Rushing to the front of the race for the prize of Most Vomit-Inducing Environmental Initiative Ever Devised, the UK's Optimum Population Trust -- which counts such grandees as David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt among its supporters -- has just launched PopOffsets. This quirkily named campaign is actually deeply sinister: It invites well-off Westerners to offset their carbon emissions by paying for poor people in the Third World to stop procreating.In short, if you feel bad about your CO2-emitting jaunt to Barbados, or the new Ferrari you just splurged on, then simply give some money to a charity which helps to "convince" Third World women not to have children, and -- presto! -- the carbon saved by having one less black child in the world will put your guilt-ridden mind at rest.
The Optimum Population Trust is a creepy Malthusian outfit made up of Lords, Ladies, and Sirs who all believe that the world's problems are caused by "too many people." It recently carried out a cost-benefit analysis of the best way to tackle global warming and "discovered" (I prefer the word "decided") that every £4 spent on contraception saves one ton of CO2 from being added to the environment, whereas you would need to spend £8 on tree-planting, £15 on wind power, £31 on solar energy, and £56 on hybrid vehicle technology to realize the same carbon savings.
If memory serves me, we used to refer to schemes like this as “eugenics.”
Let’s face it, “people offsets” are not only, as Stacy says, “creepy”, on the surface, they don’t seem very well thought out. Consider the average life expectancy in these third world countries: Malawi-48.3 years, Burkina Faso-52.2 years, Congo-46.4 years, Dijbouti-54.8 years and Guinea Bissau-48 years. The Lords and Ladies of the Optimum Population Trust aren’t getting much bang for the buck. Afterall, the average kid in Guinea Bissau probably doesn’t spend its short life tooling around in daddy’s Escalade. If they want to use their money to pay women not to have children wouldn’t they be better off paying for Paris Hilton’s tubal ligation? Now that would benefit society.
Look, I am all for environmentalists not having children. The fewer of them the better. But when they start paying women in third world countries not to bear children they are simply showing themselves to be racist hypocrites. There is much that can be done to improve the lives of children in third world countries-wiping them out should not be anyone’s goal.