Idol Chatter

duggarfamily.jpgIt’s no surprise that Josh Duggar, the oldest child of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s 18 children, and his new wife Anna have taken up the family tradition of being in the family way (the couple announced Anna’s pregnancy yesterday) with much enthusiasm. But, what I do find surprising is the transformation of TLC from The Learning Channel into TFC, The Large Family Channel.
Home to the Duggar’s “18 Kids and Counting,” “Jon & Kate Plus Eight,” and “Table for Twelve,” the channel has cornered the market on freakishly large–at least according to 21st century standards– families. (At one time, it is reported, “Octo-mom” Nadya Suleman was in consideration for a show.) I’ll admit, I’m fascinated by the Duggars, less so with Jon and Kate as her incessant harping wears me down, and I’ll catch “Table of Twelve” if I flip by it.
But I also can’t help but feel that these shows are promoting irresponsible population growth. I appreciate that each couple has their own belief system guiding their choices, and that they are fiscally able to maintain such large families, but I can’t help think about the environmental impact of families with 18 children, the lack of sustainability. Disposable diapers are already the third largest source of landfill in this country, even though infants make up a tiny fraction of the population. Plus, U.S. aid agencies and population researchers around the world are continuously working on ways to reduce the number of large families in order to limit the burden on natural resources. So what kind of an example is being set by these shows?

Maybe the families already work toward sustainability in their daily routines, but we never see it on the shows. So, I would love to see TLC do a crossover show with its sister Discovery Network channel, Planet Green. Perhaps inviting the hosts of “Wa$ted”–a show wherein folks actually earn the money they would save by going green–to come to Jon and Kate’s place and evaluate all the ways they could help the environment (like not using disposable plates the kids often use ). And with that many hands, taking out the recycling should be a snap.
18 Kids and Counting at

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