To Breed or Not to Breed?

Alex Williams in The New York Times:

Before she married her husband, Kiersten Little considered him ideal father material. “We were always under the mentality of, ‘Oh yeah, when you get married, you have kids,” she said. “It was this expected thing.” Expected, that is, until the couple took an eight-month road trip after Ms. Little got her master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. “When we were out west — California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho — we were driving through areas where the whole forest was dead, trees knocked over,” Ms. Little said. “We went through southern Louisiana, which was hit by two hurricanes last year, and whole towns were leveled, with massive trees pulled up by their roots.” Now 30 and two years into her marriage, Ms. Little feels “the burden of knowledge,” she said. The couple sees mounting disaster when reading the latest climate change reports and Arctic ice forums. Anxiety about having children has set in.

“Over the last year I thought, ‘Oh my God, I have to make a decision, it’s not that far away,” she said. “But I don’t know how I could change my mind. Over the next 10 years, I feel like there are only going to be more reasons to not want to have a kid, not the other way around.” Such fears are not necessarily unfounded. Every new human comes with a carbon footprint. In a note to investors this past summer, Morgan Stanley analysts concluded that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.”

More here.