When Stella McCartney gave birth to her fourth child last week, we wondered if her child-bearing record makes Stella an eco-hypocrite — does having four kids really match up with her environmental advocacy? Some readers disagreed with the logic, citing her ability to pay for her offspring and applauding her for raising more like-minded, earth-conscious children, but other readers agreed that, despite her eco-friendly words and vegan fashion designs, at the end of the day, four kids per family simply isn’t eco-friendly.
Population growth has long been the concern of environmentalists who worry that the more kids we have, the more we sap environmental resources, produce waste, and strain the earth in order to maintain our current quality of life. According to goodplanet.org, world population growth reached its peak in the 1990s, with an increase of 82 million children per year. Currently, the average number of children born per woman is three, down from about six in the 1960′s. The United Nations has predicted that population growth will level out by 2050, but of course, that depends on families who don’t have more than one child per parent (or a lot of adults who choose not to have children).
We’re not worried about the following celebrities’ ability to provide for their children or raise them in an eco-friendly manner, but even if they use cloth diapers and compost their leftover baby food, three children still use more resources and produce more waste than two. What’s more, the lifestyle of any western family (famous or not) is particularly draining on the environment: The world’s wealthiest 16% uses 80% of the world’s natural resources, and the World Resources Institute estimates that every American (adult and child) is responsible for the consumption of about 25 tons of raw materials each year.
Does Brad Pitt’s contribution to sustainable building offset the carbon emissions of flying six children around the world? Do Kevin Costner’s eco-minded investments justify the resources used by his brood of seven? They’re certainly doing a lot more to help than some parents we know, but we still think the following celebs could stand to put a cap on their own contribution to population growth: