I can't tell my adult children what to do, especially regarding such an important lifelong decision.
You can tell them that you have no regrets in having them even if their futures are potentially quite bleak.
Not just climate change. There's not a lot of hope for the future out there. We really messed up.
I wonder of the young woman's parents worry about the suffering she is sure to face when she's older.
To me, that makes her decision even wiser. She is in her twenties per the OP, so she has time to change her mind.
The now 20-something will likely be aged herself by the time things get bad and she'll not have offspring or adult grandchildren who can assist her.
and grandchildren would struggle every day to survive. What type of life is that?
With our wealth, we think of a few days without electricity to be a real struggle. Edit: I could go several months or longer but I sure would prefer not to.
Living conditions like below are foreign to us:
for the rich. No one, nor any nation will be exempt.
Some areas will actually become better suited for human habitation.
Maybe it is more of a pessimism that is based on the projections and expectations of current conditions, which are not very promising at all? They may be expression love for their unborn children who have no choice in the matter.
I tend to think of that as more like a pragmatic realism rather than merely nihilistic. It reminds me of antinatalism, which is almost similar to negative utilitarianism.
But, that's my Boomer hippie stuff, perhaps?
I'm sure as hell wouldn't sit there and accept it. I would go out and have fun til I couldn't do it anymore. Humanity probably won't be able to turn back the damage that has been done to the planet, but maybe someday in the future someone smart will finally build spacecrafts for us to get of the planet and go someplace else or develops something that will considerably help rejuvenate the planet.
In the meantime before all that I'm sure people in the background have been working hard to develop short term tech and procedures that will help humanity survive through this.
NASA folks? Physicists?
I understand where you're coming from but you are in denial. There is no accessible "Planet B."
You're diagnosed with cancer, as you proposed. You're going to bring a child into the world with little to no chance of living a full lifespan without living in a dystopian climate according to most climate predictions?
Sure, we can build enough spacecraft to hold the world's population to escape this burning planet. Sure.
Going off and finding other planets to wreck.
If we succeed in making Earth uninhabitable, then we absolutely deserve to go extinct along with all the other life forms that we will have destroyed.
If you were diagnosed with cancer and told it was inoperable; you only have 5 years max to live. Would you decide to start a family? Thats the more apt analogy, not going out and having fun.
Some areas will actually become better suited for human habitation.
Scroll down to page 15 of the following report on Alaska:
One observation I've made is that despite the angst expressed by many about climate change, very few appear to be doing anything to adapt to it. It's like they have the opinion that climate change will be bad but it's something that will happen to others and not them.
Last edited Mon Jan 6, 2020, 07:44 PM - Edit history (1)
He and his g.f. are well-read, well-educated, and know what's coming. (They've 5 degrees between the two of them.)
Over population and air pollution were themes we studied in the 1970s. They just have another name now.
didn't have children. That doesn't mean they aren't working to change things for the next generation, mind you--just that the guilt of not being able to affect all the change that they sought and know that we desperately need has left them feeling sanguine about not having children.
When I was in my early 20's and our rivers and air were so polluted. I had children and the pollution was cleaned up. We were all very idealistic when we were young.
Maybe it will change as she gets older but right now she is struggling to make ends meet (we help as much as we can) while her boyfriend (husband someday I think) is in a training program.
But besides the economics she is just disgusted with the world and it gets worse every day under drumpf. I dont blame anyone for not wanting kids these days.
So it came as a shock.
How 'bout mass starvation and disease. Or, pollution, economic collapse and global war?
I despair for the youth of today and am glad I won't be around to see it.
"Once was the time of man..."
Mass starvation, disease, more pollution, economic collapse, and global war.
Climate change will cause all of these.
but each could well happen for other reasons. Climate change makes it all the more likely (certain?).
They both think that it's irresponsible to add to the planet's population at this point in time.
I understand and respect their decisions, although it has also saddened me - no grandkids! (sniff)
I think that if I were in my 20s today, I would probably not want to bring any children into this world, either.
Not just because of climate change, also because of the current worldwide political and economic climate. Why bring children into a world ruled by oligarchs, when those children would have nothing to look forward to except serfdom?
In my 20's I didn't want children. I married in my 30's to a beautiful wife who had two children. I had my same feelings but went with it because of falling head over heels in love. Ended up being a great experience as the children treated me as if I was their dad.
It felt wonderful that we became so close. My wife passed away a few years ago, but her children and I still have a great relationship.
Not sure what my point is But you just never know where life will take you!
three wonderful children and three grand marvelous kids later, I'm glad I didn't follow through like my brother has. My son and his wife decided to have no children in the nineties and kept their vow.
I think every generation has had these thoughts.
while her brother and SIL are planning for kid(s).
