Read another response by Peter S. Fosl
Is it ethical to have biological children when there are children who could benefit from fostering or adoption? Isn't creating further needs wrong, when existing needs could be fulfilled? I'm unsure about the moral status of having children reproductively when fostering is possible. There are some reasons for this concern, which are as follows: In the developed world, each person tends to cause globally disproportionate amounts of pollution and environmental harm. The world bank's statistics on per-capita GHG output by country support this. Creating a new person means that there is a new set of needs which must be fulfilled, often at the expense of the globally worst-off, who will be hurt by the effects of procuring the necessary resources to meet those needs. Secondly, it seems as if we have moral reason to meet existing needs before it is permissible to create more needs through reproduction. There are plenty of children without homes, and adopting or fostering them both reduces environmental harms and meets needs that would not otherwise be met. It doesn't seem as if we need to commit to any position as radical as antinatalism to say that having children and not adopting is usually wrong in the developed world, but these concerns do not feature in public discourse concerning environmental impact. In fact, even environmental organisations seem squeamish about bringing it up as an area worth investigating. Is this cavalier and seemingly unconcerned attitude towards having biological children in the developed world defensible? If so, how could it be defended?