What is this hot new fashion accessory among the chic and fabulous?
So retro, yet so now!
Here at Treehugger, however, we don't give any accessory a free pass, not even cute, gurgly accessories. So let us ask: Is having a baby part of a sustainable lifestyle?
The committed environmentalist of the old school might respond with a knee-jerk No. There are, after all, already too many people on the planet. In particular, the world doesn't much need another Westerner. For its current population to live sustainably, each of the world's people should be using roughly the resource equivalent of 4.5 biologically productive acres. For the average U.S. citizen, that number is 24. A world population full of U.S. citizens would require 5.3 planets to live sustainably. A quick glance around reveals just the one planet. Do the math.
But! Not all children are the same.
The spawn of Lopez will no doubt be laden with enough bling to raise its footprint over even the extravagant 24 acres. (Don't forget, J-Lo: Love don't cost a thing!)
But not mine. I'm lowering my footprint all the time, and I'll raise my child to do the same. He will model sustainable behavior, talk to other people about it, and do good work that advances the cause. In his ripple effect he will lower humanity's total impact on the world more than he increases it. I say this not as a naive idealist but simply in the knowledge that all of us here, who read this site, who care, whose numbers are growing, are creating a world where such values will be taken for granted.
It's worth it to pause and remember, as we surf the internet, ogling the sustainable products designed for us, that what's really important is what we design: our lives, our habits, and our relationships.
A child is not a product. A child is a life, a future, a nexus of relationships and forces that reach far beyond what can be calculated simply by weighing food and counting diapers.