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Study: people are afraid of having children thanks to climate change

In a study published in the Journal of Climatic Change, it was found people worried about climate change are deciding not to have children.

Have you questioned whether you want to bring any children into this wretched world? Current climate science tells us we’re headed for a more extreme and less inhabitable earth unless we make some pretty hectic changes right now.

People worried about the climate crisis are deciding not to have children because of fears that their offspring would have to struggle through a climate apocalypse, according to the first academic study of the issue.

Climate protest
Photo: Markus Spiske

600 people aged 27 to 45 years of age were surveyed, who revealed they were already concerned about their prospects of having children. Participants stated that the wellbeing of their potential future children in a climate-changed world would be a driving factor to avoiding reproduction.

One survey respondent said: “I feel like I can’t in good conscience bring a child into this world and force them to try and survive what may be apocalyptic conditions.” 

Other respondents said bringing a child into the world in the face of climate change would be comparable to having children in the middle of World War I.

60% of respondents also expressed guilt in the potential carbon footprint that having a child places on the environment, and many respondents expressed regret having already had children.

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, who led the study, says:

“The fears about the carbon footprint of having kids tended to be abstract and dry, but the fears about the lives of existing or potential children were really deep and emotional. It was often heartbreaking to pore through the responses – a lot of people really poured their hearts out.”

Some have hit back, labelling the idea as “ecofacism” while defending their right to have children. It has become undeniable that climate anxiety is at an all-time high, and far play given the amount of education and science telling us that we’re a little bit screwed.