Large Families & “Sustainability”

In the comments section of a recent post, titled, “Why Have More Kids?” I received this comment:

While I can appreciate your thoughts, my big issue with extra large families, is that ultimately, it is unsustainable. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone decided to have 6+ children!? We are already outgrowing our planet. People used to have 5+ kids in a lifetime, mostly because they needed free labor, and because child mortality rates were so high. But nowadays, with vaccinations and healthcare, and food availability, it just doesn’t make sense. Think about minimizing your footprint, and yes, that means procreating less and using birth control. It is your choice, but it is a choice that ALL of us will have to live with eventually, and I’m sure God would agree with me on that one.

Large Families & Sustainability: one family's experience

I have a number of thoughts, including:

  1. Not everyone wants to, or will, have 6+ children, so that criticism is a bit ethereal and surreal.
  2. We are not outgrowing our planet. The entire world’s population could fit in the state of Texas with the same density as New York City. There are vast regions of land in the world that are unsettled and unused, and with modern equipment and research, farming/ranching practices continue to increase in efficiency. 
  3. People historically had 5+ kids because people are fertile, and had marital relations that stretched over decades. Because fertility is generally the way our bodies were designed to work, people had a lot of children, not merely “because they needed free labor,” or because kids died more easily. That’s putting a modern-day spin on the historical reality of life lived as generally-fertile human beings.

But rather than trying to convince this commenter of something that is clearly the opposite of what he/she believes, I’m just going to share, as best I’m able, our personal experience with living life as a large family and the eco-footprint we leave. I write this not as an exercise in self-justification, or as a litany of reasons why others should live life as we do, or even to put forth that this is the case for every large family, but just to counter some of these thoughts about sustainability with my own personal experience.

FOOD

  • We consistently buy in bulk, thus reducing the amount of paper/plastic waste per ounce of food consumed.
  • I conscientiously plan our meals, and we cook in bulk, using less energy per food serving.
  • Because we are on a tighter budget (supporting ourselves + 6 children on one person’s salary), we rarely eat out. Less paper/plastic waste, and less gas spent acquiring food.
  • We eat left-overs often and rarely throw out food, which reduces our average per-person food waste.
  • We shop at discount grocery stores to make our grocery money stretch farther (think: cereal boxes with crushed/ripped boxes, though still possessing perfectly intact bags; or organic butter that’s a few days/weeks from “expiring”), thus using up products that would otherwise be thrown away and/or go unused. 
  • I want to be clear and honest about this part: we do, or will particularly once our children get older, use more food in total than the average family. But when you average out for food costs, and food usage, per person, because of how we buy and cook it in larger batches, I believe we still come out more eco-friendly than the average bear.

CLOTHES

  • I estimate that more than 85% of the clothes and shoes we buy are purchased at thrift stores, and some of what we wear is given to us by other families who have outgrown their belongings, or purchased at garage sales. Reusing clothes cast-off by others is by nature eco-conscious.
  • I almost never throw out clothes. Ripped/stained t-shirts get turned into t-shirt yarn. Usable parts of old jeans and men’s shirts get washed and turned into adorable baby bibs that I give to friends at baby showers. Clothes in good condition that we can’t/don’t wear get passed on to others, either for free, or via garage sales/online groups. Beaten-up tennis shoes from one child get passed down to the next child to become mud/play shoes. We creatively use and re-use clothing, even when it’s beyond normal use as clothing.
  • I’m fairly certain that my maternity clothes have gotten more play than most maternity garments will ever get. 😀
  • All of our boy clothing is worn by multiple children. I keep all clothes in usable condition in bins, organized by size. Without using gasoline or landfills, these clothes go on to be worn by 2, 3, 4, or more boys (in fact, occasionally, I’ll put an outfit on Theo, our 5th son, and realize that it was first worn by our 1st son, Ethan, 10+ years ago). It is rare for clothes to last through 5 boys, but it does occasionally happen, especially in the 2T-and-under sizes. When our younger sons reach a new stage, I simply pull out the appropriate-sized bin, and — voila! — they have an instant eco-friendly wardrobe, without a gallon of gas consumed, and without a dollar spent!
  • As we only have 1 daughter, so far, her clothes have only been worn by her (except for the occasional loaning out of clothes to friends with little girls), but we have stored them in bins so they can be reused if ever we have another daughter.
  • Because we are conscientious about reducing the size/scale of laundry duty, we all wear pants and pajamas 2 times, before putting them in the dirties hamper.

