Why Eco-Activists Still Have Children

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Parents are good at dropping subtle hints. When this TreeHugger's dear mother sent him an article by Angharad Penrhyn Jones about how eco-activists "spend their lives agonising over the planet's future — but that doesn't stop them having children", it didn't take a genius to figure out she may be ready for grandchildren. Actually, putting Grover-family politics aside for a moment, the article, entitled I Threw My Fears to the Wind, makes for interesting reading.

Penrhyn Jones, who is married to the ever controversial George Monbiot, says there was a time when she thought she'd never have kids because she was worried about the "terrible things the world would do to them", not to mention the terrible things that they would do to the world. Eventually she was convinced by similarly green-minded friends, however, that having a few children and bringing them up responsibly was no bad thing. Penhryn Jones' daughter, Hanna, is now two, and it seems she is not yet the treehugging activist-in-waiting one might expect:

"More than anything, she loves to look out of her bedroom window at the A489. There are the timber lorries to admire, the tractors, the boy racers' overpowered hatchbacks. Military aircraft, ripping through the skies on their training exercises are a delight. Hanna adores anything that burns fossil fuels. When do we tell her the nasty truth about climate change."

The article goes on to point out that most preceding generations had their worries too, from disease to hunger to nuclear war, but that, for the last 150 years, there has been a general optimism that the next generation was going to have it better. It is, Penhryn Jones argues, "much harder to be optimistic now." She discusses the predicament with fellow environmental activists, climate campaigners and parents, and while it is clear she does not see much hope for a rosy future, she says that parents can't indulge in pessimism. Author and activist Mark Lynas agrees, noting that the future is anything but decided:

"In a sense we're returning to the uncertainties of our evolutionary past. But many of the situations I've written about are avoidable. I genuinely think we can do something about climate change."

We'd be fascinated to hear our readers views on the subject. And for those greenies who do decide to have kids, remember to take a look at our guide on How to Green Your Baby, remembering of course that no amount of organic reusable diapers are going to fix the future by themselves, so do take time out from your parenting duties to vote, protest, petition and generally shout like hell for a saner future for all our children.

Thanks Mum for the tip — let's talk about those grandkids later

::The Guardian::via Mum::