW.
We had YK2 ( If I remember correctly ) where all the computers would crash and your car wouldn’t start, we had the ‘ice age cometh’ in the seventies ( it is coming but not for a decade or so ). We had the end of the world coming in 2012, it is still here. We now have the end of the world in eleven years time ( twelve in America ).
It is funny that we only have eleven years left to live but the students made sure they finished their exams, and college / unis closed for the summer before they started to save the planet, by disrupting others right to work.
To date it appears that the only thing ER has done to save the planet is stop hundreds of thousands of people earning a living and more pollution in the streets from stationary vehicles.
If the west lessens its child birth rates it will impact negatively on Africa as it depends so much on our aid.. is this racist of them?
There is some good news though.. as a rule when students actually get a job and realize putting food on the table out of your own efforts and not the public money tree known as taxes , their minds become more focused.Many of us have been there, it’s called growing up.
David Attenborough has been wittering on about population growth for decades in an unpleasant racist way. he has a love for all animals and yet a loathing for humans especially black ones it would appear. What a nasty man he really is.

fret slider

19th July 2019 at 11:47 am

“not science for sure if Thunberg and Attenborough are the spearheads of AGW.”

Did you not know?

““Greta is able to see what other people cannot see,” writes Malena Ernman in the book.

“She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She sees how it flows out of chimneys and changes the atmosphere in a landfill.”

Believe that and you’ll believe anything.

Jon Austen

23rd July 2019 at 10:01 pm

David Attenborough a nasty racist?
Jesus wept, the man is a saint.

Danny Rees

19th July 2019 at 1:48 am

“The ideas behind the BirthStrike movement also have some celebrity backing. Miley Cyrus, pop singer and outspoken ‘hippie’, has claimed that millennials ‘don’t want to reproduce because we know that the Earth can’t handle it’.”

Aww damn it.

Oh well there’s always that Dua one or Selena Gomez.

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 12:09 am

Presumably if the planet was in better condition these women would be only too happy to have children and perhaps that is just an excuse to avoid pregnancy and child rearing.

Maybe there is a growing instinct in women that having children is doing violence to their bodies but that they must ‘justify’ that feeling by aligning it to some political cause. Pregnancy and childbirth are very uncomfortable and painful experiences and the denial of women about that is one of the most ingrained conspiracies in society. Women do not have the ‘autonomy’ over their bodies that they would like to think. They are in fact victims of pronounced emotional manipulation to maintain the façade that ‘it is all worth it.’

More and more women are opting out of having children but none of them seem to be able to claim that it is because of the pain that they must endure. The environmental crisis gives them a rationalisation to cling to but it would be much better for all mankind if they had the integrity to live in harmony with their own bodies.

Claire D

19th July 2019 at 9:31 am

For most women most of the time it is absolutely all worth it, if it was’nt the human race would have died out long ago.
As for the pain – phooey, there’s no life without pain, and today we are spoilt for choice for pain relief if that’s what we want, it’s not always necessary.

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 9:46 am

For most of history women didn’t have a choice since they could not easily contol getting pregnant so you cannot say that it was worth it when there was no choice in the matter.

There is no life without pain but why would you deliberately choose it when you don’t have to? Why would you take pain killers to relieve the pain of something that you do not have to endure in the first place?

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:40 am

Timmy Threadbare.

I stopped calling you that silly name because you stopped being a virtue-signaller. I think it’s only fair to inform you that l don’t like to gang-up on you, but l would’ve said something anyway. And that Claire has nothing to apologise for..her first instincts were correct.

Sharon Muench

21st July 2019 at 8:57 am

Tim Hare said: “Maybe there is a growing instinct in women that having children is doing violence to their bodies but that they must ‘justify’ that feeling by aligning it to some political cause. Pregnancy and childbirth are very uncomfortable and painful experiences and the denial of women about that is one of the most ingrained conspiracies in society. ”

And you know this — how? Pregnancy and childbirth, in addition to being at times uncomfortable and painful, are also the most profound experiences; they are rites of passage of huge significance and offering the possibility of enormous emotional growth. No matter how many billions of births there are: every single baby born is a living testament to the very miracle of human existence. You might dismiss these words as airy-fairy nonsense (I think you will!) but perhaps you’re just too young, too male and to woke to get it.

Claire D

22nd July 2019 at 7:36 am

Sharon, you have got to the heart of the matter.

Claire D

19th July 2019 at 11:26 am

There is little evidence that over the past 1000 years women were systematically forced into marriage. Most of the evidence suggests they entered marriage willingly, and marriage meant having children unless the husband was impotent or the wife barren. The evidence suggests these conditions were matters of sorrow not celebration.
The evidence from personal correspondence from the Early Modern period at least suggests women wanted children. Your focus on the pain of childbirth is interesting, a woman’s focus is different, they do not choose pain, they choose to have a child, the pain, which varies, is secondary to the biological impulse to reproduce.

