With the rise in global warming and climate change threatening our very existence, millennials are wondering if it is okay to have children now, especially women. Many women now see procreation as an act of bringing a beloved to an inhospitable planet. BirthStrikers is a community of such people, who have decided to not have children in response to the threat of a warming planet. What’s the point of going through the perils of childbirth and the emotional roller coaster ride that is motherhood, when you have to watch your kid breathe the polluted air and drink toxic water which isn’t fit for the fish to swim in? But then, isn’t this just an easy way out?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  •  BirthStrikers are a community who have decided to not have children in response to the threat of a warming planet.
  • According to them, it is unfair to bring new life into this world because we have ravaged our planet beyond repair.  
  • Giving up procreation doesn’t undo the damage we have already done.
  • To reverse it, why not breed sensitively and usher in a future generation which cares for the environment?

After becoming a mother, I began to pay more attention to the environmental changes happening all around me.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Representative, suggested that it may not be “ethical” to have children. She said, “There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?”

Being a parent, I can identify with BirthStrikers’ stand. After becoming a mother, I began to pay more attention to the environmental changes happening all around me. I didn’t care about the quality of air I was inhaling, so much but now it matters more. In fact, everything matters now, from seasonal changes like winters which won’t go away, to smog to dead whales floating ashore, their stomachs full of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Environmental degradation spurs emotions of concern and guilt. Did I do the right thing by having a baby, knowing that the planet we are leaving for her is turning hostile and harsh with each passing minute? This realisation has dawned on BirthStrikers one stage ahead of when it struck me – before procreating. I fully empathise with how they feel. But while there are many other legitimate reasons to not procreate, I think ecological degradation isn’t one of them. Yes, overpopulation is at the root of almost all our problems. But if we stop procreating altogether, we would be heading for extinction anyway.

Parenthood can become a strong motivation to be better people. To work to slow or even reverse environmental degradation.

As I said, if anything, parenthood has made me more responsible and aware of the environmental problems around me. I now care more about the planet. For others too, parenthood can become a strong motivation to be better people. To work to slow or even reverse environmental degradation. It can make you question your lifestyle choices, government and corporate policies. It could also prompt you to take matters in your own hand and actively partake in the restoration of environmental balance.

So let us not pin our falling desire to have children on something as insufferably noble like sparing them climate change. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to have kids. But those who are having children shouldn’t be held in contempt of not caring about our planet enough. Because what would be the point of saving all these glorious forests, oceans, mountains and rivers, if not for the future generations? Why not instead procreate sensibly and inculcate a feeling of responsibility towards the planet in our children?

Let’s teach our children to respect our common resources and all the life that inhabits this planet. Let us tell them all about the horrors that we face today, so that they can learn the lesson of how not to be disrespectful to this planet. It is not too late to save this world, I think, and it is far too early to give up on the human race altogether.

Pic Credit: Elite Agent

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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