Adoption – the greenest way to raise a family?

Would you consider adopting rather than conceiving a child for the sake of the planet?
Yes, there really are people who choose to adopt for environmental reasons. I’m one of them. Want to know why?

Rubbish and hot air
In the UK, the average person produces 300 kg of rubbish every year. That’s the equivalent of your own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks.

According to the environment agency, nappies account for 2% of household waste. You can easily switch to washable nappies to get that issue off your conscience, but there’s no denying that by bringing another person into the world, especially into a first-world country, you are creating another consumer. A human being who requires food and fuel and, well, stuff. The average British toddler’s toy collection is enough to fill several wheelie bins, let alone all the packaging and CO2 a person consumes during a lifetime, filling up landfill sites, melting the polar icecaps, raising the sea levels, and causing real problems for people living in low-lying countries.

The BBC, quoting research from the Optimum Population Trust (now renamed Population Matters), says

‘More people means more carbon emissions. Simple as that. (In fact, a couple that has two kids instead of three could cut their family’s climate impact by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.)’

Stop at two
Population Matters’ policy is one we subscribe to:

‘Globally, that full access to family planning should be provided to all those who do not have it, that couples should be encouraged voluntarily to “Stop at Two” children to lessen the impact of family size on the environment, and that this should be part of a holistic approach involving better education and equal rights for women.

In the UK, that population should be allowed to stabilise and decrease gradually until it reaches an environmentally sustainable level, by bringing immigration into numerical balance with emigration, by making greater efforts to reduce teenage pregnancies, and by encouraging couples voluntarily to “Stop at Two” children.’

So why adopt?
Given that our agreement with the ‘stop at two’ idea ‘allows’ us to reproduce, why would we chose the adoption route as our preferred option?

  1. It doesn’t add any more people to the planet. These children already exist. We are not creating more consumers.
  2. There is a need. There are currently around 75,000 children in care in the UK in need of permanent families.
  3. We are much more interested in parenting and being a family than we are in producing miniature reproductions of ourselves. Passing on our genes is just not an issue for us. We don’t believe we will love our children any less than any other parent loves theirs.
  4. We’re Christians and the Bible is clearly keen on the idea of adoption (see Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:23, Esther 2:15, and elsewhere).

Considering all these factors – the environment, our faith, our feelings about parenthood –  it makes sense to us to adopt as a first choice route to becoming a family. Do you agree? Have you chosen this for your own family? I’d love to hear your views. Please leave a comment below.


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