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 12:20 pm

But the issue is not whether they were forced into marriage – it is whether they had a choice about having children. That is what the article is about. I think they had very little choice, once married, about controlling their fertility before reliable contraception was available. If they had very little choice then you cannot claim that they invariably had children because they thought it was worth it. Making a judgement about the worth of something pre-supposes you have a choice.

The evidence might suggest that women wanted children but that does not tell us why they wanted children. The evidence also suggests that childbirth was very painful so why did these women ignore the certainty of pain?

Both men and women know what pain is and that both genders experience it in much the same way. Women choose to have a child but they cannot make that choice without also choosing pain. They don’t have to have a child and therefore do not have to feel that pain.

There is no biological impulse to reproduce. It is a choice. Many women make the choice not to reproduce and it does not seem to harm them in any way so it can’t be that much of an impulse.

fret slider

19th July 2019 at 12:25 pm

Isn’t it funny how [Tim] a man knows better than a woman about childbirth!

Claire D

19th July 2019 at 1:47 pm

there’s always one.

What on earth do you think sex is if it’s not the biological urge to reproduce ?
It’s not irresistible for nothing.
Contraception is’nt so very new. Midwives knew about abortifacients as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, at least. Prostitutes used natural sponges drenched in honey as an early form of cap, it probably offered a degree of protection against VD and Syphilis as well as being a contraceptive device. It’s possible wealthy married women may also have used these.
It does’nt do to underestimate the resourcefulness of women, either now or in the past.

fret slider

19th July 2019 at 3:07 pm

They don’t come much more woke than that do they, Claire!

Tim Hare

19th July 2019 at 11:21 pm

“there’s always one.” Always one what? Why not just present your arguments rather that join Fret Slider in his childish sniping?

Sex is a biological urge to release sexual tension. You don’t have to have sex to release sexual tension. Reproduction is a choice and so is sex. There are no urges to reproduce. What is wrong with all those women who choose not to reproduce? Are you saying they are fundamentally flawed in some way, denying their fundamental urges?

There may have been successful attempts at contraception in the past but there were far more unsuccessful attempts and unwanted pregnancies. If it was all so successful then there would have been no need to develop modern contraceptives. The pill liberated women because they needed liberation.

Claire D

20th July 2019 at 8:24 am

Sorry about ” there’s always one “. I did regret it within moments.

From an evolutionary biological perspective there is no doubt that essentially ‘ sexual tension ‘ , ‘ libido ‘ or the ‘ biological urge to reproduce ‘ leads to sex, leads to conception, leads to childbirth 9 months later. However, human beings being the complicated creatures that we are and not animals, can choose to do a number of different things with that sex urge, which I am not about to go into, we all know what they are.
Re: your point about women and wrongness, not sure how you have managed to extract any implied moral viewpoint from anything I’ve said so far.

There are problems with the Pill for many women; thrombosis, cancer, depression ( Microgynon 30 the worst culprit ), migraine, weight gain, lack of libido (or sexual tension if you like), and on stopping taking it, temporary infertility and miscarriages. These might be considered a high price to pay for ‘ liberation ‘.
Sadly modern contraceptives did not prevent nearly 200,000 abortions taking place last year. An example perhaps of both the power of the sex urge and the failure of humans to manage it effectively. And I am implying a moral viewpoint here.

Tim Hare

20th July 2019 at 11:01 am

I wasn’t implying any kind of ‘moral’ judgement. If women are driven to reproduce then it is obviously not a choice. You cannot be both driven by nature and also have the capacity to choose. So if many women do not try and reproduce then they are going against what you see as their natural drive and going against your human nature is wrong. If we do not adhere to our nature then what is our guiding principle?

There are problems with the Pill but an overwhelming number of women find that the advantages outweigh any disadvantages. It would not have such widespread use if it was so problematic. It might fail and abortions might be necessary but so did all the other types of contraception you mentioned.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:47 am

Timmy Threadbare.

I put it to you that you are in fact a green-nazi with a latent eugenecist-bent?

Cody Bailey

18th July 2019 at 10:09 pm

Shhhhh! It is a self-solving problem.

Martin Bishop

19th July 2019 at 7:44 am

Famine and disease?

Martin Bishop

18th July 2019 at 8:32 pm

What is the UKs maximum sustainable population level?

Jerry Owen

18th July 2019 at 8:55 pm

If you mean the amount of land needed to supply food , power etc for one person. Fifty five thousand according to a paper written in the sixties I understand. However technology gets better so it would be more now.

