Climate change: have you tried squirting breastmilk on it?


Climate change is the greatest existential threat we face.

Lactivists are meeting it in the same way they meet every other situation. They recommend putting breastmilk on it.

That’s the premise behind the ludicrous editorial in the BMJ Support for breastfeeding is an environmental imperative by Prof. Natalie Shenker.

Shenker declares:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]How green is a breast pump?[/pullquote]

Formula milk contributes to environmental degradation and climate change

Conversations around the complex subject of infant feeding have invariably focused on health outcomes, but recent studies have highlighted the environmental cost of decades of disinvestment in services to support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding uses few resources and produces minimal or zero waste. The associated infant and maternal health outcomes produce healthier populations that use fewer healthcare resources.34 The production of unnecessary infant and toddler formulas exacerbates environmental damage and should be a matter of increasing global concern.

I wrote about Prof. Shenker just a few months ago.

A physician had asked other physicians on Twitter:

Drs of Twitter! If your child had developed a mild superficial fungal infection over the weekend, would you buy some Canesten 1% (available from a pharmacist without prescription) or would you feel you needed to take your child to a walk-in centre for a formal diagnosis & script?

Shenker replied with this tweet:


Hey, hope the little one is ok. Have you tried putting breastmilk on? Contains fungicide components (probably for just this sort of thing)

Now she’s suggesting treating the entire planet with breastmilk.

As Dr. Steve Novella has written on Science Based Medicine:

One common feature of pseudoscience is that proponents of a specific belief tend to exaggerate its scope and implications over time…

Dr. Shenker’s editorial is a classic example of how breastfeeding promotion has veered into pseudoscience.

Lactivists are losing ground and they know it.

Several decades after predicting that increased breastfeeding rates would lead to decreased infant mortality, severe morbidity and healthcare spending, it has become clear that it leads to none of those things. That’s hardly surprising since there was never any correlation (let alone causation) between breastfeeding rates and infant mortality. For example, the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the world AND one of the lowest infant mortality rates.

To the extent that increased breastfeeding rates in term babies have caused ANY measurable change, it is only to make things WORSE. Exclusive breastfeeding is now the leading risk factor for newborn re-hospitalization in the US, leading to TENS OF THOUSANDS of readmissions per year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But lactation professionals have built entire medical and academic careers on promoting breastfeeding. Therefore, as it has become clear that substantive benefits of breastfeeding don’t exist, they’ve been hawking ever more nebulous “benefits” in areas like the microbiome and epigenetics.

The recommendation to squirt breastmilk on climate change was inevitable.

Prof. Shenker presents her case the same way that lactation professionals always present their case: looking only at benefits, ignoring both costs and risks.

According Shenker:

The food industry, particularly dairy and meat production, contributes around 30% of global greenhouse gases. Most formulas are based on powdered cows’ milk. The average water footprint of whole cows’ milk is around 940 L/kg: one kilogram of milk gives about 200 g of milk powder, meaning the water footprint of milk powder alone is roughly 4700 L/kg.

That sounds impressive until you consider that breastmilk supplies the same calories per ounce as formula and those calories have to come from from the food consumed by the mother. In contrast to cows who need only consume grass to make milk, women need meat (produced by industrial farming), vegetables and fruit (produced by industrial agriculture) and fish (caught by practices that are destroying the oceans).

Dr. Shenker fails to even consider the environmental impact of those factors.

She writes:

A 2009 study showed that 550 million infant formula cans, comprising 86 000 tons of metal and 364 000 tons of paper are added to landfills every year; the formula industry has more than doubled since then.

But how green is the plastic used in breast pumps? How green is the electricity and batteries used to power them? How green are nursing bras made with synthetic fibers? How green are special clothing, breastfeeding pillows and other breastfeeding accessories. Dr. Shenker doesn’t know because she never looked.

