Recently, a New York Times article featured Americans who are choosing not to have kids because they don’t want to expose them to the future dangers of climate change. In addition, some noted that the act of having kids itself has massive environmental consequences. Unfortunately, media sources that deny the existence of climate change and see reduced fertility rates as a threat to American economic growth and dominance quickly ganged up on them. They seem to prefer large families, even celebrating one couple who is expecting their fourteenth child.
What’s wrong with this picture? Should climate change be a reason for the people most concerned about the future and concerned with others’ welfare, to stop having kids, while people who refuse to accept the science of climate change have huge families? Do we want a future filled with people who care the least about it? Don’t we want all parents to be thoughtful and caring?
A few things that can’t be denied
- Better family planning has done more to protect our environment than any other change in human history, both in terms of reducing emissions and creating a smaller, better prepared human population.
- Despite the success of family planning, current trends suggest that by 2050 there will be 3x as many humans on Earth as there were in 1960.
- Human activity often has a negative impact on the planet including ocean acidification, mass extinctions, and climate change that even our Department of Defense now admits.
- Having children today should be a decision that guarantees all children a certain level of wellbeing at birth, includes equity when setting that level, and recognizes the importance of delaying first pregnancies to achieve better outcomes for children.
What can be done?
- Promote a different approach. This is how the child-first Fair Start model works.
- Join the community of families speaking out for better family planning.
- Tell your elected officials to reform our tax system to promote proactive family planning.
- Work with your local government to include Fair Start family planning in their climate action plans.
- Promote legislation in your state that would create Fair Start orders to prevent the torture, abuse, and neglect of children.
People are ready for better family planning and are ready to push back against irresponsible parenting. Climate change should lead us to better outcomes, not worse. Take action now.