SHELTER & ENERGY COSTS

  • When we had 4 children, we had 6 people in our 1400-square-foot apartment, using the same amount of space, and heat as elderly couples and 1- or 2- child families around us. (At that time, we lived overseas in a complex where the building, rather than the individual, regulated the heat-usage for the entire building.) So the same amount of space, rent, and heating bill housed and heated our 6-person family as others did with families 1/2 or 1/3 the size of ours.
  • We now have 8-going-on-9 people in a 2600-square-foot house. This may be bigger or smaller than other families’ homes, but by assessing the families on our street, we pack about twice the amount of people into roughly the same amount of square footage. And it takes the same amount of money to pay the mortgage, and same amount of energy to heat a house, whether there are 2, 4, 8, or 10 people living in it. Our mortgage and heating bill won’t cost any more than our neighbors’ will, but it will go to house and warm (on average) double or even triple the amount of human beings.
  • Our grass grows just as slow/fast as our neighbors’ yards. Gas for lawn mowing & water-usage to keep the plants growing require roughly the same amount for us, as for them, but considering how many people live here, for yard maintenance, our gas- and water-usage-per-person is dramatically less.

WATER USAGE

  • We bathe in bulk. LOL. By that I mean, one tub of bathwater typically goes to clean 3 little boys at a time.
  • Because we are bill-conscious, our older kiddos have learned to take quick, efficient showers. (Though perhaps not yet with Frank-Gilbreth-quality efficiency!) We may use more water, in total, than a smaller family, but our water-usage-per-person is likely much lower.
  • As homeschoolers, we run the dishwasher twice/day on average, which may seem like a lot to the 4-person family who eats most of their meals out, but considering that this is the sum-total of our dish usage (i.e.,no take-out/fast food trash, no school-lunch trays to wash, no working lunch trash, etc.), it’s actually likely to be far less energy usage and eco-footprint than a much smaller family.

VEHICLE USAGE

  • We have 2 used vehicles for 8 people. Both are rarely driven, compared to families among our similar-aged/similar stage peers.
  • We purposefully bought a home near my husband’s work so that he could walk to work, and we walk to church, to the library, and to the park.
  • We get in the van, on average, 3-5 days a week, and while our van is a 15-passenger large vehicle, we get roughly the same gas mileage as a minivan, (12-15 mpg) but instead of hauling 3-5 people, we haul 8 people in it.
  • Because we homeschool, value keeping our schedule as simple as possible, and don’t participate in skads of outside activities, we are rarely in our vehicle.

SCHOOLING MATERIALS

  • Almost all of our school materials are reusable, rather than consumable.
  • Novels get read dozens of times.
  • Because we are home throughout the day, math manipulatives, games, puzzles, and building blocks get used day-in, day-out, all day, by our children. The cost-per-use of these educational items is far less than if these items were sitting on a shelf all day while the children were away from home.
  • Our textbooks (which we bought used) get passed down and used with multiple children.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • As homeschoolers, we don’t contribute to the gas-usage and exhaust-fumes of driving to/from school each day. While buses and drop-off/pick-up lines are in full swing “out there,” we’re getting our day started at home.
  • Because we have begun having our babies at home, our medical “waste” — paper printouts, blood tests, gown washing, etc.– is reduced, per visit & per birth, from what happens in a doctor’s office & hospital. (And trust me, I know about hospital births: I’ve given birth in 5 different hospitals around the world, before beginning to have our babies at home.)
  • By not using chemical birth control, I’m not contributing to water pollution (not flushing hormones and harmful chemicals into the rivers and water supply).
  • All of our children’s “gear”— baby equipment (pack & play, bouncy seat, floor gym, burp cloths), toys, trampoline, bunk beds, etc.– gets used for many more years, and through many more children, than it would in the “average” American home. The cost per use– cost to manufacture, ship, sell, and ultimately dispose of the item– is dramatically less in our family for virtually every item, simply due to the number of people who use any given item before it is thrown out/given away.

 

If you know me, you’ll realize this: I’m not saying A WORD of this to “slam” smaller families. I am not someone who believes that others need to look at my life as a prescriptive tutorial for how they should live theirs, or who believes that more children = godlier or better.

Rather, I share these things to offer our experiences, and to answer an oft-asked question/criticism about large families. I think there is often a gross misunderstanding about the ecological impact of life lived as a large family, and hope that this post will further the discussion and serve to shed some light on the subject.

