Getting sterilised to save the planet is a sad but understandable choice | Letters

The decision to have a vasectomy requires deep reflection, of course (‘More people is the last thing this planet needs’: the men getting vasectomies to save the world, 12 January). If the reasons for making that choice include concern about the impact of a growing population or the quality of life any child may face in the future, the individual’s right to have the surgery must be respected. It is a tragedy that we have allowed our environmental crisis to go so far, so quickly, that it should influence any person’s choice regarding parenthood, but it is the reality we must all now live with.

That our numbers have contributed to this crisis is beyond question, and it is regrettable that Simon Usborne’s otherwise excellent article rehearses outdated canards regarding “theories of overpopulation” that obscure the progressive, rights-based population argument embedded in principles of social and environmental justice. With positive solutions such as women’s empowerment, education and modern family planning at the heart of addressing population growth, this is a discussion that needs to be had more widely, rather than closed down.
Robin Maynard
Director, Population Matters

Thank you for the sobering article about childless young men seeking vasectomies. These men are realistic about the future, and are therefore taking a wise step. In the past many young men gave their lives in the world wars so that we could enjoy a good life; now some are taking steps to ensure that their progeny will not end up as cannon fodder in resource wars. This sad reality is the outcome of the prevailing mentality which still pursues ecocidal growth economics on a finite planet where we have been exceeding the biocapacity for more than 50 years.

Our woefully inadequate net zero policies will be increasingly jeopardised by the financial and food insecurities caused by the escalating climate crisis. In truth, as long as we persist with the GDP growth paradigm, we shall continue to fuel our ecological nosedive, for GDP is also a measure of ecological degradation.
Barbara Williams
Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire