Sunday, November 25, 2007

Go Green: Sterilize

Apparently, in order to save the environment and reduce your global footprint, you should get sterilized.

From this source:

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly

Last updated at 22:05pm on 21st November 2007

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Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

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Desperate measures: Toni Vernelli was steralised at age 27 to reduce her carbon footprint

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.

While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.

It's an extreme stance which one might imagine is born from an unhappy childhood or an upbringing among parents who share similar, strong beliefs.

But nothing in Toni's safe, middle- class upbringing gave any clues as to the views which would shape her adult life. The eldest of three daughters, she enjoyed a loving, close-knit family life.

She excelled at her Roman Catholic school, and her doting parents fully expected her to grow up, settle down and start a family of her own.

"When I finished school, I got a job in retail and at 19, I met my first husband," says Toni.

"No sooner had we finished our wedding cake than all our relatives started to ask when they could expect a new addition to the family.

"I always told them that would never happen, but no one listened.

"When I was a child, I loved bird-watching, and in my teens that developed into a passion for the environment as well as the welfare of animals - I became a vegetarian when I was 15.

"Even my parents used to smile and say: 'You'll change your mind one day about babies.'

"The only person who understood how I felt was my first husband, who didn't want children either.

"We both passionately wanted to save the planet - not produce a new life which would only add to the problem."

So, instead of mapping out plans for a family, Toni and her husband began discussing medical options to ensure they would never reproduce.

Toni, from Taunton, Somerset, says: "When I was 21, I considered sterilisation for the first time.

"I'd been on the Pill for five years and didn't want to take hormone-based contraception indefinitely.

"I went to my GP, but she wouldn't even consider the idea.

"She said I was far too young and told me I could 'absolutely not' be sterilised, and that I was bound to change my mind one day.

"I found her attitude frustrating.

"We decided my husband would have a vasectomy instead. He was 25, just a few years older than me, but the GP allowed him to go ahead.

"I found it insulting that she thought that, just because I was a woman, I'd reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought."

Sound like anyone we know? Hmmm...

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