 

IN THE COMMENTS:

  • Did I accomplish my goal of shedding some light on the way our large family lives in an eco-friendly way?
  • Did I miss listing an important way that large families are surprisingly “green”?
  • Anything else you’d add to this discussion?

 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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32 Responses

  1. Nancy Wang says:

    Great list, Jess! I think you have hit all the bases amazingly well.

    • Gertrude says:

      None of that is “green”, you’re living “wallet-friendly” NOT eco friendly at all. You’re selfishly helping yourself, not the earth, not the ecosystems, and definitely not the future generations.

  2. Michelle says:

    I think it’s also important for the “other” side to remember that in countries where birth control is widely used and populations aren’t replacing themselves that in order to have the 2.1 children per woman needed to replace the population there are still SCORES of people who won’t have more than 1 or 2 children. 2 is not replacement unless someone else has 3 for every 4-5 families who only have 2. There are loads of people who struggle with infertility, choose not to have children, will never get married/have babies, or who struggle with secondary infertility (is that correct?, when you have the first child but can’t get pregnant again?). Families like yours (and mine, ha, with our three littles) help to replace the population for those who will never have more than 1 or 2 children.

    I also think that it’s sad that so many people trash large families as being wasteful when the bottom line is that in the modernized West there is so, so, SO much waste and excess all around. Everything in America is so far away that you have to drive FOREVER to get anywhere. People run dishwashers and washing machines when they’re not full. Moms run the dryer again because they forgot to take the clothes out and don’t want to iron. Umm, bottled water. New phones every time the contract is up even if your old phone still works. Nobody thinks anything of buying disposable (not even recyclable most of the time) plates or silverware or baking dishes. Loads of working moms with only 2 children do freezer cooking in disposable aluminum baking dishes to save time and money. How sustainable is that? Aluminum is a non-renewable resource. So they only have 2 kids but “waste” in other ways. We all do. I wash and reuse ziploc bags until they’re falling apart but nearly all of my kids’ clothes are new because I don’t buy them, my mother-in-law does. At least most of them get used for three children since we have three girls!

    I guess I just think that it’s sad that because Americans (and others, but you know, I’m from America so that’s who I’ll dis. =)) are so rich we are so wasteful (generalization) and think we are ENTITLED to so much. If we would ALL be better stewards of the things we have and use them until they ARE NOT USEABLE anymore the planet would be better off. And we’d have more money to give away to people who don’t have access to clean water [to let run until it gets warm enough to shower in or cold enough to drink]. My soapbox: Filthy rich Americans (ugh, ESPECIALLY Christians) who live like their pleasure and satisfaction and comfort is the only thing in the world that matters and who don’t do ANYTHING for the 95% who live worse than they do. God help us all if we think so much of ourselves and our convenience that we can’t be bothered to toss our plastic bottle in the recycle bin right next to the trash can, or to not buy the $2 shirt on clearance because we DON’T NEED IT.

    Sorry…I think I got off topic. =) Great job, Jess. If I ever make it back to the PNW (you know I went to uni up there, yes?) I want to come visit you. =)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Totally forget you studied up here. But I know you’re from Alaska & I’ve never heard so much about Alaska as since we moved here. Seems like everyone’s always “going to Alaska for the summer” or “for work” or “on a cruise.”

      In Texas, no one goes to Alaska, LOL. :)

    • four kids tiny house says:

      Great comment!!

  3. Kelli Motzkus says:

    Awesome explanation for every aspect! Thank you for sharing! God blesses us with children in His world! I don’t understand why people are so critical:(

  4. Kondwani says:

    This is lovely and balanced. I wonder whether home school families do tend to be greener? (There are some spin offs – some families spend a long time driving to various meets and day trips, and also the heating tends to be on for more of the day during winter, but in general we tend to live simple, sustainable, economic, ecologic lives).

    Did you know (you probably do) that in the UK at least, it is estimated that 1/3 of all food purchased is thrown out! I’ve had people come to stay who have thrown away yoghurt because it has passed its ‘sell by date’. Yoghurt! And cheese. Or refusing to reheat food or eat leftovers, whereas we would tend to be creative with omlettes, pizzas, general curries of left overs.

    I’d agree with almost all of your post about efficiency but I have one final question: Long-haul flights…. As you have done previously, we live between continents. There is no question, it is less green to fly as a family of five, than as a couple…. We have a very small family car, we use it as rarely as possible, we use public transport or walk. But we do take long haul flights…….

