It is known that humans are the number one cause of climate change. We are on a planet that we are negatively impacting with actions for our own comfort such as driving to work as a solo passenger or tossing a plastic bottle in the ocean. We don’t think about the consequences this might have for our future generations – but many of us are selfish and react by saying, “I am the last of my generation”. Now those who will end up having kids or who are possibly thinking of having kids are left with the ‘yes or no question’ on whether bringing children to a quickly climate changing world is the right decision.
Published in the Environmental Research Letters, Sweden, Lund University researchers have found out that if families had one less child it can save “an average of 58.6 tones of CO2- equivalent emissions per year”.
Now the real question is who dictates how many kids we are permitted to have? Weren’t women fighting for “my body, my right”? While studies show that having kids pollutes the earth, many would be concerned that it be ethically wrong for a government to pass a law establishing how many children would be allowed to be born. If we followed China’s example and only permitted couples to have one child, socioeconomics would argue that eventually the population would become smaller.
Births in the United States
“The current birth rate for U.S. in 2020 is 11.990 births per 1000 people” in 1951 the birth rate was 24.211 births per 1000 people. Factors contributing to a decrease in births according to polls like the Morning Consult “both Gen Zers and millennials, the issue seems more salient, with 37 percent and 34 percent, respectively, saying it is a major or minor reason they do not have children.” Gen Zers show that they are being more environmentally conscious and are opposed to those in the United States who have three or more children. Some Gen Zers are choosing to not have children as their contribution to the environment along with others who choose to continue to recycle or live a car free life.
While there are no specifics on whether having children now during this rapid climate changing time is correct or not, all humans need to contribute to minimizing the rate at which climate change is occurring. Not all may wish to procreate but we all should be conscious about our global “neighbors”. For those who do choose to have children it could be one or many, as parents we must instill values in our children and to teach them to love the place we call home.
“1 In 4 Childless Adults Say Climate Change Has Factored Into Their Reproductive Decisions.” Morning Consult, 28 Sept. 2020,
“Having Children Is Bad for the Environment, Say Researchers.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 12 July 2017, www.independent.co.uk/environment/children-carbon-footprint-climate-change-damage-having-kids-research-a7837961.html.
“U.S. Birth Rate 1950-2020.” MacroTrends, www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/birth-rate.