I'm frustrated/angry/sad that we can't seem able to address and fix the problems we have to leave them a better future and am slowly losing hope that it may be too late anyway.
That said, GOTV. It's our only chance.
our parents or other relatives felt the same way during WW2, things then were messed up too, but then again they didn't have a idiot as pResident.
We could change this around with voting like we have never done before. We got to.
The birth rate cratered in the late 1920s and stayed very low until after WWII.
With the New Deal and the consumer society and decent pay for a day's work, things looked rosy enough that people in their late teens through their early 40s felt safe enough to have kids. This is the baby boom, not so much that women were having huge families, but that a large age range of women were finally having them after 20 years of not being able to afford to.
That's part of what's happening now. Wages have been depressed since the late 70s and kid in their prime child bearing years are often crushed by student debt. Few can afford children and the political situation is just one other disincentive.
It's not just in the US, ether. Pessimism about the future is holding down population growth in most developed countries.
It was part of the curriculum for the liberal college I attended in 1970-71. And it was part of the reason I never planned to have kids. Aside from the population problems, in those days there was a serious threat of nuclear war. Some of my classmates were planning to move to New Zealand as the place most likely to be survivable in case of WWIII.
Since I had grown up near where Pat Frank's "Alas Babylon" was set, I figured being close to a blast would provide a shorter span to suffer, so I have stayed put pretty much. But no kids that might have to live through a post apocalyptic world. Climate change might just be a slower version.
That book predicts mass starvation killing hundreds of millions the 1970s. Did that happen?
I actually told them I didn't want them to bring children onto the planet because I wasn't sure if they were even going to have a "normal" adulthood - as the burning ship continues to sink.
They are 17 & 18, and have no plans to procreate... My son is obsessed with making enough $$ to build a bunker. That's his end game.
have all chosen, except one, not to have them. Out of six children, and four grandchildren, my mother has one great grandchild. I like to think we've done our part in educating our next generations, they certainly are seriously concerned. I worry for them too.
My husband (graduated from college in 72) often mentions Silent Spring. In that we have known things for a very long time.
good conscience, have children. Last 30 years or so. Seeing many families with more than 2-3? I'm not. And I know many parents with no children.
None have reprduced and have no plans to.
I'm not compliaing.
To each his (and her) own.
I am not in any position to sire children, but I certainly wouldn't if I were younger and I think that is a sound decision, all things considered.
In fact, I agree with a view called, antinatalism. Since one's unborn progeny are unable to make the decision, the potential parents should take that into consideration in a compassionate way. There are many reasons that people have children and, now, there are many reasons not to. I support that.
I tend to agree with her, but I will say some will survive - cave dwellers in isolated areas. The entire human thing is built on growth. More of everything, and more knowledge. But climate change in my view depends on how soon populations start declining and economies contracting. That will reduce resource depletion and climate change. Of course it's a hideous outcome. I think of it as the scenario in Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" about the century of the 100 Years War and the Black Death. Villages were wiped out. Some places had more dead than they could bury for a long time. Take that and transplant it to our modern era.
If declines are gradual, or manageable, it could be milder.
But no kids because you think you know the future? Can she pick lottery numbers? She could raise a zero-net consumption baby. Everything used, public transit, passive solar home, that sort of thing.
As we aren't doing jack shit to solve the underlying problem. Ooooh, that costs to much. We say that while Australia burns to the damn ground. We'll probably still say that when the US east coast burns to the damn ground. I don't blame her one bit. Who would want to bring children into some kind of Mad Max reboot?
Smart young woman.
I saw this one coming 50 years ago.
ECOLOGY NOW was a slogan for environmentalism.
It was never taken very seriously.
It was easier to live with the idea of a disposable world with a never-ending bounty.
How very wrong they are.
i.e. Fires in Australia, species being wiped out. Just the beginning.
Expressing it in different ways.
would do the right thing. I thought if climate change didn't get us, overpopulation would. I really hoped I was wrong but sadly I wasn't. I'm going to be 65 in June and I've never regretted my decision. Our arrogance will be the death of us and so many other species on the planet. I'll be gone before the shit really hits the fan, but I see my 5-year-old & 8-year-old god-grandchildren and my heart aches for them. I so hope that we wake up before it all goes to hell but I just don't see it.
I remember some saying that back in the 60's.
I am so glad that I'm not as pessimistic as some on this board. I'm also so glad that I had my two children and that I now have a grandchild. Many women in their late 30's/early 40's (and beyond I guess) are paying thousands of dollars to do IVF just so they can have a child. The human biological urge to procreate is one of the strongest of human behaviors.
Some of those new babies may grow up to be people who find solutions to the problems that need to be addressed.
People are not going to stop having babies. I have never for one moment in my 70 years regretted having my two children.
