Amid growing awareness about climate change, a study has found that some people are reconsidering their decision to have a child. Overconsumption, overpopulation, and uncertainty are some of the concerns they point out.
The study conducted by the University of Arizona suggests that climate change has been added to the list of factors to consider while planning a family.
“For many people, the question of whether to have children or not is one of the biggest they will face in their lives. “If you are worried about what the future will look like because of climate change, obviously it will impact how you view this very important decision in your life,” Sabrina Helm, lead author and associate professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Services, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in a statement.
For the study, the researchers sought out people aged 18-35, who said climate change is a deciding factor in reproduction.
Overconsumption emerged as the most common concern among the interviewees. Many participants said they worried about how children would contribute to climate change through an increased carbon footprint and overuse of resources that could become more scarce in the future, such as food and water.
With regard to overpopulation, participants said having more than two children would be problematic and selfish. “Adoption was seen as the low-carbon alternative,” Helm added.
Participants also expressed a sense of doom about the future if climate change continued unchecked.
At the same time, some participants said that the idea of having children gives them hope for a better and brighter future. Others hoped future generations would contribute to environmental improvement.
Climate change has also been impacting people’s mental health, said Helm. “Many people now are severely affected in terms of mental health with regard to climate change concerns. Then you add this very important decision about having kids, which very few take lightly, and this is an important topic from a public health perspective. It all ties into this bigger topic of how climate change affects people beyond the immediate effect of weather phenomena.”
Some participants expressed frustration and anger that their concerns were not being taken seriously by other family members and friends. “It’s still a bit taboo to even talk about this — about how worried they are — in an environment where there are still people who deny climate change. I think what’s been lacking is the opportunity to talk about it and hear other people’s voices. Maybe this research will help,” Helm added.
.(With inputs from ANI)