Then she adds a truly bizarre coda:

The amount spent on marketing infant formula worldwide has been estimated at over £5bn (€5.6bn; $6bn) a year—£36 for every child born. Costs to the environment include paper use, postage, plastic waste, and transport costs at multiple stages in the production, marketing, and sale of breastmilk substitutes.

Marketing? How does the environmental impact of marketing formula differ from the environmental impact of marketing breastfeeding? Oh, right, it doesn’t; yet Prof. Shenker does not suggest we stop marketing breastfeeding.

Indeed Prof. Shenker deliberately leaves out a lot of things.

Here’s just one: What is the environmental impact of tens of thousands of newborn re-hospitalizations each year: the cost of neonatal incubators (made in large part of plastic), IV tubing, blood drawing needles, etc. etc, etc?

There may be an environmental case for promoting breastfeeding, but by refusing to consider the environmental impact of breastfeeding itself and the increased risk of hospitalization, Prof. Shenker hasn’t made it.

If that weren’t bad enough, she shifts responsibility for addressing climate change from corporations who have caused it to individual mothers:

This is a societal responsibility to which we can all contribute. A multitargeted approach is required, including investment in medical education so doctors can support and signpost mothers if difficulties arise, improved antenatal information and care enabling parents to develop feeding plans alongside birth plans, better access to screened donor milk from a regulated milk bank when supplementation is needed, and increased numbers of certified lactation consultants. Cultural change is long overdue to remove the myriad obstacles to breastfeeding faced by new mothers.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, climate change is largely driven by CO2 production from the burning of fossil fuels. The contribution of the formula industry, if it even makes a contribution, is trivial.

No matter. Prof. Shenker isn’t trying to reduce climate change, she’s trying to promote breastfeeding and — like those who promote pseudoscience — exaggerating the scope of its effects and its implications in order to do so.

37 Responses to “Climate change: have you tried squirting breastmilk on it?”

  1. Russell Jones
    October 4, 2019 at 5:17 pm #

    The superheated gases emanating from the yappers of lactivists are surely a major contributor to climate change.

  2. mabelcruet
    October 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

    I wrote most of this post ages ago, but the person who wrote that editorial was also the cause of the post, so its worth repeating.

    “There is a website in the UK called Doctors Net UK-its only available to medical practitioners, not even nursing staff or other healthcare people, just GMC registered doctors. They do a lot of medical educational modules, and a few months back did a breast feeding module.

    Remember this is a medical website for medical doctors and is allegedly providing evidence based medical information and training.

    The introductory bumf for the breast feeding module starts out:

    After completing this module you should have:

    1 . An understanding of the process and physiology of normal breastfeeding
    2 . Awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding
    3 . Knowledge of the main reasons mothers stop breastfeeding before they intended
    4 . The ability to recognise and treat common breastfeeding problems
    5 . Awareness of sources of help for breastfeeding mothers
    6 . Understanding of the principles of safe prescribing in breastfeeding

    NOTHING at all about the risks of breast feeding or the benefits of formula feeding. Nothing at all about the sources of help for formula feeding mothers.

    It goes on to say:

    Recent data from a robust series of meta-analyses which considered study quality and sources of potential bias indicate that:

    Breastfeeding is also associated with higher scores on tests of intelligence

    It might also protect against deaths in both high and low-income countries

    Breastfeeding provides protection for the mother against breast cancer and it improves birth spacing

    It may protect against ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes

    Economic impact- moderate increases in breastfeeding would save up to £40 million in NHS expenditure as a result of fewer GP consultations and hospital admissions…..savings to the family as there would be no need to buy formula.

    NOTHING at all about the costs of breast feeding-nothing at all about the economic impact of formula feeding (more flexible in parents returning to work etc)

    So, I did the module (even though its not that relevant to my particular area, but I’m claiming CME points anyway).

    One of the case studies is a woman going back to work after 6 months of maternity leave, baby exclusively breast fed but now beginning solids. One of the answers to the question how might she continue to breast feed while she is working is to ‘reverse cycle’. This is to repeatedly waken the baby at night to feed it on breast milk so it won’t need so much breast milk during the day. SERIOUSLY??? Is this a thing??? She’s about to go back to work and a serious suggestion is that she sets her alarm wakes up multiple times a night to feed a baby who can eat solids?

