Strengths and Weaknesses of arguments:
The interviewed families come across as responsible and sensible people, who would probably do more good than harm for the society and environment in which they live. They make some salient observations about the larger consequences of their family size. Their arguments countering the Optimal Population Trust’s suggestion are also logically sound, as the following examples illustrate. The argument forwarded by Jo Fisher that their large family size only compensates for the ever increasing number of no-child or less-than-two-child families is a sound one indeed. As the Corbets family shows, being environmentally conscious has nothing to do with family size, as the Optimum Population report suggests. Angie Corbet makes a valid assessment when she asserts that “the fact that we’re bringing up five young people who will be productive members of society and will play a part in alleviating problems rather than causing them” (The Guardian, July 12 2007). Through their own high standards of responsible living, the Corbets have shown the frailty of the two-child proposal. In the end, what matters is the personal responsibility these children will take as adults. It does not matter how big or how small their families are. Yvonne Pascal has a point, for her their and sixth children are planning to study medicine, which would mean that they are valuable assets to the future generation. For Yvonne Pascal, the lessons learnt from the enriching experiences in the family life are applicable to her work, making her a better manager and employee. Hence, the arguments made by the seniors in these families come across as very reasonable and strong.
Implications of the arguments:
Moving on to the implications of the points made in the article, there is no doubt that population is a significant factor in determining the health of our environment in the future. Considering that average life expectancy is on a steady increase, a growing birth rate is problematic. But the Optimum Population Trust overstates the gravity of the situation. It is to be noted that excess population is not synonymous with environmental degradation as there is not definite cause and effect relationship between the two. What is more important is environmental awareness, education and responsibility on part of citizens. If these qualities could be inculcated into them during their formative years, then family sizes would matter little. While it is true that the planet can only provide limited resources for its inhabitants, the two-child limit does not directly boost the prospects of the environment.
Joanna Moorhead, Too big for the planet?, The Guardian, Thursday July 12 2007, Having more than two children is bad for the environment, a new report says. But are large families really that damaging? Joanna Moorhead asks three of them to make their case, retrieved from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/jul/12/communities.ethicalliving>