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 3:13 am

Sorry? When you say “55,000”, do you mean 55,000 acres to provide for one person? A maximum population of 55,000? Or what?
Just before the onset of the Black Death (1348-49), it’s estimated that the population of England was 4.8 million. Granted, many of those people would be on minimal rations and with little in the way of what we would call basic facilities (and what we’d call ‘essentials’!), but that was with very little to help them in producing food and goods.
And look at how much we achieved between 1940 and 1945 in minimising our imports of foods – even though a huge proportion of our labour force was tied up in military service, and so many of our farms were still totally reliant on horse-drawn implements and human muscle.

Source quoted: S. Broadberry et al (2010), “English Medieval Population”.

L Strange

18th July 2019 at 8:14 pm

Probably just as well these BirthStrike people have clambered out of the gene-pool.

Winston Stanley

18th July 2019 at 9:22 pm

The soy boys will be burning their man bras next.

Danny Rees

19th July 2019 at 1:49 am

Male feminists don’t want to reproduce because they don’t want to run the risk that their offspring might be men thus foisting more oppression on women.

Martin Bishop

19th July 2019 at 8:02 am

Are views on population sustainability influenced by genes?

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:51 am

That depends on whether you’re talking to fags and dykes about it or not.

Justin Bieber

18th July 2019 at 7:50 pm

If a Scottish person doesn’t water their garden – the saved water doesn’t somehow appear in an African nation with limited fresh water

If an Irish person doesn’t have kids, they aren’t in anyway helping to address the impact of over population in countries like Bangladesh

I know people who no longer use straws cause they saw some turtle video on Facebook, even though we don’t have turtles and don’t chuck our rubbish in the ocean – people are mental.

Jim Lawrie

18th July 2019 at 10:15 pm

Justin the problem in Scotland is getting rid of the stuff.

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 2:51 am

Jim Lawrie: ” . . the problem in Scotland is getting rid of the stuff.” (i.e., plastic)
The best way to ensure that your local authority doesn’t sell the ‘plastic for recycling’ to a third world country (where it will be dumped in an open landfill or thrown into the nearest river) is to do the same as the Swedes do – burn it in very high temperature, high efficiency incinerators, with exhaust scrubbers to minimise any harmful emissions. The Swedes then pipe the heat produced to nearby buildings, reducing their consumption of heating fuel.
The incinerators use very little fuel themselves, because once the plastic is ignited, it produces all the heat required to finish the job.
By the by, anyone who tells you that all the plastic in your wheelie bin can be recycled is either very ignorant about plastics, or lying. There is no way that a mix of nylon, PVC, high density polythene, low density polythene, polystyrene, acrylic, polypropylene, polyurethane and all the rest can be separated out – or mixed together and moulded into a new product.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 9:59 am

You’re right Justin. But they mix up a load of non-problems, and the actual problem of unnecessarily dangerously-shaped bits plastic harming animals is. I know it sounds funny, but environmentalists have an important part to play in helping to design an environment that isn’t so harmful to animals. Businesses are greedy. The problem is now that environmentalists are mental, and have lost all credibility.

Winston Stanley

18th July 2019 at 7:30 pm

Indeed we cannot discount the likelihood that some pseudo-religious impulse is at play. Religions often glorify a masochistic, moralistic, penitential inclination toward celibacy.

Matt 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Matt 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

In past times these sort of folks may well have found their way into monasteries or to sects like the Shakers to live a life largely apart from society. These days they are all over Twitter with their selfies and protesting on the streets to promote their self-righteousness and to crusade for converts.

“Look at me everyone, see how holy and moral I am, I have made myself a eunuch. You too can be an angelic saint. Join the moral cause, make your sacrifice and you too shall inherit the earth.”

Likewise the impulse to make a virtue of poverty and hunger, and of distance from mainstream society.

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

In the past they may well have gone off as Puritans to the New World to establish the righteous land. Now they fancy that they have a whole continent like Africa in which to establish their new Kingdom of poverty, hunger and celibacy. Who needs missionaries when we have XR?

Winston Stanley

18th July 2019 at 8:03 pm

Of course these days they do not have to actually abstain from s/x, they can just use contraception or have a vasectomy, and have all the s/x they like. No need to withdraw into a monastery either, get up on Twitter and out on the streets. And no need to journey to America in search of the New promised land, just promote population control and austerity in Africa. Let someone else go hungry. How easy “sanctity” is for millennials.

Winston Stanley

19th July 2019 at 5:56 am

That cross in XR is starting to look suspicious.

Much like one of those frames that masochists like to be strapped to spread eagle and flogged by their mistress. “Save a tree with every stroke of self-denial.”

And not far off the XP of the christogram, one of the earliest Christian symbols.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 10:03 am

Ura shaker.

Anita Page

18th July 2019 at 7:21 pm

Actually there is a huge unmet demand for family planning options in developing countries. People aren’t just having children because they choose to, sometimes they don’t have the choice you do. In Africa about 25% of women have an unmet need for contraceptives. That’s like if one in four of your friends could never use them. Providing family planning options benefits livelihoods because women can choose to pursue education, work more, choose how to space their children and how many to have. Many women want this so they can invest more in each child.

