Eco-Nuns – Gary Young MySpace Blog


Aw man.  I am sick sick.  A Thanksgiving gift from the family.  Sucks.  I came home early from work today so I could sleep it off.  I feel like I need another day.  You ever lay around so much that your back starts to hurt?  I’m looking forward to the turnaround.

To business.

Do you consider yourself environmentally savvy?  Do you try to minimize your footprint, as they say?  I have to admit that I don’t put much effort into it.  It’s not because I don’t care.  I do, but I haven’t changed my driving habits and I don’t go too far out of my way to minimize … uh … stuff.  I drive to the metro station.  I could take the bus but man.  I really don’t like buses and it would take twice as long and blah blah blah.

By the same token, I don’t litter and have a lot of respect for nature and animals.  It pisses me off to see people pollute.  Like the guy walking to the metro train from the park and ride who was talking on his bluetooth headset, finished his Starbucks drink, and threw the cup into a storm drain.  Grrrrr.  And there’s a trash can right at the exit of the lot and trash cans around and in the station.  You know?

The Potomac River is not your personal friggin‘ waste bin.  Ass.

I’d like to drive a hybrid (that’s versatile and rugged enough for the best and worst of weather conditions) but that extra $5,000 or so.  Eh.  Like I said.  Priorities.

So I’m reading the news and I read this on  Granted, it’s news that’s salacious and outrageous, but this one hooked me.  What can I say.

A British woman who had an abortion 10 years ago and was later sterilized did so because she believes pregnancy is bad for the environment, the London Daily Mail reported Sunday.

Toni Vernelli, 35, hopes her actions would ensure her carbon footprint would be kept to a minimum, the Mail reported. The environmental advocate also sees having children as an egotistical act.

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” Vernelli told the Mail, adding she believes bringing new life into the world only adds to the problem.

Click here to read the full article in the Daily Mail.

Another woman, 31-year-old Sara Irving, also underwent sterilization because she felt “a baby would pollute the planet.”

Irving became an environmentalist as a teenager when she realized saving the environment was her top and foremost priority in life, the Mail reported. After going through several boyfriends she finally found her now husband Mark Hudson who shares in her ‘no kid’s policy.’

I’m going to keep my wits about me and not jump to reactionary conclusions.  I’m not going to say that anyone said that babies are pollution.  I’m not going there.  I’m going here.  It sounds strangely like religious doctrine, doesn’t it?  Eco-religion.  A dogmatic extreme.  Reproductive, though not sexual, abstinence.  These women are eco-nuns.

My mind naturally extrapolates these kinds of things.

Like, if this catches on all it will accomplish is to ensure that the people who strongly believe in protecting and conserving the environment, the most ecologically and socially aware (correlating to the most educated), will (un)breed themselves out of existence.  Oops.  And I mean that sociologically — the values of class and culture — more than genetically.  Watch the first five to ten minutes of “Idiocracy” if you get a chance.  Brilliant.

So I’m looking at it inversely.  She says it’s selfish to have a child because of the resource footprint.  I say, for the sake of this blog entry, it’s selfish to sterilize yourself and not contribute to the gene pool and raise ecologically aware children.  Then again….  I’m on shaky ground here, I know.  But really, how far do you take it?  Adults will pollute more than a baby will (babies don’t drive Hummers or buy McMansions or flush toilets or buy incandescent light bulbs), so if you’re that serious about it why just get sterilized?  Why not kill yourself?  For the planet’s sake.  I know it’s kind of silly for me to take it that far but, you know, eventually someone will take it that far.  Green suicide clubs?

Gotta love people.  They are people.  So why should it be.  You and I should get along so aw-fully.  Bum bum boom.

On one level, I analyze the folks mentioned in the article.  Altruistic ecowarriors?  Or trend hopping hipster douchebags?  Or … something in between?  If you don’t want to have kids, that’s perfectly fine.  I would say, however, that making a permanent decision about it when you’re young is a bad idea.  The difference between 35 and 25 years of age is like the difference between 25 and 15 years of age.  You’ll see life, want things out of life and contribute to life differently in a few years.  Gotta allow for your own personal evolution, I say.

[News reporter on the scene]
“It’s the new sensation that’s sweeping the nation!  Conjoining! The new fad that lets young couples in love surgically attach themselves to their sweethearts.  Literally, they’ll share the same heart.  Let’s see what this young lady has to say.”

[Young woman at Conjoin Co. facilities]
“We just love each other so much.  We said we complete each other so why not really complete each other!  BFFBBFFLOL!  Our parents don’t approve but they’ve got tattoos ‘n stuff from when they were dating.  Such hypocrites.  Gawwwh

[News reporter on the scene]
“Back to you, Tom.”

