14 votes

Please don't give up on having kids because of climate change

65 comments

  1. [31]
    DepartedPretzel
    Link
    This feels like an article that only a White or wealthy American can write. I don’t have a problem with people having children, but the reasoning is disgusting. I am the child of immigrants who...
    • Exemplary

    This feels like an article that only a White or wealthy American can write. I don’t have a problem with people having children, but the reasoning is disgusting.

    I am the child of immigrants who came from an island country. It physically pains me to see my relatives deal with storms and floods of increasing severity while their land is engulfed by the sea. Meanwhile the author effectively hand-waves away the issues of people unlike themselves, as if they aren’t reading this too. I detest this individualistic, privileged reasoning that ignores the heightened consequences of climate change in the so-called third-world. It reeks of entitlement and is reminiscent of environmental racism. The first-world should be in solidarity with the third-world, not acting as if they aren’t everyone’s concern.

    It’s not like the “first-world” is entirely free of serious problems either. The writer uses San Francisco and Manhattan, New York as their only examples for the predicted flooding that may occur. Those two cities are not the United States and the rest of the country is certainly not as well-looked-after as those cities. In Detroit, “100-year” floods occur with increasing frequency. Almost half of Detroit homes have been flooded in the past eight years. In the past summer, most rain storms resulted in flooding in many residential neighborhoods and people losing property. The city’s infrastructure has been under-invested for decades and many people who live in Detroit – a majority Black city – cannot move. Climate change will more heavily affect Detroit and other under-resourced towns/cities than the author’s primary concerns of San Francisco and New York. It’s almost as if the author’s intended audience is not just people living in the first-world, but specifically people in wealthy cities who can afford to protect themselves from climate change. Again this is terribly ignorant and privileged thinking. It doesn’t do anyone good when someone uses their privileged status to reason away more conscious thinking and ignore people who don’t live with fortunate circumstances.

    I’m less inclined to have children if this is what people are willing to say to make themselves feel better about it.

    30 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Yes, spot on. The author is indeed white, college educated, working a white-collar job, and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

      Yes, spot on. The author is indeed white, college educated, working a white-collar job, and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

      13 votes
    2. [26]
      skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Even if you think it’s dumb, why should a dumb article on the Internet influence your decision whether or not to have kids? Also, basement flooding in Detroit doesn’t seem like a reason not to...

      Even if you think it’s dumb, why should a dumb article on the Internet influence your decision whether or not to have kids?

      Also, basement flooding in Detroit doesn’t seem like a reason not to have kids? I don’t know much about it, but it seems likely that flood control there will eventually be improved, and in any case kids can choose to live somewhere else when they grow up.

      Even if there is some housing in Detroit that’s a hopeless cause, I don’t think there is anyone who can’t move given sufficient help and a place to go.

      4 votes
      1. [8]
        herson
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, I'm from Honduras and in the last years we've seen the emigration rates growing up uncontrollably. "Just go live somewhere else" should NOT be the solution, the climate issues[1] will still...

        and in any case kids can choose to live somewhere else when they grow up.

        Well, I'm from Honduras and in the last years we've seen the emigration rates growing up uncontrollably. "Just go live somewhere else" should NOT be the solution, the climate issues[1] will still be there, also is not that easy to emigrate, not everyone can afford it (being legal or not), and it brings all kind of psychological burdens to people who either leave or people who desperately want to leave but they cant.

        [1]: And violence/corruption/imperialism issues, in Honduras' case

        14 votes
        1. [7]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I didn’t mean “leave the country” but rather “choose a place to live that’s unlikely to be flooded when you find a place of your own.” How often do parents have any idea where their children will...

          I didn’t mean “leave the country” but rather “choose a place to live that’s unlikely to be flooded when you find a place of your own.” How often do parents have any idea where their children will end up living?

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            How many children of the people who are unable to move will themselves have the resources to move?

            How many children of the people who are unable to move will themselves have the resources to move?

