My opinion

By Dr. Deepak Gupta
Corresponding Author Dr. Deepak Gupta
Wayne State University, - United States of America 48201
Submitting Author Dr. Deepak Gupta

Child-Free, Vanaprastha-Sannyasa, Eco-Friendly Decomposition, Preemptive Palliation, Climate Emergency

Gupta D. Does Being Child-Free While Dying-Mean To Eventually Eco-Decompose Preemptively Palliate The Climate Emergency?. WebmedCentral ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE 2020;11(12):WMC005669

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 09 Nov 2020 11:21:33 AM GMT
Published on: 03 Dec 2020 07:29:22 AM GMT

My opinion

It is my opinion that the Climate Emergency as humanity’s precipice warrants resourceful adaptations in environmental activism by inventing public opinion rather than investigating public opinion if it wants to emulate the sweeping success of political conservatism globally [1-3]. We have always talked about preventive management and recently lapped up to promoting curative management [4-5]. However, if the Climate Emergency becomes incurable, we must prepare for palliative (care) management to guide the resilient ones to outlive it and for terminal (care) management to comfort others who will fail to survive.

It is my opinion that one method for preemptive palliation may be about practicing and promoting being child-free (voluntary childlessness) [6-7]. Voluntary childlessness is not a new normal [8]. It just reinvents multi-thousand-year-old normal whereby globally, spiritualism often advocates the practice of celibacy. By utilizing modern-age methods and activities, voluntary childlessness allows even the fragile commoners to stride on the path of this “environmentalism” which has been treaded only by the resolute spiritualists historically due to the absent provisions for contraception unless renouncing pleasure [9].

Voluntary childlessness will only be palliative and NOT preventative in terms of the Climate Emergency because universal childlessness meaning human extinction will never happen as it must never be the intended target of voluntary childlessness [10]. As analogous to planned grazing [11], planned childlessness will and must always remain limited to the altruist generations who will selectively and voluntarily choose to practice it on rotation cycles so that the environmental costs to arrange palliation for the child-bearing generations will remain manageable considering that selectively and voluntarily overcoming the innate instinct to reproduce so as to survive through descendants has been made possible as well as easier by the advent and acceptance of modern contraceptive methods and virtual pleasure activities.

Concurrently, focus on voluntary childlessness may warrant humanity to align global strategies towards productive qualitative living instead of prolonged quantitative living. Herein, it is my opinion that developing consensus for accepting dying-mean via Vanaprastha-Sannyasa may come in handy as a method complementing the preemptive palliation’s reach of being child-free. Essentially, Vanaprastha-Sannyasa (Retired-Renounced Life) [12-13], an Eastern ideology, can be explained to those at the dusk of life who can then consider voluntarily volunteering to live their remaining life by the principles of underconsumption till they naturally meet their ends while neither shortening their lives artificially materialistically nor prolonging their lives artificially materialistically. Regarding man-made systems of economy, voluntarily planned and practiced child-free and dying-mean way of life may have the potential to create less debts for the future generations to repay unless future generations themselves get so much downsized that already dwindling debts still end up overwhelming them forcing them to realign and rectify their fertility as well as consumption strategies once again during their times according to the needs of their times.


It is ironical that the unresolvable core question is what the appropriate longevity is [14]. It is my opinion that one primarily lives long to immortality through one’s descendants’ generations and thus living long in itself without generating descendants may turn out to be immaterial unless one begins counting one’s legacy to outlive oneself through other fellow beings' descendants’ generations creating immortality for one’s legacy though not for one’s genes [15]. Metaphorically, when comparing 4x100m relay race with 400m race, one realizes that one as a team of four clocks faster time in 4x100m relay race as compared to when one is running 400m race alone thus providing the faster turnover of shorter spanned generations for the genes’ regenerating immortality in the relayed races as compared to loners’ potentially dead-end generations with dead-end to immortality therein. This may be how simpler organisms’ regenerative systems may be getting benefitted in terms of longevity for their species even though sometimes individual organisms’ lives may appear to be much shorter spanned from individualistic perspectives [16]. Again, it is ironical that humanity will eternally face the dilemma how to consciously choose and empathetically balance individuals’ longevity with species’ longevity with environments’ longevity.

To complete the thought, lessons can be drawn from an anciently and historically known mythological character from the East, Bhishma, who voluntarily vowed to be child-free for life for the sake of others’ descendants and was in return blessed by others to dying-mean in his own time chosen at his own discretion so as to exemplify the difficult and yet attainable path for future generations if they choose to understand why to do so [17]. Further completing the thought by taking (borrowing) pages from the Eastern theological figures’ mythological sagas depicting reincarnating cycle of life while donating (from) bodies after death to eco-friendly decompositions [18-21], those voluntarily practicing being child-free and deciding to dying-mean can choose to make their wishes known to their heirs about having eco-friendly decomposition methods for their bodies after their deaths [22], like “Recompose” being the method of natural organic reduction which has been recently legalized (effective May 2020) in the State of Washington State in the United States [23-26].

Summarily, it is my opinion that while working for prevention and cure of the Climate Emergency, humanity should ready itself for its palliation and terminal care as well. Herein, being child-free to eventually dying-mean while returning “dust to dust” with eco-decompose may appear to be one of the most humane methods to control the environmental burden of humanity, overwhelming the imminent Climate Emergency.


  1. The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. https://www.a
  2. Constructing Public Opinion. https://www.ama
  3. The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives. https://www
  4. About Project Drawdown.
  5. Kiss The Ground.
  6. "Life is a gift": a vision for preemptive palliation.
  7. Childless and Childfree Are Not The Same Thing. f0ed198a
  8. The couples rethinking kids because of climate change. imate-change   
  9. Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage. e/10.1007/s10887-019-09170-6
  10. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
  11. How Does Planned Grazing Impact the Earth? ing_infographic/
  12. Relevance of ‘vanaprastha’ of the vedic age at afternoon stage of life at present global age: a perspective.
  13. The Heart of Hinduism: The Four Ashrams. https://iskconedu
  14. Exceptional Human Longevity.
  15. The Selfish Gene.
  16. Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality. es/PMC4133289/
  17. Mahabharata Eps 04 with English Subtitles Bhisma Pratigya & Iccha Mrityu Vardaan.
  18. Hinduism and organ donation. https://www
  19. How did Lord Krishna die, what happened to him after the Kurukshetra war! ehind-lord-krishnas-death/
  20. Krishna Death – How Krishna died in Mahabharata? Krishna death story. a/
  21. Mahaprasthanika Parva. rva#/media/File:Death_of_Draupadi_-_Illustrations_from_the_Barddhaman_edition_of_Mahabharata.jpg
  22. 7 Eco-Friendly Options for Your Body After Death. https ://
  23. Recompose: May 2019 News – Public Policy: Washington.
  24. State of Washington: Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5001: Human Remains – Alkaline Hydrolysis And Natural Organic Reduction: Effective Date: May 1, 2020. -S.SL.pdf?q=20201107023442
  25. Recompose: Our Model.
  26. The World’s First Human Composting Facility Will Open in 2021. nto-soil-in-2021

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