There is no question that our planet is in the midst of a terrible climate crisis. With the Earth’s future being so uncertain, many people are being forced to confront one of the largest issues related to global warming: overpopulation. Because of this, many women are now choosing not to have kids in an attempt to save the planet. (1)
Women Choosing Not To Have Kids To Protect The Planet
In 2008, the University of Oregon published research they did on individual carbon emissions and reproduction. They found that every child born adds 9441 metric tons of carbon emissions to the average female’s carbon legacy. (2) This shocking number calls into question whether or not having children is good for the planet.
Today, many women are now choosing not to have children for this very reason.
Harriet Spark, a social media coordinator, diving instructor, and environmental activist from Australia, sees the damage climate change continues to cause to the Great Barrier Reef every single day. She is among the women choosing not to have children because she knows first-hand the devastation global warming causes. (1)
“It sounds dramatic, but I’m just being realistic,” she says. “The way we live currently simply cannot sustain more people.” (1)
Choosing Not to Have Kids isn’t Just About The Earth’s Future
For many women, the concern isn’t just about the Earth’s future, but about their hypothetical children’s futures, as well. They understand that future generations will have to bear the burden of a planet devastated by climate change, not them. (3)
Unicef has advocated for the need to act on climate change for years. They know how dangerous and difficult living on the planet will be for future generations. (3)
“Today’s children are the least responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequences. And, as is so often the case, disadvantaged communities face the gravest threat,” says Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake. (3)
Why? Because climate change means more severe weather, such as (3):
These items cause food insecurity and starvation, the loss of homes and communities, and the spread of disease. The hardest-hit, of course, will be those from the poorest countries; however, everyone will feel the effects. (3)
This is where the non-profit organization Conceivable Futures comes in. They are a female-led network of Americans bringing awareness to the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice and are demanding an end to US fossil fuel subsidies. They recognize that, for many women, choosing not to have kids because of climate disaster is a heartbreaking decision. (4)
Currently, they have 86 testimonials on the website from different women. Some choose not to have kids because of climate change, women who want them terribly but feel guilty if they do, and women who are already mothers and what a brighter future for their own kids. (4)
In one of these testimonials, a woman named Kate talks about her personal struggle.
“I would love to have a baby, but I am struggling to justify bringing a new person into a world that faces climate change and overpopulation,” she writes. “I have always wanted to have children, and I still do. My husband wants to have a baby. We have considered adopting. I am trying to persuade myself that it would not be wrong to have a child, but I am struggling.” (5)
The Time To Act Is Now
Many women choosing not to have kids have been called selfish and unethical by partners and other men. Naturally, none of these women want to live in a world where people – men and women – have to feel unethical because they want to have children. They simply realize the gravity of the situation and know that they, as women, have the power to decide whether or not to add more people to the planet. (1)
They also want to rescue the planet for all the children that have already been born and will have to deal with the effects of the climate crisis throughout their entire lives. It is time for all of us to start doing what we can now to stop and reverse global warming. (1)
- “Our Planet Is So F*****d That Some Women Are Choosing to Not Have Kids.” VICE. Linda Yang. December 14, 2016.
- “Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals.” Biological Diversity. Paul A. Murtaugh, et al. 2009.
- “Children will bear the brunt of climate change.” UNICEF. November 24, 2015.
- Conceivable Future.
- “Struggling to decide – Kate.” Conceivable Future