            10 votes
            1. [5]
              skybrian
              Link Parent
              Well, I don’t know how many, but I’d hope that most people in the US get enough of an education to get a job and a place of their own (or maybe with roommates) eventually. Are you saying that...

              Well, I don’t know how many, but I’d hope that most people in the US get enough of an education to get a job and a place of their own (or maybe with roommates) eventually. Are you saying that doesn’t happen? I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

              3 votes
              1. [4]
                MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                More than half of all people between 19 and 29 live with their parents. Nearly 2/3 of Americans can't cover a $500 emergency. The moving cost alone is more than $500 in most cases, not even...

                More than half of all people between 19 and 29 live with their parents.

                Nearly 2/3 of Americans can't cover a $500 emergency.

                The moving cost alone is more than $500 in most cases, not even talking about the need for security deposit of two months rent.

                I think you may be out of touch with what's accessible to most Americans.

                18 votes
                1. suspended
                  Link Parent
                  It appears that most of this has developed over the past 30 years. When I was in my twenties (I am 50 yrs. old now), I could afford to move around and go to several universities while having a...

                  It appears that most of this has developed over the past 30 years. When I was in my twenties (I am 50 yrs. old now), I could afford to move around and go to several universities while having a significant savings account.

                  Correct me if I'm wrong, but all this looks like a trend of wealth disparity/inequality in the US. It's a shame and it needs to be addressed. However, I'm not sure what all the factors are and how it could be addressed.

                  2 votes
                2. [2]
                  skybrian
                  Link Parent
                  I'm wondering if there's a good way to dig up how often people move before having kids? This is interesting but out of date: From: Calculating Migration Expectancy Using ACS Data

                  I'm wondering if there's a good way to dig up how often people move before having kids? This is interesting but out of date:

                  Using 2007 ACS data, it is estimated that a person in the United States can expect to move 11.7 times in their lifetime based upon the current age structure and average rates and allowing for no more than one move per single year. At age 18, a person can expect to move another 9.1 times in their remaining lifetime, but by age 45, the expected number of moves is only 2.7.

                  From: Calculating Migration Expectancy Using ACS Data

                  1 vote
      2. [10]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Who is going to give them that help and a place to go? When was the last time you moved metropolitan areas, and how much did it cost you? Did you have people you knew where you were moving to? Did...

        Who is going to give them that help and a place to go? When was the last time you moved metropolitan areas, and how much did it cost you? Did you have people you knew where you were moving to? Did you have a job waiting for you at the other end or sufficient assets to not work until you could find a job?

        11 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          I'm not OP, but as a newly graduated single college student (no pets, no car, no children) moving across the country with a job lined up cost me about $10,000. I would imagine costs would only go...

          When was the last time you moved metropolitan areas, and how much did it cost you?

          I'm not OP, but as a newly graduated single college student (no pets, no car, no children) moving across the country with a job lined up cost me about $10,000. I would imagine costs would only go up from there, although to be fair I moved into the most expensive area of the country.

          6 votes
        2. [8]
          skybrian
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          These are important questions for anyone who has to move. Especially having a job, which is often the most important consideration. As for friends, young people often expect they’ll make new...

          These are important questions for anyone who has to move. Especially having a job, which is often the most important consideration. As for friends, young people often expect they’ll make new friends when they get there. (And that’s often part of the attraction of moving to a new city.)

          So this doesn’t seem like a reason not to have kids. I don’t think anyone would decide not to have kids because they might move away when they grow up? Or at least not in the US.

          1 vote
          1. [7]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            I was specifically asking these questions of you. Because the fact that large portions of the city flood means that it's not a place anyone will necessarily stay voluntarily. It's not that it's a...

            I was specifically asking these questions of you. Because the fact that large portions of the city flood means that it's not a place anyone will necessarily stay voluntarily. It's not that it's a fine feeder town, sending its youth off to the big city, it's that everyone will have to move, or at least a chunk of the population that can't be summed up as "young people moving away from home." And it's not easy.

