Prince Harry seems to believe that people should have no more than two children. Larger families, he implies, are incompatible with sustaining the planet as a place where human beings can go on living. Others see this as a far too narrowly utilitarian approach to a fundamental issue about what it is to be human. So what is the ethical answer to the question of how many new people we should bring into the world?
The prince was writing in the September edition of Vogue magazine, guest-edited by his wife, Meghan. He had interviewed Dr Jane Goodall, the veteran conservationist and primatologist, about the natural world and the harm that humans are doing to it, not least through climate change. She pointed out what she believes is the paradox that ‘the most intellectual creature that’s ever walked the planet … is destroying our only home’. Harry himself wrote that he has always believed that human beings only ever ‘borrowed’ the Earth, and so have responsibility for sustaining it. He says he’s felt this even more since the birth of his son, Archie, in May.