Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Children Are Dogs

Janine Adams admits her children are dogs—standard poodles, in fact—and she says Kramer and Scout are “a huge part of my life.” Adams is a freelance writer who specializes in books and articles on pets and makes no apologies (except to her parents) for saying her dogs are enough in her article My Children, My Dogs:
I have dogs. I don't need kids. At least for now, they fill whatever slight maternal urges I might have. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) I'm happy to say that I'm not alone. A survey of pet owners by the American Animal Hospital Association in 1995 revealed that 61 percent of the dog owners surveyed believe that caring for their pets fulfilled a need of parenting. The previous year, 69 percent of dog owners surveyed said they give their pets as much attention as they would to their children and 54 percent of the survey respondents said they felt an emotional dependence on their pets.
Adams points out that that raising well-behaved dogs is very similar to raising well-behaved children but with some advantages—when the dogs are really bad she can put them in a crate.

Flickr Photo by Sailing Footprints: Real to Reel (Ronn ashore)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Earth Days

Before electric cars, curbside recycling, before energy-efficient light bulbs and wind farms there was a handful of pioneering “greenies” who wrote articles and books or worked to organize protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins for environmental issues as varied as DDT use, nuclear bombs, overpopulation, and pollution.

These efforts sparked a groundswell of awareness and political and social activism which led to the first Earth Day in 1970 and new research, initiatives, and numerous government bills which have changed the way Americans think and act as stewards of the land upon which they live.

A PBS/American Experience film called Earth Days documents the early days of the environmental movement and features interviews with activists and influencers such as biologist/Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson.

In an unprecedented move, PBS will offer a “social screening” of this film through Facebook at 8 p.m. EST on April 11, eight days ahead of the film being broadcast on PBS American Experience on April 19 PBS 9 EST/8 Central.

I was still a kid during the 60’s and 70’s protests but, as I wrote in Two is Enough, I recall being urged to eat my veggies because there where starving people in Africa. Later, in my twenties, I would get very angry when people threw litter out of car windows and was very pleased to see that littering fines were being enforced by cops patrolling the highways in Canada.

I was recently contacted by a man who informed me of the Earth Days film and told me he had made a pledge not to have children and had the vasectomy to back it up. I admitted I was not motivated primarily by environmental concerns to remain childfree. However, I am motivated by environmental concerns to recycle, drive less, and conserve food and water.

Were you motivated by environmental concerns not to have children? If not, how has the environmental movement influenced your behavior?

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Benefits of Marrying Well are More Pronounced for Men

It used to be that women were motivated to marry, in part, to ensure their economic security. Now, a new Pew Research Center report titled New Economic of Marriage: The Rise of Wives reveals that the increase of college-educated working women has been a boon for the men who marry these women, not the other way around.

The report's authors, Richard Fry and D'Vera Cohn, wrote:

“From an economic perspective, these trends have contributed to a gender role reversal in the gains from marriage. In the past, when relatively few wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than that of men. In recent decades, however, the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men.”

Forty years ago, the typical man did not gain another breadwinner in his household when he married. Today, he does—giving his household increased earning power that most unmarried men do not enjoy. The superior gains of married men have enabled them to overtake and surpass unmarried men in their median household income.”

Another benefit of marrying well for men is increased longevity according to another Swedish study, which showed that married men with college-educated wives live longer than men with less-educated wives, likely because of the higher incomes which fund good health care and the fact that men with well-educated wives are more likely to eat healthier and seek care for their ailments at the prodding of their partner.

So the next time your wife brings home another order of Chinese take out because she is working late or she nags you to eat your veggies or to go to the doctor, just thank her.

Flickr Photo by