CLIMATE UPDATE: Should we be having children in the face of climate change?

When a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) starts a countdown clock stating that we have “12 years to slow down the effects of climate change,” it’s hard to not play out some end-of-the-world scenarios in your head.

With doomsday predictions on climate change feeling as frequent as weather reports, some millennials fear that their children’s fate is intertwined with the climate’s, leading them to question having and raising kids at all because of it.

Thirty-three percent of young adults who are considering having fewer children than their ideal number cite climate change as a factor.

While deciding whether or not to have children is an extremely personal decision, here are some of the ways that a global phenomenon like climate change has made an impact:

Some climate activists have suggested not having children or having fewer children as a way to reduce one’s carbon footprint by 64.6 U.S. tons per year, according to The Guardian.

The New York Times spoke to couples who not only feel conflicting instincts to have children, but also want to protect them from the imminent danger of climate change by not having them.

The author of this piece from The Intelligencer described the fears, guilt and hope that come with parenthood as the climate worsens.

The Guardian also talks to couples from varying degrees of antinatalism, a philosophical movement that believes increasing the human population is cruel to the child and causes suffering to the world.

“The thing that’s broken is bigger than us.” – Josephine Ferorelli, one of the founders of Conceivable Future, a network of American women bringing awareness to the threat climate change brings to reproductive justice.

While the adults debate ethical implications of their child’s birth, it seems that the current youth are not waiting around the for the answer.

Youth climate activists as young as 11-years-old have been noticeably vocal against climate change. However, they’re not turning against their parents for justice, but rather looking towards Washington to change policies like the 21 youth plaintiffs in the Juliana vs. United States lawsuit and playing a leading role in the New Green Deal, or what is considered “the most ambitious climate policy the Democratic Party has ever endorsed.”

What role do you think children and parenting play in the future of climate change? Share this article and your thoughts!