An attempt by Bainbridge Island Councilman Ron Peltier to have the city proclaim Father’s Day as “I Didn’t Reproduce Day” brought a blunt response from his fellow council members.
Peltier introduced a proposed proclamation at this week’s council meeting that called for making the third Sunday this June — Father’s Day — as “I Didn’t Reproduce Day” to draw attention to the Earth’s growing population and the impacts that humans have on the planet.
Peltier, who has a son, drafted the proclamation and said he’d gotten one response from people who had seen it.
“That person wanted to know if it was a joke,” Peltier said.
“It’s not a joke. I’m dead serious,” he added.
“I don’t know how you all feel about it, but I would like to request it be on our business agenda for next week,” Peltier told his fellow council members. “And we can vote on it.”
The proposed proclamation recognizes those who do not have children.
It says: “Whereas, human beings who defer or abstain from procreation make a special contribution to humanity and to our biosphere, including with each deferred human birth preventing 900 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere, and for their contribution by omission deserve their own special day of appreciation.”
The proclamation also notes that specials days are set aside to honor mothers and fathers, “while so-called ‘childless’ members of society have traditional been stigmatized for failing or choosing not to reproduce.”
Peltier found no support from others on the council for the proclamation.
“I think it’s incredibly insensitive,” said Councilwoman Sarah Blossom.
“As the only person on this council who has not reproduced, I think it’s very insensitive. Some people aren’t able to, some people make a choice not to,” she added.
“It’s not something to celebrate,” Blossom said, her voice breaking.
“I think it’s really insensitive, she added again.
Councilman Joe Deets also spoke out against Peltier’s proposal.
“I agree with the lack of sensitivity,” Deets said. “I don’t understand why you did this. I’m not in favor of this at all.”
Mayor Kol Medina said he understood the point about overpopulation that Peltier was trying to make, but also did not support the proclamation in its current form.
“I certainly understand the point you’re making,” Medina said, adding that for most of their lives, he and his wife were not thinking of having children because of overpopulation.
They eventually changed their minds.
“We ended up deciding to have a child,” Medina said.
Peltier was unapologetic.
“I stand by it. I don’t feel bad about it,” Peltier said, but added that he realized the majority of the council was against the idea.
The proclamation noted that the planet was facing a “Sixth Extinction,” and continues “with the current rate of species disappearing from the planet estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates, and with human overpopulation and profligate consumption considered to be the primary causes.”
It also notes that the world is growing by 220,000 humans per day.