Are big families selfish?
While some say parents should be encouraged to keep their family small for environmental reasons, I reckon the world needs kids like mine.
I've committed what some people consider to be a crime. I have had five children. Am I selfish or is that an environmental knee-jerk reaction?
It's something I think about and this foray into controversial waters is a rare one for me because the size of my family is my business. Or is it? Plus my children are here - what am I supposed to do? Tug my forelock, beg forgiveness or offer three of them up to childless couples?
BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has called on people to have smaller families to save the planet, suggesting tax breaks for those who only have one child or none.
Thankfully we don't live in China and I think telling people how many children they should have is the start of a slippery slope into a world that I'm not comfortable with.
Thrifty and frugal
Oh, I'm not naive. I realise that potentially my children could go on to have their own and our family would keep on growing, greedily hoovering up more than our fair share of the earth's resources.
But here's the thing: what makes everyone so sure that's what will happen? It's a little argued assumption that children from large families will consume at the same rate as everyone else.
From what I've seen, children brought up in smaller families with greater financial resources are generally not brought up with one eye on the environment. I'm not saying every small family is like this, it's just been my experience.
We laud elderly people for their innate thriftiness, having been brought up in wartime Britain. Why do we think that today's children in large families, brought up to be equally thrifty out of necessity, will be any less frugal?
And let's not forget - we need future generations to pay taxes.
This is a point made by Tania Sullivan, a mother of nine who's pregnant with twins, who says demographic data shows those who have lots of children are so low they don't make up for people opting for one or no children.
"Those having less than the necessary 2.1 children (the replacement rate) could be argued as being selfish for not having enough children to support the older population," she said.
There are many virtues, not exclusive to but a particular feature of, children from large families; tolerance, thoughtfulness, an ability to share and resourcefulness are just some.
Mum of five Lisa Fearn says lots of children equals lots of washing, homework negotiations and quarrels but also lots of fun. "Environmentally, I think the world would be a worse place if I had a fast car, lots of money, luxury holidays and one kid," she said.
I also believe it's not the size of families that will have the biggest impact on this planet but our rampant consumerism. Shopping is a way we cheer ourselves up, a reward for hard work, a way to fill some hours or to express ourselves. Flying off on holiday is not seen as anything other than what we deserve and eating meat is not a luxury but a dietary staple.
Not only is consumerism seen as something good for the economy, many of the things we buy are inferior to what we could create ourselves plus fill our houses to bursting point and our land with rubbish.
The way I see it, the world needs kids like mine.
What do you think - are parents of large families selfish?
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