Climate change is rapidly changing the environment we live in. But how far would you be willing to go to help save the planet?
For 33-year-old British musician Blythe Pepino the latter is a reality. Her fears about climate change are so strong she has decided not to have biological children.
“I really want a kid,” she told CNN. “I love my partner and I want a family with him but I don’t feel like this is a time that you can do that.”
Pepino believes that there will be an “ecological Armageddon” and founded BirthStrike at the end of 2018. BirthStrike is a group of people who are declaring their decision not to have kids because of “the severity of the ecological crisis.”
So far, over 330 people have joined, of which Pepino estimates 80% are women.
’Inheriting a world worse than ours’
The BirthStrikers have decided they can’t bring children into a world facing an ecological breakdown, and where scientists predict climate change will bring bigger wildfires, more droughts, and food shortages for millions of people.
In 2018, the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned the planet only has 11 years to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“You are gambling with someone else’s life,” said Cody Harrison, a 29-year-old who recently joined the group. “If things don’t go well, that human is not going to have a very good life.”
“When climate change gets worse, it multiplies other things. It’s like dominoes that are falling,” said Lori Day, another member of BirthStrike. “It goes beyond sea level rise and storms. It affects food production, migration, resources and war.”
BirthStrike is one of a number of groups around the world that are questioning the ethics of having children in a warming world. Conceivable Future, a network of women in America, was founded in 2015 to bring awareness to “the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice,” although that group’s members haven’t discounted having children.
“The data says there’s a ticking clock,” said Josephine Ferorelli, a co-founder of the group. “The 11-year window more or less approximates a lot of our reproductive windows as well.
“What kind of harm will a hotter and more painful world inflict on my child? Nobody has the answers for that,” she said.
In March, US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told her 3 million Instagram followers, “there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult… is it still ok to have children?”
More children, more emissions
In addition to fears surrounding the quality of life for future generations, some BirthStrikers don’t want to have children because of the extra emissions that their kids, and their descendants, will produce.
Population Matters, a UK-based charity that boasts David Attenborough as a patron and aims to achieve a “sustainable human population,” argues that as the population increases, so will carbon emissions and loss of tropical forests, as well as other environmental impacts.
By 2030, the UN estimates there will be around 8.5 billion people on the planet and by 2100, there could be as many as 11 billion.