I have intentionally never commented on the Jon & Kate plus Eight circus. At the urging of a friend, I watched once and was so nauseated from listening to the parents whining about how hard their lives were, I never watched again. Raising eight kids takes a lot of effort? Who knew? Well, I knew and no one follows me around with a camera to capture the complaining because we don't. We know and we knew how challenging having eight kids is and we feel blessed to have a big family and not because we get a TV contract for exploiting them.
But you can't miss the constant news coverage ranging from marital problems to general unpleasantness to allegations of child labor law violations. Turns out though that all of that is not the biggest problem. Their biggest problem is that they are not a "green" enough family. Despite their efforts to recycle and such, they find themselves on the receiving end of the ire of environmentalists for having a large family:
Yet while there was much fanfare about the eco-move in the media, some environmental experts see big families and going green as mutually exclusive.
"A family with eight children could be green in the short term, if they lived at such a low standard of living that they didn't consume more than a family with two children, or if they existed in extreme poverty — which isn't an acceptable way of going green," says Rosamund McDougall, policy director of the U.K.-based Optimum Population Organization (www.optimumpopulation.org).
"In the long term, though, it is almost impossible for large families not to increase overall environmental impacts."
One of the reasons for the lack of green-ness is the emission of carbon dioxide.
If the eight children depicted in the show lived in Britain, they would each emit about 750 tons of carbon dioxide over a lifetime, McDougall explains. (American carbon-dioxide emissions per capita are about double that of Britain's.)
"What's more, if the eight children each had eight children, not taking into account the fact that eight husbands or wives would be absorbed from other families, there would be 64 grandchildren, each emitting 750 [metric tons] over a lifetime," says McDougall.
"Compare this with the total emissions of the two children who go on to have two children each, and you see only too clearly how the impact multiplies over time.
The different worldviews are starkly on display there. Christians see (or should see) children as "a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward" (Psalm 127). Eco-types see kids as carbon dioxide generators, merely consumers of resources and producers of pollution. What a sick worldview that sees the blessing of children as nothing more than spewers of carbon dioxide and large families as mini- Exxon Valdez wrecks.