            5 votes
            1. [6]
              skybrian
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I did a few searches to find out about flooding in Detroit and the best articles seem to be paywalled, so I don’t know very much. There seem to be ongoing projects to upgrade sewer and floodwater...

              I did a few searches to find out about flooding in Detroit and the best articles seem to be paywalled, so I don’t know very much. There seem to be ongoing projects to upgrade sewer and floodwater systems.

              I suspect there may be older housing that it would better to replace than fix, not that Detroit needs to be abandoned or anything drastic like that.

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                You're evading the fundamental point by trying to redirect to Detroit in particular. This isn't about one town. Will you engage with what I'm saying?

                You're evading the fundamental point by trying to redirect to Detroit in particular. This isn't about one town. Will you engage with what I'm saying?

                4 votes
                1. [4]
                  skybrian
                  Link Parent
                  Okay, I'm not sure what you want to discuss. Could you clarify? Is it that sometimes people find it financially difficult to move, and don't have the resources? Or that finding a new job can be...

                  Okay, I'm not sure what you want to discuss. Could you clarify? Is it that sometimes people find it financially difficult to move, and don't have the resources? Or that finding a new job can be difficult? Or is it that moving can be hard emotionally? Or maybe something else?

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    MimicSquid
                    Link Parent
                    My point was, that when you say that you don’t think there is anyone who can’t move given sufficient help and a place to go, you're eliding very significant difficulties. I was asking about your...

                    My point was, that when you say that you don’t think there is anyone who can’t move given sufficient help and a place to go, you're eliding very significant difficulties. I was asking about your familiarity with the cost of moving to see if you were skimming over that difficulty because of lack of familiarity with the costs and social impacts, or if there was some other reasoning there.

                    5 votes
                    1. [2]
                      skybrian
                      Link Parent
                      I was thinking more along the lines of federal assistance to either build better flood control (like they did in New Orleans) or, where that’s impractical, to help people in low-lying areas move...

                      I was thinking more along the lines of federal assistance to either build better flood control (like they did in New Orleans) or, where that’s impractical, to help people in low-lying areas move to higher ground. On a small scale, I have read about an entire village getting moved out of a river flood plain. Yes, these are big and expensive projects, not something people can do on their own.

                      For what people can do personally, I think my other comment might be a better starting point to continue discussion.

                      1 vote
                      1. MimicSquid
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        I definitely agree that if anything is to be done to move people out of degrading and at-risk areas, it's going to have to be done by the government, much the way that Centralia was entirely...

                        I definitely agree that if anything is to be done to move people out of degrading and at-risk areas, it's going to have to be done by the government, much the way that Centralia was entirely claimed by eminent domain to keep people from living within the cloud of an eternal coalfire. I'm glad you agree that it's not something that individuals really have the resources to do on their own.

                        As far as personal choices regarding procreation climate change, I think that most of the recognition of climate change as cause of a reduction in the number of kinds people decide to have is in the way that it in aggregate leads to a lower quality of life.

                        4 votes
      3. DepartedPretzel
        Link Parent
        Mold is another major problem in Detroit housing. It is unhealthy to regularly inhale mold, and in the majority-renter city, landlords often neglect to abate mold. Add flooding and mold abounds....

        basement flooding in Detroit doesn’t seem like a reason not to have kids

        Mold is another major problem in Detroit housing. It is unhealthy to regularly inhale mold, and in the majority-renter city, landlords often neglect to abate mold. Add flooding and mold abounds. That’s not to mention the other biological and industrial contaminants (yay industry) that will wash into a home and sit there, until the property owner hires expensive professional cleaning.

        The author posits that most American children will be safe from the effects of climate change, but this ignores many parts of America. Detroit is a prime example.

        it seems likely that flood control there will eventually be improved

        …If the federal government passes the trillion-dollar budget for infrastructure. Everyone, please call your representatives and senators.

        I don’t think there is anyone who can’t move given sufficient help and a place to go.