What was I saying?  Oh yeh.  Not wanting to have kids is fine.  It’s a huge responsibility, a lot of work and expensive.  The thought is daunting and scary.

Besides, for every self-centered yuppie/slacker out there who’s delaying or totally avoiding reproducing because they want to stand on the highest elevation in every U.S. state before they retire or pursue their geocaching hobby full time, there are plenty of poor people who will happily crank out four or five malnourished and neglected children.  No worries.

Anyway, you can always will your estate to a worthy, environmentally friendly cause run by your aging, childless comrades.  Ha, that’s acerbic.  One can always adopt.  Do you think the women mentioned in the article plan on adopting some day?  That would be especially gracious.  Create one less mouth to feed while feeding another mouth?  Hmmm.

And to all my self-centered yuppie/slacker friends, please don’t be offended.  I am one of you even though I’m using the term “self-centered’ in a two-edged way.   There’s plenty of sweat lodges, traveling, yoga, triathlons, coffee pooped out by civets, bungee jumping and other life-affirmation to be pursued as you try to get a grip on your being here whether it’s self-centered or center-seeking.   Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Carry on.

I’d like to know what you think.  I’ve got a lot of socially conscious friends.  What say you.

Currently reading :
The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl, Book 5)
By Eoin Colfer
Release date: By 12 September, 2006

1:54 PM – 2 Comments – 0 Kudos – Add CommentEditRemove


Environmentalists are sooooo cute when they pontificate!

Personally, I have the utmost respect for people who choose not to have children. There are too many kids in the world whose parents priorities are something other than the kids already. If it’s not your thing and you don’t want to do it, more power to ya, I say. I don’t care if their motivation is environmentalism or wanting more time for that new extreme ironing addiction. Babies polluting the planet? Well, yeah. More people is generally going to mean more strain on the ecosystem. Don’t even get me started on the toxic waste that fills those first few diapers.

Ahh, the planet! So noble to worry about how to make a 8000 mile thick ball of rock happy! I think it’s equally happy lush with life or knee deep in dioxin. The environmental movement, which in spite of the tone I’m conveying, I actually support, is completely selfish. It’s the effort to keep the ecosystem in a state that happens to work really well for us. Being a beneficiary of that state, and my kids future beneficiaries, I’m all for it.

Mr. McStrings, I’m afraid you have soooo many good and important issues wrapped up in this one, I should just let it go as an exemplar for the problem. What do we do about the fact that people who would be good parents often produce few children, and those who shouldn’t be parents, too many? Wow. Fix society? What if we all (me included, this is an equal opportunity indictment of our common complacency) looked into the faces today that will be the drug dealers and gang members of 2025 and just said “No. You’re worth more than that. Let me help.”

There are some interesting and highly unexpected side effects of having kids. There’s this gradual dawning awareness that there are no individuals, we’re all just little bits of the fabric. It’s so easy to look at the guy begging for money at the traffic light and think “Get a job!”, but it kinda shakes your world view when you look at him and think “You’re someone’s son. Once, maybe a long time ago, but once, you were someone’s whole world.”

Then look into your own son’s eyes, knowing 40 years ago some other dad looked into some other kid’s eyes and dreamed of possibilities, rejoiced at victories, and ached at setbacks. It’s an endless cycle. We’re all the dad in the car, the innocent boy in the back seat, the broken man on the corner. If not in person, our descendants will play those roles, or our ancestors already have.

I have to think that the ultimate goal of environmentalism is a stable, healthy ecosystem for the people who live after us, whether or not they are our biological children. It’s just one facet of minimizing human suffering. Am I bothered that a couple women decided not to have kids to minimize their impact? Nope, not a bit. My hat’s off to them, but I have to call them out on believing they’ve done the Ultimate Good Thing. They have done a small good thing when many, many better things need doing. Even so, they’re trying and doing no harm, and that puts them well ahead most of us.


Posted by Rob on Nov 28, 2007 8:32 AM
[Remove] [Reply to this]

Gary Young

Well said, Sir Rob. Thanks for the well-crafted comment.

That provides some perspective.

I’d like to apologize to everyone for using the term “douchebag” in my blog entry. Jumped on the bandwagon there.

I’d also like to add that you’ve helped me clarify something, Rob, when you wrote:

“Am I bothered that a couple women decided not to have kids to minimize their impact? Nope, not a bit. My hat’s off to them, but I have to call them out on believing they’ve done the Ultimate Good Thing.”


“Even so, they’re trying and doing no harm, and that puts them well ahead most of us.”

I do find myself still taking offense to one thing from the article. It’s the stigmatizing of pregnancy and babies. That ain’t cool.

Posted by Gary Young on Nov 28, 2007 9:28 PM

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