I am in my mid-50's and I love my freedom. I also am the nervous type who would constantly be worrying about them if I did have any. I have 8 nieces and nephews and I fear for them all the time - between school shootings, the environment, declining career prospects, potential for addictions, violence in general, etc. I could never handle being a parent.
There is a middle ground - adopt or be a foster parent.
He died so any possibility of grandchildren is nil.
But Im very relieved that he chose not to. Very relieved.
We certainly haven't made any inroads towards saving ourselves, or any other species. Why contribute to the problem?
Cut the problem off.
I made that decision a long time ago but for different reasons. If I had to do it again I would add Climate Change to the list. The birth rate is going down in the US for the first time since 1900 and it is because people are finally thinking, wow, imagine that?!? The young adults are smarter than we give them credit for.
I decided I hated children and didnt want any when I was in junior high and was bullied to the point of suicide by my peers. If children were as evil as them, I wanted no part of it.
Thirty years later, my attitude towards kids has softened and I like hearing my coworkers talk about their kids to me. I adore my nephew, who lives several states away. I just dont care to bring one home with me permanently.
But junior high is also where I first heard about global warming (mid-80s), and that helped further solidify my decision not to have any of my own.
I do worry about my 8 year old nephew. Hes very interested in space and science, and wants to be an astronaut. Over Christmas I talked to him how hard hell have to work towards that goal, and maybe I went a little overboard in making him promise hell get to Mars someday. Hes still innocent enough to just see that as a grand adventure rather than as survival, but I think thatll change as he gets older.
"India will soon become the worlds most populous country as Indias population is predicted to surpass that of China within the next decade."
and maybe China too, now that they did away with their one-child policy
Not sure how I could care for children as well. Climate change made the decision even more simple. And who knows? Maybe Ill adopt or foster kids in a few years?
As long as we live in this capitalist utopia, hold profits over the needs of people and organize ourselves around human greed instead of human need, why bother?
Until we grow up as a species, we put the very habitability of our planet in peril.
I told her that her Dad and I decided to observe "Zero Population Growth" which was a movement in the early 1970s. She and her husband opted not to have kids, for several reasons, one of which was planetary changes. I mentioned a program about life after humans, which I haven't watched, but heard about. She hadn't heard of it, so I googled it and came across something called Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, where we stop reproducing to phase the human race out to save the planet. She said, "I guess I'm part of a movement."
The trouble is, the people who might be better parents, at least in awareness of impact, won't have kids, and people who don't give a ff about the planet won't stop, and won't raise their kids' awareness.
I participated in the 1st Earth Day, and we observed it by planting trees or a garden almost every year. Our kids recycle, limit consumption and our daughter with kids is passing her habits along to her kids. I'm proud of them.
I don't blame the 20 something for opting out of parenthood. It is always scary to have kids, but seems worse lately.
The single most impactful thing we can do is to go to a plant based diet. I dont think enough people will, so I agree with her that it is too late and I applaud her gumption not to introduce more children to a painful short term future.
have told me they are not having kids because of climate change. And I understand where they are coming from. It seems to be a wise decision given the prospect for the future.
If we don't leave, at some point the world will become our tomb.
Are doing this, the thoughtful, smart people are deciding not to but the crazies are having lots of kids.
If this can't be brought to heel, she will be compelled by Catholic-Evangelical male maniacs (and their female counterparts) to bear children - whether with a partner she chose to be with or whether she was RAPED by some random predator who hid in the shrubbery and forced her at gunpoint or by point of knife at her throat to submit.
Plenty of them have kids now.
It is likely to be disastrous and not have much impact on the climate.
Having 1 child only is probably a better alternative to keep population neutral.
Outside of being some sort of scientist or a politician with enough power to have a meaningful voice in the debate... not making more humans is the best thing we can do for the planet I believe.
For same reason. And my sisters only two children will not have children so she will never be a grandmother.
My three daughters have given me four grand babies and I live for them. But sometimes I wish they hadnt because the thought of their future suffering hurts.
There's no way on god's green earth I could have raised a kid to be competitive in this environment.
Not only do people choose not to have kids, but everyone is also starting a family later in life. there's Having kids during the late 30s and raising them in the 40's happens while birth rates are expected to decrease every year as my generation of millennials age up. Planned pregnancy at a young age is uncommon too. Birth control have made so many people so responsible. The the current state of things naturally represses everyone from procreation. sry late post night
The changes are taking place faster then earlier predicted.
The effects of climate change are taking place faster then earlier predicted.
I'm one of the "older folks." In 1965, at age 20, I decided, based on population growth numbers, not to father any children. I married women who agreed with that, and we didn't make any children.
I read "The Population Bomb." I studied global population issues. I made a decision. There are many others in my age group who made similar decisions. Not enough, however, to have forestalled one of the consequences of having too many people on this finite planet.
