The Jay (4 to 2) Family System: A way to reduce the Earth’s population while increasing family strength
The Royal Society's report People and Planet, published today investigates the links between global population and consumption, and its implications for a finite planet. It warns that continued rates of growth in the world’s human population, coupled with unprecedented levels of consumption, present profound challenges to human health and well-being, and to the natural environment.
Humanity continues to use more natural resources than the Earth produces. Waiting for rising prosperity in countries of the developing world to reduce population growth to below replacement levels is no solution, for as these countries become wealthier, they naturally seek to emulate the lifestyle of the West (20% of the world's population consuming 80% of its resources), which is already proving unsustainable.
Karl Jaeger, co-founder and chair of trustees of the think-tank Our Future Planet, argues we must reconsider our nuclear family system. He proposes the Jay, or 4 to 2 Family System. This is a one child policy but it is an improvement on the Chinese One Child policy which can leave children isolated, parents frustrated and female children resented. The Jay Family System instead brings together two couples with one child each to produce a household of four adults caring for two children. Thus each child has a companion and playmate and both children have four adults to care for and love them (so the children have more protection and nurturing than in a two adult family). Moreover, the adults can have more choice of the combination of children for which they will care.
There are other advantages of this Family System. In the event of one, or two adults leaving the family through divorce or death, the children still have two or three adults for their care and protection. In fact by providing extra parental support, this system may relieve some of the stress on parents and so reduce the numbers of divorces. Furthermore, on a simple material level, the system provides for more long-term financial stability and scope for sharing of resources (cars, for example).
The adults benefit too in that parental duties are more widely shared. For instance, one couple might be able to go on holiday, knowing that the other couple is looking after the two children, and it offers the women more freedom to divide their time as they wish.
The Jay Family System springs from concern for the planet Earth and our children’s future on it; it has inherent environmental benefits in reducing population over time and by sharing resources. However, such an extension of the present nuclear family model may well have domestic and wider social advantages too.
See the Jay Family System website http://www.4to2.info
Our Future Planet is at http://www.ourfutureplanet.org
Statistics on the Earth’s population are at http://www.worldometers.info
This article was written and published by Our Future Planet based on the Jay (4 to 2) Family System devised by Karl Jaeger.
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