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yeah, long-haul flights… no way is it greener, LOL (or cheaper– I just looked up flights for my own personal research, YIKES!).

      Although most large families I know rarely fly. (ya think?) When we lived overseas, we flew fairly often compared to the average person, but have flown only rarely since moving home to the U.S.

      And it’s an interesting question you raise- I wonder if homeschooling is inherently more “green?” Cause, yeah, we probably use WAY less gas, in general, but then, the heating costs would be more.

      Others wanna weigh in on that thought?

      • Jen says:

        Maybe there is something to homeschool families naturally being more green but maybe that is a happy consequence of something else. I am a mom to 7, and a homeschooler. As mentioned in your post, we too buy used, are happy to organize our bins and bins of used clothing, buy in bulk especially when costs are down, limit eating out, and are mindful of our energy and water usage. As a Christian, I think that is also a huge part of stewardship. We too live on a single income and have worked/committed to living responsibly. This includes the above as well as things like composting, using cloth napkins, kitchen towels, cloth face towels for hand drying and cloth diapers. I am a fan of earth friendly cleaners as well, but buy in bulk when said items are on deep clearance. So in answer to the question: For our larger sized family I think that living green and stewardship may travel the same path, the priority may be steward ship, but one of the blessings may be sustainability.

        • Jess Connell says:

          Good additions, Jen, thanks for chiming in… I completely forgot to mention all the cloth we’ve gone to.

          Cloth “spill towels” we use and reuse (and keep near the dining table) vs. paper towels.
          Cloth washrags rather than wipes/papertowels.

          We’ve done cloth diapers before (for about a year with one child & about a year with another), but… yeah, I’m no longer “green” on that one. LOL.

          Anyway, thanks for adding your thoughts!

      • Anna says:

        I live out in the sticks. And when I say sticks, I mean at least one hour from Walmart, 15 miles from the nearest gas station/feed store/convenient store. And our church is 30 miles away. We do not have a large family, 2 adults, 2 kids. I love large families, but am happy with the two children God has blessed us with.

        So my thought on the heating thing, and this is coming from a very small town, with lots of alternative heating sources, besides the usual propane, gas, or electric heat. We burn firewood, and I have to say when my kids are home versus when they are at school, we burn about the same amount of wood. I am a stay at home mom, for the most part, when I’m not volunteering at school, church, or running errands. We throw wood on in the morning, and about 4:00 in the afternoon, and again around bedtime (9:00ish) our house stays very comfortable. I hate being cold, so I keep it warmer than most. I would think in these types of places, where people use renewable resources, such as wood, that the costs wood (hahaha, see what I did there) be the same.

        I also want to add, most of the things you say larger families tend to do, i.e. thrift store shop, grow a garden, pass on clothes, shoes, and other items, (beds, car seats, high chairs, and all that stuff), we generally do too. I would like to add a few things to the list though. I preserve a lot of garden stuff by canning, freezing, or drying. Also, we hunt, and provide most of our own meat, that would decrease the amount of “footprints” left by livestock. We raise chickens (when the coyotes haven’t gotten them) so I have eggs, not bought at the store, we buy pigs and have them locally butchered. Saves on gas for shipping groceries across country, saves on refrigeration costs at the store, and tastes better too! Also, in the summer, because we live where it’s not too hot, we don’t use air conditioners. I open most of the windows and let the nice breezes in. Saves there too.

        The only reason I add all these things, even with my small family, is because I know a lot of large families around here who do the same things we do. I so enjoyed reading this article, even if I have a smaller family. I love my family the size it is. This is what my husband and I decided on long before we started having kids.

        Thanks!

  5. Hannah H says:

    Thanks for the post ! I shared your last article about more kids and exhaustion …you put it in better words than I could have :)

    We’re 8 wks pregnant with number 5 (our oldest is 6) , we live in less than 1300 sq ft which we are fine with but have already gotten the ” Where are you going to put it ? ” comments…..eeesh . All I can do is think about families that live in a cardboard box or an old shipping container and are happy to have it ! How could I complain?!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Congratulations, Hannah.

      Yes, we’ve had the “where are you going to put it?” question at times in the past, and it’s a laughable one, really, when you consider family size in the past vs. house size. Only recently have homes swelled to thousands of square feet. For thousands of years, a few hundred square feet was plenty for a family sometimes twice the size of our modern day ones.

      We are so consumed with our #firstworldproblems that sometimes we can’t see anything outside of the box we label “normal”; and even today, there are dozens of countries around the world that aren’t *third world* but also have far far far far far less than we have, per capita.

