When world leaders get serious about reducing carbon emissions, we can raise families determined to improve the planet’s future
When I had my daughter I felt like the first person to have a baby; now I’ve had my son, I feel like I might be the last. An academic study into how young people factor climate change into their reproductive choices makes for dark reading, with 96% “very or extremely” concerned about their potential children in a climate-changed world. For some the concern is so severe they’ve decided not to have children at all. “I can’t in good conscience bring a child into this world and force them to try to survive what may be apocalyptic conditions,” one 27-year-old woman said.
More shocking even, were the 6% of parents who confessed to feeling remorse about having children. One 42-year-old father painted a Goya-like picture of his children’s adult life, “a hot-house hell, with wars over limited resources, collapsing civilisation, failing agriculture, rising seas, melting glaciers, starvation, droughts, floods, mudslides and widespread devastation”. After reading this, I put the kettle on and had a small cup of tea and waited until my hands stopped shaking. Bloody hell. Literally, bloody hell. Man, I feel for that dad, singing his children to sleep before curling up on the landing and rocking, slowly. As well as pressing upon one of my archipelago of dready bruises, his quote made me consider the intellectual compromises required in order to have a baby.