Climate scientists thinking twice about getting pregnant

All (normal) people recognize climate change is coming and it's going to seriously alter the way pretty much everyone lives. I've often wondered if people are going to stop choosing to have kids — after all, god only knows what the world they inherit will be like in 50 years. 

The Guardian went to the experts, asking exclusively female climate scientists how they feel about having kids. The results are (spoiler alert) not encouraging. But not surprising either. Here's the headline that got my attention:

'I am starting to panic about my child's future': climate scientists wary of starting families

My cortisol level just shot through the roof but my interest is piqued. I must read on!

An exclusive Guardian survey has found that almost a fifth of the female climate experts who responded have chosen to have no children, or fewer children, due to the environmental crises afflicting the world.

These are not rando apocalyptic, conspiracy types. And they're not your Fox "News" fever dream liberals hellbent on destroying the world economy to further a Marxist/Venezuelan/atheist agenda. These women have a crystal ball called science that allows them to see the future and they're thinking twice about bringing kids into the world they see coming. 

Prof Lisa Schipper, an expert on climate vulnerability at the University of Bonn in Germany, chose to have one child. She said that coming from the global north, where each person's carbon footprint is much bigger than those living in the global south, there is a responsibility to think carefully about this choice.

"It is honestly only now that I am starting to panic about my child's future," she said. "When she was born in 2013, I felt more optimistic about the possibility of reducing emissions. Now I feel guilty about leaving her in this world without my protection, and guilty about having played a part in the changing climate. So it's bleak."

She must be a hoot at office parties. But I totally get where her head is at. More than just biological urges, having babies is a fundamentally optimistic act — you look around and make the call that on balance the future looks bright. To think about the birds and the bees you have to believe there will continue to be birds and bees. 


Previously: Climate science and climate fiction – where data intersects with art