The other day, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, a tweet by a fellow journalist caught my eye.
It read, “My husband and I have made the conscious decision to not have children.” She went on to explain her reasoning (she didn’t have the desire and thought it would be better for the planet) and that she had the full support of her parents (they had never tried to pressure her).
She added that she would appreciate not being asked regularly when she and her husband would be trying for a baby.
When I read the tweet, I thought to myself, “Cool. She knows what she wants (and doesn’t want) in life.”
Later that week, during a conversation at a party, someone brought up an interesting topic. He said, “Remember when we were kids, we were told that we could have anything, and be anything we wanted to be if we just put our minds to it. The future was bright and full of possibilities.” He then continued, “Things are so different for kids today. They grow up worrying about global warming, and whether or not the Earth will even be livable in their future.”
And I realized that he was right.
During my childhood, we didn’t think twice about plastic straws or climate change or the impacts of overpopulation. Instead, we dreamed about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and for many of us, marriage and kids. But today, things are definitely different.
In an articletitled, “No children please, we’re ‘birth strikers’: new growing trend against starting a family,” shared in The Telegraph, the author explores the efforts made by a group of protesters from the radical environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion, who took to the streets in London, arguing that the dangers to future generations can no longer be ignored.
In the article, the writer shares, “The population has doubled in the last half-century, rocketing from 3.61 billion to 7.3 billion today, and bringing children into this world means taking the food out of others' mouths, putting more pressure on natural resources, and potentially sentencing those children to a life of uncertainty and hunger.”
One “birth striker” - a 28-year-old woman who is confident that her “biological clock will not start ticking” (despite the disbelief of her friends and family) - shares, “The older I get, the more my decision has solidified. There are now a lot of wider issues that I’m passionate about in terms of the planet and climate change that have confirmed that decision for me. Beyond not eating meat, recycling, using public transport, the number one thing that you can do for the planet is not reproduce.”
As a mother of three who admittedly doesn’t take all of these eco-friendly approaches to protecting our planet (I’m a confessed carnivore who drives a gas-guzzling SUV), I don’t take offense to these efforts to save the Earth, and instead admire the willingness of many to allow their emotional urges (many confess that they’d still love to have kids) to be taken over by their environmental ones.
People are choosing to save the planet over procreating, and I’m not angry - I’m in awe.
While some of their actions may seem radical to naysayers, and offensive to parents who have chosen a different path, their message definitely has me thinking about the future I want for my kids, and some of the changes that I should be making for my family’s future.
I can appreciate that people are putting more thought into both the emotional and environmental impacts of having children, and while I may have made an alternate choice for myself, I certainly will listen on with open ears and an open mind.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.