      Anyway. I’m drifting into soapbox-ville. :)
      Congrats to you & thanks for adding your thoughts.

  6. Laura says:

    Love this! I am pregnant with number 7 and I think we are a very “eco-friendly” family. We buy in bulk; we homeschool and I use the same material for all kids as they reach that level; we buy many clothes second hand, or hand down to the next child and between friends.

  7. Sara says:

    Really enjoyed this post. I am not a mother of a large family, but I am the oldest sibling of 10 and have heard all the objections, etc. Nearly all the ways you mentioned that large families live more sustainably sound very familiar! Most of us are now grown (i.e. past high school) but we live at home until there becomes a specific reason for setting up our own establishment, not just leaving at age 18 because we are so sick of home and ready to get away. So we could easily be paying for, and heating, 6 or more houses/apartments right now, instead of one house. People ask us, “Why don’t you recycle?” as if it’s a crime not to haul a bunch of boxes to the recycling center each week. We have very little trash that can be recycled! Someone mentioned bottled water. Our water bottles are stainless steel, reusable and practically indestructible (unless you leave a full one in the car in the winter). Living economically and living sustainably often go hand in hand. We open very few cans of things. We can our own food in reusable glass jars. We live in the country and have a large garden, chickens, and a cow (who, by the way, is due to calve tonight!). Buying locally is one of the most popular sustainability trends right now — you can’t get much more local than food produced in your back yard. Instead of using a lot of equipment, we do many things by hand or otherwise under human-power, thereby combining work with physical exercise and health, and consider such things as opportunities and learning experiences for all. We’ve had people call us up when they are left with a ton of food after a graduation or wedding reception, because they want someone to use it and not have it go to waste. Their “ton” of food is a couple of square meals for us when everyone is together. I could go on, but I’m rambling already. So far, this is a blog after my own heart. Keep up the good work!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Sara, that all sounds great!

      We just moved to the Pacific Northwest, and I am excited to begin having a *reason* to learn to can. It’s one of my hope-to-learn projects for this winter. :)

      And – :) – I could relate to this:
      “We’ve had people call us up when they are left with a ton of food after a graduation or wedding reception, because they want someone to use it and not have it go to waste. Their “ton” of food is a couple of square meals for us when everyone is together.”

      We’ve had that happen to us too!

      Thanks for sharing from your experiences!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Nice article. Are all large families this green? Probably not, although unless they are one of the rare ones with a lot of money, they probably have to be to make what they have stretch to provide for all. Regardless, in disagreement with the person in your preceding article on large families who said ‘I’m sure God agrees with me’, God never took back the command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ – that, in and of itself, is a reason for a Believing family to be open to the number of children God may provide to them, through natural procreation or otherwise.

  9. Rhonda says:

    We are a family of 8. Our family finds it interesting that in our subdivision (which is a small one in the country) we typically have the smallest amount of garbage in our can each week. It is not unusual to see garbage cans full to overflowing with stuff and around it on the ground at the other homes. I often bicycle to the nearest grocery store to pick up items we may need before the next shopping trip. My husband will ride his bike to work when weather/daylight/time permit. Our children will walk or bike to neigbors’ homes while we see other children riding in golf carts to get around. My clothesline gets LOTS of use.
    We have done/do the things that have been previously mentioned by you and the other ladies. The carbon footprint of our family is well below the American average. The best part of all of it is our wonderful children. They are helpful, responsible, friendly, conscientious, and engaged in our family, church, and neighborhood. They don’t have the latest electronic gadgets or their own cars. This leaves them with plenty of time to engage in the world around them.

  10. Silas says:

    One thing I feel was Absolutely essential in my upbringing, was that from a young age, my 7 siblings and I were taught how to work outside the home for personal income to pay for any extras we wanted. We all had paper routes, lawns to mow, babysitting, house cleaning, etc,. My parents provided the basic essentials for us all, but if we wanted a Letterman’s jacket, or to go to homecoming, or even College, we knew, we would need to pay for it ourselves. My folks went to great lengths to see we learned about wise money management.

    My husband, my children and I, are so glad my parents did not stop having kids when their 7th was born, because I am #8. My growing up experience was similar to how the Author raises her family. We NEVER ate out, we had small but efficient hand-me-down wardrobes, we drove in a Massive 12 passenger van and we were Happy!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Silas! (By the way, I love your name. :) Our fourth child is named Silas.) It is encouraging to hear your story & how frugality and learning to work for the “extras” has borne fruit in your life.