Linda Payne

18th July 2019 at 6:58 pm

After WW2 women were pressured back into the home and basically encouraged to have children, when it suits the agenda of the elite it’s OK to breed, now the green movement are saying the opposite and the elite are quite happy with this because they no longer need the working class to breed in the way they used to to provide labour, they have immigration for this. It is quite sickening to focus on fertility rates in the undeveloped world because it gives the lie that their problems can be solved by having fewer children yet the reason is because in order to survive they have more children just like in early industrial England. An aside, I am getting tired of the green and climate change movements using children to further their agenda, making them scared for their future with their doom laden prophesies, they act like some religion getting into the minds of the young, getting them fired up so they take to the streets and risk arrest because they think the world’s going to end

Claire D

19th July 2019 at 9:53 am

From what I’ve read and learnt from the women who were young in the 1940s and 50s there was a pretty strong feeling amongst them that they wanted to settle down after the violent upheavals of war and have a family. Probably instinctive.
The post-war government encouraged it certainly but ‘pressured ‘ ? I have my doubts about the Feminist and Post-Modernist analysis of History, which is pervasive on the television, in film and, alas, in education at present.
I agree with you about children being used, I wish they’d leave them in peace.

Jack Enright

22nd July 2019 at 2:27 am

Claire D said “From what I’ve read and learnt from the women who were young in the 1940s and 50s there was a pretty strong feeling amongst them that they wanted to settle down after the violent upheavals of war and have a family. Probably instinctive.”
If what I’ve read elsewhere is correct, Claire, you have the right of it. The human reaction to “Have more children!”, even in the middle of a disastrous war, has been noted in many times and places – and not just in the human race, either.
She-wolves have been noted for their seeming ability to adjust the sizes of their litters to match factors such as the numbers of wolves in the area, and the availability of food – and it makes good species survival sense. If some calamity befalls the wolf population in an area, then having larger litters makes sense to prevent breeding populations falling to the danger point where in-breeding is a risk. Equally, if wolf numbers are well up, then having fewer offspring (as has happened with human beings in many western nations) to minimise risks of over-crowding and over-use of available resources, is just as important.

James Chilton

18th July 2019 at 6:10 pm

Whatever strident “message is being preached by the repulsive woman in the photograph, I do not wish to hear it.

Jim Lawrie

18th July 2019 at 10:19 pm

She looks a wee bit like the caricature of Ella.
But as one of the Marx Brothers said – tattoos are the means by which the thick section of the population allert the rest of us to their predicament – you’re wise to ignore her.

Does Ella have tattoos? Do we have the right to know?

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 10:07 am


I hadn’t heard that line. I think it’s one of the funniest lines of ever heard.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 10:14 am

Groucho and Chico were nuts. A close friend of mine is a Japanese woman who is the spit of Chico, so I’m constantly reminded of him. I’ve never told her.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 10:16 am

I’ve, not of

Ellen Whitaker

18th July 2019 at 4:53 pm

I can’t agree with everything in this article, although I don’t either want to see any state usurp people’s decision about whether or not to have children. Some people think the Earth’s carrying capacity is infinitely expandable through technology, but I am skeptical about that. I think the Earth’s current problems would be much more manageable if we had a few billion less people. But the population growth problem now is in the undeveloped world, not the developed world, and particularly not in the West. The story is that economic development lowers birth rates, and I think that’s true, but this idea that individuals should refuse to reproduce to help the planet has been alive in the West at least since the 60’s, and it has, I believe, contributed to the low birth rates in European countries, which are now unable to replace themselves, and have generally lost confidence.

The thought of white environmentalists preaching population control to the undeveloped world is indeed unpleasant, but it was because western initiatives to improve nutrition, public health, and medicine in the developing world that world population took off. Many volunteers went into poor countries with relatively stable populations and significantly reduced the infant mortality rates, and increased longevity. They did a lot of good, but as far as population growth is concerned, the results were entirely predictable; however the topic of population control was always a hot potato, no one wanted to touch it. People like to have children, and, in the short term, population growth stimulates the economy.

The only solutions we’re left with now are to try to speed up development everywhere and to look in the short term for technological fixes to help the Earth support more people. In my view, success cannot be taken for granted.

James Knight

18th July 2019 at 5:54 pm

Fertility rates usually fall with development as children then become more financial liability than asset. Look at Japan trying to encourage people to have more sex because of an aging population.

So what is required is economic development. But that is the very thing the pro austerity greens want to put the brakes on (their PC euphemism for austerity is “sustainable development”).

Fuck You

8th November 2019 at 10:14 am

An aging population is a necessary hardship when it comes to bringing the population down to a managable level, from an economic point of view.

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