        A home is never just a home. Asking people who have spent decades building up personal resources, establishing family, and cultivating community to start anew elsewhere, while remaining working class, is a significant ask. The people exiting Detroit now are Black middle-class folks who have both the financial ability and personal connections to do so. Unless the help given to Detroiters to help them move out (as proposed) would also be enough to move them up a class, they may find themselves truly starting from scratch wherever they might move.

        Building wealth within these depressed communities is the most beneficial solution and lays within reach, if we hold our politicians accountable. Though I need to cut myself off there as I’m already outside the scope of this discussion…

        10 votes
      4. [6]
        spit-evil-olive-tips
        Link Parent
        I think you're getting hung up on specifics rather than seeing them as examples of an overall trend. "have kids yes/no" has somewhat of a charged dimension to it. there's another way to look at it...

        Also, basement flooding in Detroit doesn’t seem like a reason not to have kids?

        I think you're getting hung up on specifics rather than seeing them as examples of an overall trend.

        "have kids yes/no" has somewhat of a charged dimension to it. there's another way to look at it - instead of a binary choice, how many kids do people want, and how many do they have?

        turns out, there's data on this. emphasis added:

        Americans are having fewer babies. At first, researchers thought the declining fertility rate was because of the recession, but it kept falling even as the economy recovered. Now it has reached a record low for the second consecutive year.

        Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there’s a lot of concern about why today’s young adults aren’t having as many children. So we asked them.

        Wanting more leisure time and personal freedom; not having a partner yet; not being able to afford child-care costs — these were the top reasons young adults gave for not wanting or not being sure they wanted children, according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times.

        About a quarter of the respondents who had children or planned to said they had fewer or expected to have fewer than they wanted. The largest shares said they delayed or stopped having children because of concerns about having enough time or money.

        there are lots of people who want kids, or want more kids, but can't afford it. #1 response in that survey is "child care is too expensive".

        how does this tie to climate change? among other things, climate change is going to massively destroy wealth.

        you own a house in X. you want to move to Y. normally, you sell your house in X, and that pays for some or all of your move to Y. not just the moving costs, hopefully a down payment on a new house in Y. obviously it depends on relative costs-of-living.

        except, what do you do if you're moving out of X because of climate change? does anyone want to buy your house? a rather fundamental assumption of the real estate market is that land holds its value, or appreciates, but almost never loses value. climate change means previously-valuable land becoming worthless is going to happen much more often.

        say X is Houston, and your house is getting flooded year after year:

        • May 25–26, 2015 - Houston Memorial Day Flood: Devastating storms floods most of the city. Within a nine-hour span from the night of May 25, 2015, to the morning of May 26, as much as 11 inches of rain fell on parts of the region.

        • April 17–18, 2016 - The Houston Tax Day Flood took place in nine counties near the city, unleashing 12 to 16 inches of rain.

        • August 2017 - Hurricane Harvey devastates the city, flooding homes and roads with over 50 inches of rain over 4 days, equivalent to 19 trillion gallons of water.

        • July 4, 2018 - Heavy rain caused surface flooding on 04 July 2018, dampening Fourth of July celebrations in the city. At least 18 locations in Harris County recorded more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours.

        • September 19, 2019 - Remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dumped over 9 inches of rain on parts of Houston, the wettest September day ever recorded in Houston.

        • February 14, 2021 - The February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm resulted in widespread power outages and water supply interruptions for several days.

        contractors are all booked because there's so many houses with flood damage to repair. you can barely get the damage from one year's flooding fixed before another flood rolls in. so you decide hell with it, you're moving.

        who's gonna buy your house?

        it's had years worth of flood damage. a home inspector is gonna take one look and start vomiting blood. maybe you can sell it, but if you do you're going to take a massive hit in value.

        meanwhile, where are you moving to? somewhere where it floods less often, presumably? how many other people in flood-prone errors have the same idea? you've lost equity in your home, and at the same time housing prices everywhere you'd like to move are increasing, because of increased demand.

        obviously, this isn't the only reason. but climate change is taking one of the big reasons people don't have kids, and making it worse.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          Kuromantis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I find this is best demonstrated by this clip from Hbomberguy (Leftist YouTube channel) countering Ben Shapiro's claims.

