How Many Kids is Too Many? Any, If You Care About Your Carbon Footprint

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Our first thought when the Jon and Kate drama began was: they had way too many kids way too young. But until the birth control pill was legalized in the United States, couples having six or more children was the norm, points out Ruth Graham in Slate’s doubleX.

Now it seems that popping out more than three children is something reserved only for the extremely rich or the extremely poor (oh, and the occasional extremely crazy; here’s looking at you, Nadya Suleman).

But, writes Graham, “We lost something when we stopped being able to imagine a family of average means, average values, and above-average numbers.” That something, she posits, includes “all members pull[ing] their weight around the house, fostering independence, responsibility, and, ideally, an environment in which helpfulness isn’t negotiable.” While that could be true, unfortunately, having a few too many kids can be hard on more than your wallet and your offsprings’ work ethic.

According to a study released by Oregon State University, having too many kids is bad for the planet (Scanner Brian mentioned the cost alone this morning). We already know the world is overpopulated, but the study points out all the ways in which having just one child will increase your carbon footprint, including the fact that in the U.S. “each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent – about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.” Yikes.

[Yahoo! via TreeHugger]