    Another doozy is the suggestion that a way to ‘encourage’ mum to continue breast feeding is to tell her there is evidence that parents of formula fed babies need more time off work because of their babies’ ailments-way to go to emotionally blackmail your patient, Dr Lactivist.

    Also: ‘use of formula decreases breast milk’. A broad statement with no explanation, no discussion about combo-feeding, top-up feeding, nothing, just ‘use of formula decreases breast milk’.

    I’ve done the module, I’ve fed back (there’s a handy box asking you if there’s anything else you think the authors should have included). It’s such an incredibly biased module-you’d think with it being on a doctors only website they would be balanced and neutral-absolutely not, it was so obvious that there was an agenda”

    Anyway, I still haven’t received any response to my feedback, which was rather robust and uncomplimentary (but thoroughly evidence based and referenced). I checked the website today, and the same shitty module is there, with the same inaccurate, false, incomplete and unprofessional, non-evidence based conclusions. So I’ve complained again.

    Also, have a look at the BMJ rapid responses to the editorial-one of them is from a researcher looking for people to contribute to a survey ‘Where next for Breast feeding?’. There are some truly appalling suggestions on that-putting a special tax on formula milk, making it prescription only, giving breast feeding mothers (but not formula feeding mums) extra paid maternity leave. It is very clear from the way the questions are worded that the authors want to reduce formula use and demonise it as much as possible, they’ve written in such a way as to equate it to junk food.

  3. Kim Thomas
    October 4, 2019 at 4:01 am #

    She’s right in the essentials, though. Mocking her by claiming her she’s trying to solve climate change by “squirting breastmilk on it” is hardly an attempt to deal rationally with the arguments. You say that women need meat and fish to produce breast milk – well, no, not necessarily. I certainly didn’t. And not all breastfeeding women use breast bumps or other breastfeeding paraphernalia.

    The dairy industry is a huge contributor to climate change – far more so than fruit and vegetables. It is a problem we need to take seriously. This piece of research by the University of Oxford shows the enormous difference between the impact of meat and dairy farming and the impact of the farming of grains and vegetables:

    • Heidi
      October 4, 2019 at 8:48 am #

      Shenker didn’t put any stipulation on what lactating women should eat so whether or not women need to eat animal products is moot. Whether or not meat and dairy actually contribute that much to carbon emissions is debated. But we aren’t talking about all dairy and meat. We are talking about a product that is only used for the first year of life and only by some people. And it does have mostly plant-based alternatives that are appropriate for some babies (but she fails to bring that up too). If Shenker was sincere about her climate change concerns, formula should barely be on her radar.

      And to breastfeed without pumps is not as easy as “just feed from your breast.” Most women I’ve known with infants work outside the home. No pump, no breastfeeding. I know I would never ask someone to drop their career to feed from the tap, if it was even a financial option for them.

      • Kim Thomas
        October 4, 2019 at 9:05 am #

        “Whether or not meat and dairy actually contribute that much to carbon emissions is debated.” To be honest, I don’t think it’s debated that much – there seems to be quite a broad scientific consensus now about carbon emissions from meat and dairy.

        I take all your other points, of course. Yes, a lot of breastfeeding women use pumps. Yes, some women eat meat and dairy while breastfeeding (though then again, I’d dispute the idea that women eat much more when breastfeeding than they do at other times).

        And yes, of course, she may be motivated purely by an ideological desire to push breastfeeding and attack formula. I don’t have any wish to make women feel bad for using formula milk because I know how much pressure new mothers are under and how hard it is already for them without having something else to feel guilty about. It’s just that I think on the single issue of whether formula milk causes more environmental harm than breastmilk then the answer is almost certainly, yes it does.

