要环保?能做的最好事情是少要孩子

2009-8-15 15:34:00作者:佚名来源:网络查看评论0条)字号:

The best thing you can do for the planet might be having less children argues a new study.
一项新的研究说,对于环保而言,你所能做的最好的事情就是少要孩子。

Are Babies Bad for the Environment?

It's no secret that there are more and more of us every day. From less than a billion 200 years ago to more than 6.6 billion people on the planet today. And the United Nations expects more than 9 billion by mid-century.

This kind of exponential population growth has consequences for the planet, from stretched natural resources, such as fresh water supplies, to burgeoning levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

A new study by statistics professors at Oregon State University finds that the biggest impact a U.S. citizen can have on this climate change problem is perhaps not so much surprising as difficult to accept: have fewer children.

By their calculations, every American child born today will add roughly 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere under current conditions. For comparison, a Chinese child would add roughly one-fifth that amount while a boy born in Bangladesh will add 1/160th.

Having one fewer child would reduce a family's climate burden 20 times more than driving a fuel-efficient car or using energy-saving appliances, according to this statistical analysis. That doesn't seem to be stopping anyone in developed countries like the U.S. New research published in Nature this week shows that birth rates in the most developed countries are rising again.

Of course, who can judge the right number for human population? But a little family planning might be the best measure of an environmentalist and another baby boom could be bad news for the planet.

婴儿是否对环境不利?

目前地球上的人口每天都在增加,这已经不是什么秘密了。200年以前,地球上的人口还不到10亿,今天地球上的人口已经超过了66亿。联合国预计在本世纪中叶,地球人口将要达到90亿。

人口的这种指数增长对地球带来了很多的后果,包括紧缺的自然资源,比如淡水供应,到大气层中激增的温室气体。

来自俄勒冈州立大学的统计学教授们的一项新研究发现,美国公民能对气候变化问题所产生的最大的影响可能并不奇怪,只不过难于接受罢了:那就是减少生育。

根据他们的计算,在目前的情况下,每一个美国小孩的出生将会向大气层增加约9441吨的二氧化碳。作为对比,一个中国小孩的出生所增加的二氧化碳是上述数字的约1/5,而一个孟加拉国小孩的出生所增加的二氧化碳是上述数字的1/160。

根据该项统计分析,在减少环境负担方面,与驾驶高效燃料汽车或者使用节能家电相比较,一个家庭少要一个小孩对环境负担将会减少20倍。但是这似乎并不能阻止发达国家(比如美国)的任何人少要孩子。本周发表在《自然》(Nature)杂志上的一项新研究表明,在大多数的发达国家中,出生率正在上升。

当然,谁能判断人口的合适数量呢?但是实施一点儿家庭计划可能是环保主义者认为的最好方式,再一次的婴儿潮对地球可能是个坏消息。

Vocabulary:

Billion:十亿
Exponential:指数的
Consequence:结果
Burgeoning:激增;迅速发展
Statistics:统计学
Bangladesh:孟加拉国
Appliance:家用电器
Environmentalist:环保主义者
Baby boom:婴儿潮

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