The Science says: don’t have kids.
The most important thing is that you cease breeding, goy.
About four years ago, my wife and I, who are both in our thirties, briefly thought we were having a baby. For the next few nights my dreams were of nuclear flashes lighting up the sky, of the earth cracking open and of waves lapping at the front door.
Humans are swiftly making the planet uninhabitable. Why would we want to bring another human being into the world? I’ll admit that my climate anxiety is as melodramatic as it is severe. But polls show that I’m not alone and the figures of declining birth rates speak for themselves. For a population to sustain itself, the average woman has to have 2.1 children in her lifetime. In the US — thanks in part to fears about the future of the planet — that figure is now around 1.7.
This is quite something, given that procreation is hardwired into the human psyche. Passing on our genes is the biological reason we were born. It’s why we want sex, arguably why we ‘want’ at all. To choose not to have children is to prune oneself from the genetic tree — to defy human nature. It’s not much to help the planet by recycling or driving an electric car. But to not have children? That sounds extreme. Yet to me and many others, so too is the threat we all face.
Everything inside me says ‘have children’, but it’s everything outside that makes so many of my generation say ‘no’. The scientific consensus is clear: unless we all take drastic steps to limit our carbon emissions, the planet will become uninhabitable, and I don’t believe humanity will coordinate those steps in time. The choice for parenthood is based on hope for the future, so of course it’s affected when that future looks hopeless.
Yeah, if things are looking like humanity will go extinct, let’s just preemptively extinguish humanity, just in case. You know, to be really sure.
The only people capable of riding that stupid train of thought are white.
For me, there are two levels here. Let’s get the semi-altruistic one out of the way first because, to be honest, it’s the lesser half: the pitter-patter of each new pair of carbon footprints is disastrous for the world.
If you’re serious about reducing your climate footprint, there is nothing more powerful you can do than decide not to have kids. The facts are clear and brutal. One academic study set it out a few years ago: if you live car-free, you save 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per year. If you avoid airplane travel, it’s 1.6 tCO2e saved per round transatlantic flight. Eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tCO2e a year. But not having a child, in the developed world at least, saves 59 tonnes (tCO2e) emission reductions per year. So having a child inflicts far more harm on the planet than all the jet-setting and steak-eating you might do: it wipes out any climate good we can as individuals hope to achieve during our lifetimes.
If they’re really serious about reducing their climate footprint, there’s something even more effective for them to do than not having kids: killing themselves.
But these climate cultists don’t love the planet that much.
It doesn’t really matter though, because these are the same people that took Bill’s mystery juice.