Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Good the Bad and the Ugly of the Duggar Family

The Duggar family already has 19 children, and recently announced they are expecting another in April of 2012.  This announcement comes only days after the planet topped 7 billion people and while some people congratulate the family, others are horrified.

The Duggar family has been on television shows such as "19 Kids and Counting" a reference to the number of children they have.

The Duggar family is reportedly financially stable enough to support their children and are not living off the welfare system.  They did have assistance (through workers who donated their time) in building their 7,000 square foot home.  As well, the Discovery television network arranged for many donations to the family, and their home, from corporate sponsors.  There are some that say the family has declared their home as a church to avoid paying taxes.

The Duggar's use their older children to help care for the younger ones, confusing the boundary between sibling and caregiver.  Fans of their show point out that it is rare to see the parents show any affection to the older children.

Nonetheless the biggest issue with the Duggar family is how they impact the already overpopulated planet.

Many people argue that having big families was the norm across America only a few hundred years ago when people needed kids to work on the farm.  True, but we must also consider that big families are no longer needed for farm life, the Duggar's are not a farming family, and back in the 1800's (when the world population was only 1 billion) infant mortality was much higher than it is now, and our lifespans were much shorter.  Finally; people two hundred years ago lived a far more environmentally sustainable lifestyle than they do now.

By many environmental standards twenty kids for one couple is at least eighteen too many, particularly in the United States where people consume far more than their share of resources and are leaving a very large ecological footprint.  The average American is consuming at a rate they require a 9 global hectares of space to meet their rate of consumption, however the planet only has 2 global hectares per person, a number which goes down as population increases.  A global hectare being roughly 10,000 meters square.

With a family of 21 people the Duggars are already responsible for taking 189 global hectares, roughly the same amount of land needed by 110 Chinese!

Right now the population of the planet consumes renewable resources at a rate that is 1.4 times faster than they can be renewed, and having large families will only make this worse.  There may be enough food to go around, but food is only one of the world's resources, and let us not discount the amount of waste generated by such large families.

Overpopulation is a real issue and one that some fundamentalist families are ignoring, selfishly convinced that they are doing "God's will". 

If you feel the Duggar family is wrong for continually pumping out more kids onto an already populated planet let the Discovery Channel know you will not support them as long as they continue to support the Duggar family. 

*If the show airs on other channels in your area, contact those channels.

In Canada
In the USA

Note:  On December 8, 2011, doctors gave Michelle Duggar the news that she had miscarried her unborn child.

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