        • Heidi
          October 4, 2019 at 10:01 am #

          But you don’t actually know if breast milk causes less environmental harm than formula! How many women pump, what resources are pump parts made of and what does getting those parts entail, how many lactation consultant visits does a person need, what transportation is involved seeing the LC, etc? If you are going to make a claim like to Shenker, I expect to see some evidence that supports such a claim. And I really want to know why you’d use something that is used for so little time?

          • Kim Thomas
            October 4, 2019 at 10:38 am #

            Short of carrying out a large-scale analysis, which as a single individual I’m not really in a position to do, I can only go on what seems most likely based on the information already out there. It’s possible, of course, that breast milk has a greater environmental impact than formula – but it seems incredibly unlikely based on what we know about the the environmental harm caused by the dairy industry (see e.g. my earlier link to the University of Oxford study, but there are others). I think the question about visits to the lactation consultant is a bit bizarre, to be honest – I never saw a lactation consultant and I’m sure most breastfeeding women don’t. It does seem to me that you’re just dreaming up some rather daft scenarios because you want to shore up your ideological position. I do think it’s worth your while taking the time to consider the question calmly and rationally, from first principles. And sorry, I don’t understand your last question.

          • Griffin
            October 4, 2019 at 11:52 am #

            The daft and ideological one here seems to be you. I understood Heidi’s points perfectly well. The question about the lactation consultants relates to the fact that women have to travel to see these consultants ie there are transportation costs that probably involve CO emissions. Yet another issue that Shenker et al. fail to consider in their grotesquely one-sided piece.

            And “I really want to know why you’d use something that is used for so little time?” relates to Heidi’s earlier point “We are talking about a product that is only used for the first year of life and only by some people.”

            Your blinkers seem to be affecting your reading comprehension. And you’re also using the fallacy of pulling out single issues from the whole argument. Your intention is to make those single issues and therefore the baseline argument look silly. You are a dishonest debater.

          • Heidi
            October 4, 2019 at 1:03 pm #

            I am not making up any daft situations. Shenker must think LCs would be needed because she advocates for more. A lot of women who have infants do return to work well before the first year is over. Most working women are not able to bring their babies to work to nurse to avoid pumping. Pumps are not biodegradable, pumps are not made to last in my experience (seven months and it was dying). It has parts that need to be replaced that aren’t even recyclable. Formula is not the entirety of the dairy and meat industry. I imagine it’s a pretty small part of it given that we only give it to little humans who don’t overall consume nearly as much as larger humans. It’s also only required for one year. Most of us go on to live 70 or more years, consuming a lot more animal products (and of course other agricultural products) daily than a baby. So why is Shenker focused on such a small part of dairy consumption? Shenker does not advocate for plant-based diets or reducing meat and dairy consumption anywhere that I’ve seen. I also haven’t seen her be concerned about other disposable plastics. In fact I am remembering Enfamil sold formula in bags in cardboard boxes so you could refill the plastic canister.

            I have no reason to believe Shenker is a bit sincere about formula contributing to climate change. If she was sincere then she’d sincerely be concerned about the environmental impacts breastfeeding can have, but that’s never addressed. What Shenker is is a breast milk zealot who will throw any argument to support breastfeeding. She doesn’t care if breastfeeding women get all their nutrition from beef wrapped in plastic and styrofoam that they drove 50 miles to pick up in their SUVs.

            If Shenker is going to make the claim that breastfeeding is going to help reduce climate change, then she needs to figure out which scenarios it would and what the impact would even be. Yes, a stay at home mother, who can eat grains and legumes primarily, who never has issues with supply or latching and never has to leave her baby in the care of others might make the least carbon emissions by breastfeeding. However most people are not vegan or reducitarian, lactating, stay at home parents so I think I’m very right to be skeptical of the impact pushing breastfeeding would have. I think I’m also not wrong to consider in what cases this might be negated if we really pushed this on women.

