Radical Existentialist Exercise

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The problem of climate change raises some important philosophical, existential questions. I propose a
radical solution designed to provoke reflection on the role of humans in climate change. To push the
theoretical limits of what measures people are willing to accept to combat it, an extreme population control
tool is proposed: allowing people to reproduce only if they make a financial commitment guaranteeing a
carbon-neutral upbringing. Prior to their existence, there is no obligation to bequeath the earth to next
generations. Such generations will only exist if they are actually created, and there is no obligation to create
them. The lack of existence should not be confused with harm. Climate change provides an important
reason to stem overpopulation. Ironically, fast rates of procreation may lead to the earth becoming
uninhabitable for humans altogether. The radical solution that has been proposed here is an unrealistic
scenario. For now, the average global birth rate is just over 18 per thousand people, but there is a need to
ensure that the number of people is not greater than the planet can endure. While it is better to prevent
problems than to solve them, the interest in procreation and its associated joys, usefulness, and cultural
value make mass reduction in the population unlikely.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalVoices in Bioethics
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021


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