I absolutely adore children, I am an aunty to three and have never felt a love like I do for them. But I don’t want to have children of my own; I don’t feel it’s something that fits in with my life path. Coming to this realisation is difficult, I have often felt like my projected life path is almost polar opposite to others and as a result have felt on the outside of friends. I do often struggle with the thought that in the future my life will look considerably different to that of my friends and most likely alter our friendships.
I’m suffering from a serious case of climate change anxiety, although there’s some amazing people, brands and initiatives making giant leaps forward for our planet I still don’t believe that what the world needs is more people. It breaks my heart to know we have done unimaginable damage to the planet so to bring a child up in this doesn’t make sense to me.
According to a recent study, one of the biggest actions people can take to reduce their impact on the planet is to have fewer children. Researchers calculated that having one fewer child reduces carbon emissions by a staggering 58 tonnes of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life.
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Recently I came across a thread in a Facebook group on this very topic with many other women feeling the same way along with opinions of women who don’t feel the same way that also reassured me on the topic; after all, this isn’t a two sides of the fence story but more of an open discussion with complex opinions.
So I asked five millennial women their thoughts on having children. Here’s what they had to say:
Eliza. 23. Graphic Designer. “This has been a big topic amongst me and some of my closest girlfriends. We are the types of women who cannot see our futures without children in them however, we cannot bear the thought of bringing children into a world that has such a dark (or non-existent) future. It breaks my heart to think I may not be a mum, but it would break my heart more to know that I have brought children into a crumbling world. With the non-action being taken on climate change in Australia and around the world, the chance I will have kids is getting slimmer and slimmer, and it’s just devastating.”
Alicia. 25. Registered Nurse. “I’ll be having kids and when I do they’ll be brought up with an environmental consciousness from the beginning. We didn’t have that as kids but things are changing and I believe the world isn’t as completely doomed as we think, considering how rapidly we are changing our footprint.”
Samantha. 25. Media and Public Relations. “My concern about having kids isn’t about the damaged world they would be growing up in but the damage they will potentially be doing to the world. We are already so overpopulated and the environmental toil of having kids is huge. I am trying really hard to consciously reduce my environmental footprint, but to be blunt, the impact of all that is minuscule compared to the damage that my hypothetical child would have in their lifetime. Regardless of how environmentally friendly I raise them to be, it is much more environmentally friendly to not have any kids at all.”
Tayla. 26. Travel Agent. “I have always felt extremely maternal and always wanted a child of my own. I have only more recently become aware of what changes I can make in my every day life to better the environment. It is a scary future that could be in store for us if we don’t make some serious changes but for these changes to sustain I believe there has to be a generation that enforces what we have learnt in this climate emergency and keep it going. The more responsibly we teach the children of tomorrow the greater chance they have for their children.”
Taralynn. 32. Eco Coach. “The thought of having children has often come from a place of uncertainty, although my intrinsic nature of being a woman yearns to bear beautiful children of my own some day. I do have concerns for our Mother Earth and the state she is in because of the generations of disconnected and unconscious souls before us however, having said that, there has been surges of positive energy shifts where more individuals are becoming environmentally conscious and putting in great efforts to protect out planet and it’s because of this that my faith in becoming a mother has been restored. I believe that it is possible to raise my little ones to be better versions of the humans before them, to have them understand that our innate connection with Mother Earth is fundamentally critical to the health of their future and the future for all life forms on this planet we all share. With proper education and an unspoiled mindset (that’s often forced upon us by society) I believe children can develop strong values and ethical standards that truly align with the preservation and progression of our Earth.”
Would you quit having kids because of climate change? Is it environmentally irresponsible to have children given what we know about the impacts of overpopulation? These are important questions to consider at a time when the human species faces many environmental threats. Have something to say on the subject? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Feature image via Unsplash.