I read an article by NPR that discussed the moral and ethical concerns around having a child in the age of climate change. Read it if you haven’t already.
I have been having these same concerns since I was about 13 and took a child development course in middle school, which meant that I had to bring home a fake screaming baby monster…. Which had the effect of making me really consider the child commitment. A good shock factor for protection, but it also opened the door to talking with adults in my life on the moral qualms on what it meant to be a parent in an over-taxed and mistreated planet.
A dear family friend made sure to inform my sisters and I of our choices. That we had them, first and foremost, and that our choices had an impact on others around us. My family is big and classic examples of midwestern protestants that have babies and their babies have babies all before 30. Therefore the pressure was always on us, and the real expectation pressed on us, to have children in our 20’s and pass on the family traits.
My sister’s and I have always hesitated at this idea. Instead we all want our own time and opportunities to travel, get degrees, and make sure we’re better prepared for children. Then there becomes my climate anxiety on what exactly it means for children in the future.
My fiance has a daughter that is 9, and I think very often how much she will be left with in the future. I think of the recent flooding in Louisiana and how it DIRECTLY was influenced from climate change. It was also personal in that one of my best friend’s had her entire home submerged in water. She now has to figure out what can be saved or has to be destroyed. Yet the headache doesn’t end there, because future predictions and melting ice caps mean that many areas will be underwater, soon and permanently. Including many part of recently flooded Louisiana, parts of Florida, New York etc. Learn more here.
src=”http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/human-caused-flooding/index.html?utm_source=Robinson%20Creative%20Enterprises&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=2016HumanCausedFlIt’s not just the ocean rising, but it is the weather that comes with rising temperatures, melting ice caps, cold and hot water hitting together and more.
It’s all around not great news, and YES we are taking a few good, and feel good steps by countries signing contracts and reducing their output. However, the reality is that our children and grandchildren are going to have a lot of issues to sort out.
In Colorado we may not have the ocean to worry about, but rising temperatures in the summer pose risks to human wellbeing, crops, livestock and water supply. By 2050 they’re expecting summers in Colorado to be significantly higher than they were previously. Meaning we can expect a lot more 100 degree+ days. That also causes issues to snowpack in areas that typically have snow reserves later into spring and summer will then run off earlier, which can disrupt natural growth patterns and farming.
Precipitation is harder to determine, but Colorado has had many droughts over the years and with various parts of the state growing dramatically in population, and there being more need for natural resources, it could be the perfect storm for a difficult life.
So here is the kicker. With current estimates on life expectancy, it’s likely I’ll live to be around 80. Or until about 2071. If I’m 32 when I have kids, they’ll be 10 in 2043 and maybe will have kids within a decade of that. If projections are where they expect, for a 2050 estimate of hot, dry, and scary changes their 30s, and possibly their life with those repercussions are frightening.
That’s if things DON’T get worse than they’re expecting. Which, so far, isn’t looking promising. Yet many, myself included, want to be hopeful that times will be ok. While many scientists point out that it’s all too little and far too late. Therefore it haunts me to think that we may just be running out of time to be here and any children I bring into the world will have to fight much harder just to survive.
Terrible images flash into my mind of Mad Max, The Road, and the Book of Eli; desert landscapes, little hope, and near starvation. It’s an abysmal and depressing idea, that may be closer to reality than science-fiction.
Finally, I will leave you with that trailer for This Changes Everything and have you mill about that even though the United States could face terrible strife, it is nothing compared to the horrors that poor countries will have to face and the untold millions that will suffer as a result of our selfishness and lack of care.
No one can know for the future but maybe, just maybe, we could take this all more seriously and make choices, vote, support and demand action to make the hit a little less.