          • fiftyfifty1
            October 4, 2019 at 5:51 pm #

            Women consume an extra 25% more food when breastfeeding. Whether this food has more or less of an environmental impact than feeding formula instead depends on what the woman eats. If she limits herself to eating the extra food in the form of something plant based, minimally packaged, easily shipped, shelf stable and that needs minimal cooking (maybe something like red lentils) then this may have a smaller footprint than formula. However if she just eats 25% more of her normal diet (this is what most women actually do) then formula will likely come out ahead. 500 extra Kcal in the form of a cheeseburger (or for that matter 500 Kcal in the form of produce wrapped in plastic, shipped across the country in a refrigerated truck, stored in a home fridge, and cooked) is worse environmentally that 500Kcal of shelf stable powdered formula reconstituted with tap water.

          • rational thinker
            October 6, 2019 at 8:11 am #

            “I think the
            question about visits to the lactation consultant is a bit bizarre, to
            be honest – I never saw a lactation consultant and I’m sure most
            breastfeeding women don’t.”

            Really, I assure you most women do, mainly first time moms, and if you birth in a BFHI hospital you are going to see one. A lot of women see one 1 to 4 times and sometimes more.
            How do they get to the appointments for the LC? Fuels like gasoline that pollute the atmosphere. Since you could not figure out the obvious you instead decided to insult Heidi by calling her daft. if you want to be taken seriously here dont insult people when you dont understand something or cant defend your position.

        • fiftyfifty1
          October 4, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

          “I’d dispute the idea that women eat much more when breastfeeding than they do at other times.”

          The amount extra they eat has been measured. To exclusively breastfeed a baby, women consume ~25% more food each day than they do when not lactating. (~3500 extra Kcal per week)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            October 4, 2019 at 9:32 pm #

            Don’t you bring your fucking facts around here, woman. Kim can’t believe it, therefore it must not be correct.

        • Azuran
          October 8, 2019 at 10:21 am #

          XD ‘some’ women eat meat and dairy while breastfeeding.Actually, MOST women do. vegetarianism and veganism is still pretty fringe in most circles.

    • rational thinker
      October 4, 2019 at 10:21 am #

      “You say that women need meat and fish to produce breast milk – well, no,
      not necessarily. I certainly didn’t. And not all breastfeeding women
      use breast bumps or other breastfeeding paraphernalia.”

      I would say that probably two thirds of breastfeeding women use some kind of breastfeeding equipment. As for meats and/or fish you may not need to eat them to produce breast milk but if we want to compare nutritional quality of the milk being produced for the infant I would say that the milk that came from the woman who is eating fish and meat is going to be the superior one.

    • Azuran
      October 8, 2019 at 10:18 am #

      But you are talking about how ‘green’ you made your own breastfeeding, not what the average breastfeeder does.
      It is also very possible to make bottle feeding pretty green. After all, I could do it with exactly 1 bottle that I would sterilize/wash by hand with super environment friendly soap between each feed. And also buy my formula in very large, recyclable containers, after of course, finding which kind is the most echo friendly.

      But that’s not what the average mother is going to do regardless of if she breastfeed or formula feed.
      I’m breasfeeding, and like the average mother, I’m not sparing any thought about making it more echo friendly (There are not enough hour in the days for me to care and if they added more hours, I’d use them to sleep more). I eat dairy and meat, and I’m not going to stop doing so and neither will the average mother. Most people use breastfeeding pillows because comfort matters to them, I sure do, and I had to buy additional covers for it because my baby spits up a lot. (If I formula fed him, he might actually spit up less and I’d be doing a lot less laundry and would not have bought a ridiculous number of baby bibs to keep up with him) I bought a new rocking chair because again, comfort and posture matters when you spend hours is a day breastfeeding. I use disposable pads because I leak all the time and dear god I have enough laundry as it is and enough things going on in my life without having to keep track of how many breastfeeding pads I have left. I have breastfeeding bras and clothes. I also do have a breast pump and breastfeeding bags. Cream for my nipples as well. And a ridiculous number of pamphlet about breastfeeding that every single health care professional gave me.