The warnings were there. People ignored them. Warnings about famine. Warnings about disease. Warnings about climate. Warnings about running out of resources. Warnings about sheer overcrowding of the planet. People ignored them, just as they are doing now, in vast numbers.
I did not ignore those warnings. Others I know did not ignore them, either.
Perhaps it's just first-world educated young adults who are making this plan.
Other areas of the world, different plan, or no plan at all.
Or does this non-procreation plan have a statistical correlation with race or religion? I don't think it's universal.
And, this planet will survive the human race by billions of years. Except for a meteorite hit 65 million years ago, mammals would not have had the space to survive, grow, evolve.
having a child costs $5K. Nearly half of all births are funded by Medicaid.
In the future given the policies of the Republicans, I would not be surprised if many decide on sterilization given that both abortion and contraception will be more difficult to obtain.
says the same thing. Another issue is affording day care. My older daughter is living as frugally as she can, wants children, and I plan to do the day care when she works, part time. They have one older car, eat only food she makes from scratch, and take the train to work. Their jobs reimburse their MARTA passes, so commuting is free.
It took me more than 10 years to find a doctor who would even discuss the subject with me.
They all said that I would change my mind but I never did.
They have FIVE children, and the wife looks like she's pregnant again. Worse yet, they homeschool their progeny, undoubtedly so they can perpetuate their fairy tales without any hope of a real education interfering. These people have no shame.
What makes me sick is that the people of good conscience, like the young person you spoke with today, aren't having children while the religious nuts are still shooting them out by the truckload. It doesn't bode well.
A person can do whatever they like with their body, but keep your religion away from me. These people don't. They're always handing out pamphlets for their church, especially the husband.
Odd that anyone here would feel obligated to rush in and form loving shield around such people.
And I was 40 years old and working at IKEA. I was very committed to recycling and salvaging and thinking about the environment for future generations even though I knew that I would never have children of my own.
A twenty-something co-worker and I were tossing broken items into the crushing dumpster* and I brought up my desire to waste as little as possible etc., etc., because tomorrow's children deserve a chance, blah, blah. My co-worker brought up the point that she thought that the world would hold together long enough for her to have children but didn't think things would be very good for the generation after that.
There was a bland acceptance in her perspective that troubled me. She wanted the good things in life, including having a family. But, she, like many of my co-workers, didn't feel like going through too much trouble to recycle or reuse or salvage and repurpose items. And she wasn't investing any angst into what her children and their children's lives would be like.
Correct me if I am wrong, but that sounds like nihilism to me. It was also short-sighted and selfish.
I have a much higher opinion of the young woman who doesn't plan on having children because of its impact on the environment--or because she couldn't guarantee that her children would live decent lives in a sustainable world.
Clearly, not every single breeding age person of the next generation will feel that way. The chances of our species going down for the count because no one will be having any babies in the future is zero.
The real issue is what sort of life can we offer to a reasonable number of people in the future. Total pessimism will not fix the future, of course. But thinking about the future beyond one's own personal desires and aspirations is part of the mindset needed to confront the challenges ahead.
* For those in Customer Service, even those who genuinely enjoyed helping people as I did, the crushing dumpster was the most blissful form of therapy ever invented.
Besides, life on Earth has been in a tenuous position well before the advent of nuclear weapons or the internal combustion engine. We're not even safely positioned in our Solar System's own habitable zone. So look on the bright side: While we wait in silence, clutching our loved-ones, having made peace with our inevitable and self-inflicted end we might just suffer a super eruption or get hit by a medium sized meteor and die ironically by the rapid onset of a mini ice-age. I say bright side because that seems almost preferable to waiting and worrying for a couple of generations for the exact demise with which mother-nature will surely not oblige us.
for that reason, too. I saw what direction the world was going and I didn't want to subject another being to the horrors of humanity. Every time I see a child I think of what's in store for them and it reaffirms my choice.
Her first child just passed 18 months, and #2 is due in June.
Her 19 month old daughter is already showing signs of being focused, funny, intelligent and headstrong--just like her mother. Our daughter was a handful growing up, but we tried to instill in her the knowledge that she could accomplish anything she set out to do. She has lived up to our expectations and more, and if she is putting more people in the world like that to carry on when we are gone, we can only approve.
Because of current bureaucracy, it took her 11 months to get U.S. citizenship for her first baby (it took me 2 hours for her in 1985 at the U.S. embassy in Bonn), but she did it, so the next generation of Democrats is on the way. We'll need them.
Not an unreasonable position. No actionable plan exists that adequately addresses climate change. The changes required are just too drastic for most to accept.
I'll also just toss out there that if the only reason someone doesn't want kids is climate change, then adoption would be something to seriously consider. Plenty of kids already born who need parents.