Couples Are Rethinking the Idea of Having Kids Because of Climate Change

The future of our children is extremely uncertain.

Matt Lillywhite
Nov 11, 2020 · 4 min read
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Photo by Robo Wunderkind on Unsplash

In 2020, we’ve experienced a pandemic, wildfires, and the busiest hurricane season in recorded history. Horrific natural disasters are becoming increasingly common.

So with all of that in mind, it’s understandable why some parents are reconsidering having children. A lot of people are nervous about what their kid’s future may look like in a world that’s been continually devastated by the effects of climate change.

I’m one of those people. Since I was a little boy, my dream was to have kids of my own. Someday, I want to meet an amazing woman & raise a family in a beautiful city. But part of me is worried that dream will never come to fruition, as the long-term future of humanity is extremely uncertain.

Many other people feel the same way. A 2019 poll by Business Insider reported that almost 38% of Americans aged 18 to 29 believe that couples should consider climate change when deciding to have kids.

And with the United Nations predicting a predicted global temperature increase of 3–5 degrees by the year 2100, one can only ask, “what kind of world are we leaving for our children?”

Climate Change Will Get A Lot Worse.

At the time of writing, there have been 30 named storms in the current hurricane season. To put that data into perspective, there’s usually 12 or 13. And according to the Los Angeles Times, the 2020 California wildfires are the worst in recorded history. Let that sink in.

I’m normally a pretty optimistic person. I tend to have an attitude of “we’ll find a way to figure things out.” But with millions of people living in Texas, California, and Florida, which have been horrifically impacted by the effects of climate change, it’s hard to see a clear path forward.

If things are bad now, what will the earth be like in fifty years? Will we have enough resources to sustainably provide for everyone on the planet? What kind of future will our children inherit? Those are questions that many couples are starting to ask a lot more frequently.

The Looming Mental Health Crisis.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Exposure to climate- and weather-related natural disasters can result in mental health consequences such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.” Also, “Representations of climate change in the media and popular culture can also influence a person’s stress response and mental well-being.”

There is a looming mental health crisis that hardly anyone seems to be talking about. After all, climate change causes many people to experience increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Quoting an article published by the CDC:

“Research demonstrated high levels of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder among people affected by Hurricane Katrina, and similar observations have followed floods and heatwaves. Some evidence suggests wildfires have similar effects. All of these events are increasingly fueled by climate change.”

With no end to the climate crisis in sight, our children may also experience similar problems with their mental health due to the planet’s uncertain future.

We’re Already Seeing An Acceleration Of Pandemics.

According to a study written by Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical historian Dr. David Moren, pandemics have become more numerous. Quoting the study:

“Evidence suggests that SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 are only the latest examples of a deadly barrage of coming coronavirus and other emergencies.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Moren cited deforestation, urban crowding, and wet markets as potential reasons for increasing numbers of deadly diseases spreading around the world.

The current pandemic has been horrific. At the time of writing, over a million people have died, and health systems worldwide are on the verge of becoming overwhelmed. But unfortunately, Covid-19 might only be a preview of what our children will experience more frequently.

Climate Change Can Have Lasting Ripple Effects.

Research published by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that “we’re seeing more heavy downpours and droughts. Heat plus droughts can cause wildfires, and wildfires produce severe air pollution that worsens asthma attacks and can promote respiratory infections, including pneumonia.”

Extreme weather can make it incredibly difficult to access high-quality medical care due to power outages, flooded roads, and other factors that may increase the risk of death or long-term complications.

I fear that my future children will be impacted by wildfires, floods, and many other things that may force them to leave their homes. I’m genuinely concerned they won’t have a good quality of life. So like many other people, I’m apprehensive about the idea of having kids because of climate change.

It doesn’t matter what your political leanings are. We need to come together and agree that it’s essential to protect the integrity of our children’s future. Because if we don’t take immediate action to create a better future for ourselves, our children, and the entire planet, who will?

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Matt Lillywhite

Written by

Mattlillywhitemedium@gmail.com

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Matt Lillywhite

Written by

Mattlillywhitemedium@gmail.com

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

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