      So yea, on average, I really doubt breastfeeding is significantly less damaging across the board. And in any case, infant feeding is such an insignificant thing when considering everything that contributes to global warming, mothers really have other things they should worry about.

  4. October 3, 2019 at 7:51 pm #

    I thought this was going to be a golden satire piece.

    Well, it still is….just that the original author has drank enough kool-aid that she doesn’t realize how bonkers she sounds.

  5. fiftyfifty1
    October 3, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

    1) Breastmilk production is based on “supply and demand.” The more the breast is suckled, the more it WILL make.
    2) Breastmilk is free. It costs nothing and requires nothing. (Even starving women in concentration camps produce abundant milk, doncha know?)
    3) Breastmilk is a perfect and complete food.

    If you combine the above lactivist truths, the solution to global climate change is immediately apparent. We can get rid of all crops as well as all farm animals and all fisheries. Every lactating woman just needs to breastfeed not only her own baby, but everyone around her. The more people she suckles, the more milk she WILL make. Then to meet her own nutritional needs, she can just suckle from another lactating woman and vice versa. A perpetual nutrition machine!

    • Alia
      October 4, 2019 at 9:57 am #

      Seen the latest version of “Mad Max”?

  6. Alia
    October 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm #

    This is one of my pet peeves. We, individual consumers (and mostly women) have to make our lives more difficult for the sake of our planet. Not only by breastfeeding but also by eschewing tampons and sanitary pads, as well as disposable diapers and modern detergents – and some even claim that hormonal birth control is harmful to the planet because residues in women’s urine cause sex changes in fish (I kid you not). And at the same time governments and multinational corporations do what they want.
    And then of course nobody really takes all the aspects into consideration – disposable diapers are bad, maaan, but the fact that washing re-usable diapers uses water, electricity and some kind of detergent gets glossed over.

    • KQ Not Signed In
      October 3, 2019 at 5:55 pm #

      Always down for any chance I get to reference Alex Jones screaming that we’re making the friggin frogs gay.

    • jengerson
      October 3, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

      Don’t forget; we’re only allowed to have one child now. Maybe two.

    • October 3, 2019 at 7:50 pm #

      Plus, no one really expects traditionally male occupations to make such massive changes. Farmers need to watch their consumption of fossil fuels, change over to green energy and use fertilizer carefully – but no one seriously argues that farming should go back to primarily human labor assisted by draft animals. Manufacturers are working on green cars – not expecting men to work as real teamsters again using draft animals along with drays or carriages to move people and equipment.

      • Alia
        October 4, 2019 at 1:35 am #

        And even in smaller things – have you seen anyone appeal to men to get rid of disposable safety razors and either use a razor or grow a beard? I haven’t.

    • Who?
      October 4, 2019 at 12:40 am #

      I’m sure you have read ‘Counting for Nothing’ but if you haven’t it’s well worth it.

    • AnnaPDE
      October 4, 2019 at 2:58 am #

      This is a valid point, there’s no point in expending lots of effort to finessing a small chunk without doing something about the big things.

      But. Those multinational corporations and governments aren’t just doing random, environment-destroying things for the fun of it. They do it for profit, and that money is coming from somewhere: From the people who are buying their goods and services, and in the end that’s all of us in some way.

      Because we like to have bridges that don’t collapse, cities with big stable houses, nicely paved roads, cars/ships/planes made from steel that transport us fast and far, a wide selection of food that’s available all year round, a variety of products made in factories, modern medical treatment, electricity day and night, disposable plastics for a range of uses, and lots and lots more. Preferably at an affordable price.
      It isn’t possible to have this without using resources on a massive scale, and it gets even worse when no value is placed on environmental cost, so that there’s an incentive to maximise profit at the expense of environmental degradation.

      Ultimately, both the demand and setting boundary conditions are up to most of us together, in the form of consumption and political decisions.

