CNN: Don't reproduce or multiply

I know CNN fancies itself as a serious news source relative to other cablers, but imbalanced stories such as this one don't exactly help them int he claim. In a puffy piece that ran on Earth Day, we got this advice on how to have a "green" love life:

Hop on your bike for your next date and leave your car at home. (That means saying "adieu" to long-distance relationships.)

Stop excessive spending on Valentine's Day. (It produces way too much trash anyway.)

Wear comfy bamboo underwear.

Don't be so keen on having babies. How about adopting a child instead or implementing a one-child policy?

Yes, this is one of many ridiculously inane stories that one can seen on CNN in particular and the cable and interweb universe in general. But shouldn't some copyeditor at CNN understand the difference between, say, buying only one box of chocolates instead of two and implementing a brutal policy that uses forced abortions, infanticide and compulsory sterilization to accomplish its goals? Do they know what a one-child policy is or what it means in practice? Not to mention that procreation is an integral part of at least some religious adherents' beliefs.

It's a good example of the religion ghosts in environmental stories such as these.

And it's not just CNN. A GetReligion reader and mother of three sent in this story from the Portland Tribune that ran last month. It's about an environmentalist couple that adopted some children so as not to have more than one biological child. And it engages very serious value claims without having a serious discussion about where these values could lead:

Last year, Oregon State University statistics professor Paul Murtaugh tapped into a hornet's nest when he published a study measuring the environmental consequences of having a baby.

His conclusion jarred many: that having a child is the single-worst thing a person can do for climate change, considering the carbon emissions that offspring and their descendants will produce in their lifetimes.

You don't have to be leading environmental historian, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, to think of environmentalism as a new religion that offers "a complex series of moral imperatives for ethical action, and judges human conduct accordingly."

There are religious values (sometimes competing, sometimes not) on all sides here. Let's get beyond jokes about policies that result in killing children and into some substance.

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