      Your story encourages me.
      Jess

  11. Lori R says:

    I’m in the slightly over 50 age range & grew up in a large family (6 siblings). We had all that we ever needed. We had food, clothing, shelter & lots of love from our parents & grandparents. Since we were farmers there was not a lot of money for new stuff. We lived quite well on hand-me-downs from cousins & neighborhood kids. We grew a lot of our own food. I laugh at people with 1-2 kids who think they need 3,000+ square feet for their homes. Then I feel sorry for the kids who will never know what it’s like to live simply without all the distractions of today’s life. So many electronic gadgets that they feel the need to focus on instead of paying attention to the real life that is happening all around them. We seem to be raising a generation of “gotta have it all & gotta have it now” people. My husband & I lived in the same very small house for over 25 years before we were able to afford to remodel a little bit. I grew up in that same house. It housed 8 people with only 3 tiny bedrooms & 1 bathroom. We all survived. I’m not saying everyone should live that way, just that it can be done & you can be happy doing it.

  12. Meredith says:

    I am a mom of 3 under 5, talking about having a 4th soon, and I love the “reality check” of this post. Some people assume that a large family uses the same amount of resources per person as a small family (which would be rough on the planet), but that’s just not true. I also think it’s important to remember that PEOPLE are a natural resource… especially people who are well-educated, and have been encouraged to create and work, not just consume. Your family has produced 6 (almost 7) unique, creative, problem-solving minds who will grow up (Lord willing) to make a positive difference in the world. Under your roof, you have 6 chances to make medical breakthroughs, find new sources of renewable energy, or do any number of things that will make the world a better place. You are leaving a legacy, and that is worth more than the number of trash bags on your curb.

  13. Jess Connell says:

    This article greeted me, front and center, on Yahoo! today:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-babies-seriously-problem-120000448.html

    The headline reads: “We Need More Babies. Seriously, This is a Problem”– and the whole article is about the economic havoc our falling birth rate is having in America. Any large family naysayers really need to study up on current birth/population/economic realities before continuing to put forth 40-year-old ideas about unsustainability & overpopulation.

    Instead of having too many people, we have now reached the edge of what will be precisely the opposite problem: not having enough people to sustain the medical needs & economic demands of an aging population that is living longer but working less.

  14. Jennifer S. says:

    So much of what you wrote is what we as a family of ten experience. Today my husband and I were just commenting on how so many of our neighbours who have from two to five living in their homes have more garbage than we do. We do most of what you said – buy in bulk, shop thrift stores, accept “donations” :). We teach our children to be careful with electricity and water usage. Our dryer broke, and yes, with a family of ten we didn’t run out and replace it. We bought two clearance drying racks and our air drying everything for now. Our dishwasher broke, and we decided to just do without. I think a bonus of this is that we are indirectly teaching our children that consumerism isn’t everything.

  15. Danielle says:

    Your family does a lot to be eco-friendly, and that’s fantastic! I’ll probably have a large family myself someday, and I don’t want you to feel like you have to justify your decisions.

    However, the science teacher in me feels the need to (lovingly!) address the misconception. When people say, “We’re outgrowing our planet” they do not simply mean space-wise. Our biggest problem is that all of our resources are limited (gas, O2, water, Nitrogen, etc. etc.). Like I said before- you and your family are doing a great job at conserving these things- this isn’t aimed at you… but in general, the population of the World is not doing a good job of stewarding these resources.

  16. Priscilla says:

    I am enthralled with large families and how they make them work. Being a mom of 5 ages 3-13, I am totally on board and agree with your way of thinking. Thank you for voicing what many NEED to hear!!!

  17. Ginafer says:

    Like you we have 5 boys. Hand me downs are great! Then I had a girl and I felt guilty buying her anything nice. By some stroke of luck I had another girl, now when I do splurge and buy a nice pair of shoes I feel better knowing I’ll get a second use out of my purchase. 😉

  18. Kimball says:

    My wife and I have four kids and we’re planning on having more. I’ve had co workers give me gruff about our four kids six and under.
    If you do a simple Google search you’ll find that Russia is struggling with population sustainability. I ask my coworkers who is going to pay into social security for them? My kids will. They will also be the doctors, nurses and contributors in society.
    The over population ideas are false.

  1. January 13, 2015

    […] Large Families and “Sustainability” by Jess Connell […]

  2. April 29, 2016

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