      • Alia
        October 4, 2019 at 10:03 am #

        I live in a country where the government staunchly supports coal-based energy production. I haven’t even voted for them but well, that’s democracy for you. Anyway, if my government supports building more and more coal-based power plants to support the country’s energy needs and withdraws money from other initiatives, I’m not going to bend over backwards to protect the environment.
        As for my personal choices, I use public transport whenever I can, I recycle and reuse as much as possible, I am lucky enough to be able to do grocery shopping every day so I buy as much as I need and do not throw food away… but I’m not going to clean my place with baking soda and vinegar just because someone claims that detergents are harmful.

        • AnnaPDE
          October 8, 2019 at 10:07 am #

          We might well be in the same country… 🙁

          I may have phrased my comment poorly, as I completely agree that our individual choices of consumption detail, while made with good intentions, are really just tinkering around the edges.
          Would it have saved a mountain of plastic rubbish if I had used cloth nappies, even despite the additional loads of washing? Definitely, but I didn’t. I use a menstrual cup and not tampons/pads because it works a lot better for me personally (no more “out of spares!” moments or extra seconds spent rummaging when the super heavy flow strikes), but the environmental difference is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things. Same with my bike commute (mostly great for the reliable duration & daily exercise)… the environmental benefits are mostly incidental and, despite the warm fuzzy feelings, insignificant. Even if everyone were doing it.

          And that’s because the entire lifestyle we’ve come to see as “decent developed country standards” relies on a massive expenditure of resources. Not just the “nice to have” stuff that our economy sort of relies on but is not so bad to cut back, such as ridiculous amounts of not-really-essential travel for business and tourism, or air-conditioning entire cities. But also fundamental things like a reliable food supply (even “local” stuff can’t be grown in the amounts needed for a major metro area close enough to not need lots of fuel for transport, and especially not year-round), construction with concrete and steel, and quite simply the level of industrialisation needed to maintain the technology we’re relying on to keep us safe and alive.

          I honestly don’t know how humanity can keep at least this “basic” stuff going (well, basic by today’s first-world standards, but I’d hate to go back to “lights out at sunset, turnips in winter, no infrastructure for surgery”), unless we figure out something real quick to overhaul most of power/transport/food production in a SciFi-miracle kind of way… and I don’t see that happening realistically. 🙁

  7. Heidi
    October 3, 2019 at 3:24 pm #

    If you’re really concerned,.I think you’d encourage women to buy the biggest container of formula possible and encourage powdered over liquid. I know it would have been a lot more environmentally-conscious to have opted out of a pump, to not have bought non-recycleable, petroleum-based pump parts, and not to have ordered or bought the worthless supplements and to have exclusively formula fed. I don’t know what pump technology involves but a lot of tech requires mining. Yeah, Shenker’s concern is coming off as very insincere.

  8. rational thinker
    October 3, 2019 at 1:49 pm #

    So we stop making formula to save more land from becoming a dumping ground/landfill polluting the earth, but the logic with that is off because the land you will save will become another type of landfill…cemeteries.

    • Cristina B
      October 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm #

      You’re assuming she cares about the babies.

  9. sheistolerable
    October 3, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

    When I was pumping for my son (born term) in NICU, I thought about this–one disposable plastic syringe for often, teeny tiny drops used for oral care.

  10. mabelcruet
    October 3, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    The best thing you can do for the environment is not breed at all-each child is 60 tonnes CO2 equivalent emissions per year.

    • Heidi
      October 4, 2019 at 10:21 am #

      . . .but if you don’t have a baby, you won’t lactate and literally save the world!

      • mabelcruet
        October 4, 2019 at 4:51 pm #

        Spraying breast milk on the polar icecaps will prevent them melting.

        And we should send some up on a rocket to patch up the holes in the ozone layer.

        • Heidi
          October 4, 2019 at 5:13 pm #

          That reminds me of this probably Trump supporter climate change denier who didn’t understand why we couldn’t just make ice cubes to cool down the ocean. I bet he opens his fridge to cool down his house.

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