          Who's gonna buy your house?

          I find this is best demonstrated by this clip from Philosophy Tube Hbomberguy (Leftist YouTube channel) countering Ben Shapiro's claims.

          6 votes
          1. Kremor
            Link Parent
            The clip is actually from hbomberguy

            The clip is actually from hbomberguy

            5 votes
        2. [3]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Yes, I agree that people do often take their own financial situation (and maybe their parents’ situation) into account when having kids, and climate change could sometimes indirectly affect that....

          Yes, I agree that people do often take their own financial situation (and maybe their parents’ situation) into account when having kids, and climate change could sometimes indirectly affect that.

          Like, for a young couple in their 20’s, should they take climate change into account? I think it would be more important to have a good place to live and good jobs. If you’re still living with your parents, getting a place of your own seems more important than climate change?

          But sure, you don’t want to rent a place that floods. (And for those fortunate enough to buy a place, you’d want to think longer term about possible disasters and how it might affect insurance.)

          Climate change seems like a natural thing to consider when deciding where to live, but kind of a peculiar question to consider directly when deciding whether to have kids. I expect only well-off college-educated liberals are likely to think about that, instead of just thinking about practical matters. Maybe I’m wrong, though?

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            spit-evil-olive-tips
            Link Parent
            having kids, or not having kids, or only having one kid, or wanting to have many kids, is a hugely personal decision. in a lot of ways, maybe the biggest and most personal decision that any human...

            Like, for a young couple in their 20’s, should they take X into account? I think it would be more important to have Y and Z.

            having kids, or not having kids, or only having one kid, or wanting to have many kids, is a hugely personal decision. in a lot of ways, maybe the biggest and most personal decision that any human makes in their entire life.

            why do you think you're qualified to pass judgement on what is or is not a "good" thing to take into consideration when making such a personal decision? especially as a generalization across a huge group of people.

            7 votes
            1. skybrian
              Link Parent
              Maybe I should write a disclaimer: none of this should be considered to be family-planning advice! I'm certainly not qualified, I don't know your particular situation, and so on. It seems like...

              Maybe I should write a disclaimer: none of this should be considered to be family-planning advice! I'm certainly not qualified, I don't know your particular situation, and so on. It seems like this should go without saying though?

              I was just trying to put myself in someone else's hypothetical position and try to think through some of the consequences. Maybe I did a bad job of that, since I haven't talked to anyone about it. It's based on speculation, not data.

              If people want to talk about it, maybe we could do an ask.survey about why people decided to have (or not have) kids?

              3 votes
    3. [3]
      fredo
      Link Parent
      I have no stake on the matter, but I'm pretty sure that countries other than the US are not the target audience of this article.

      I have no stake on the matter, but I'm pretty sure that countries other than the US are not the target audience of this article.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        DepartedPretzel
        Link Parent
        Of course. Yet I am an American and the article deeply offends me as a child of immigrants. If the author’s intended audience was an American one, they have neglected to think of how much stake...

        Of course. Yet I am an American and the article deeply offends me as a child of immigrants.

        If the author’s intended audience was an American one, they have neglected to think of how much stake many non-White, immigrant Americans have in other countries. The author may be speaking to Americans, yet in reality excludes people like me.

        9 votes
        1. wervenyt
          Link Parent
          He is speaking to his audience, a largely white, relatively affluent, college-educated, pseudolibertarian slice of America. There's a reason the only maps are of Manhattan and San Francisco. He...

          He is speaking to his audience, a largely white, relatively affluent, college-educated, pseudolibertarian slice of America. There's a reason the only maps are of Manhattan and San Francisco. He specifically is discussing surveys of privileged US Americans, and all but names his target audience of the blogpost as such. You're right, he's not talking to 99.9% of humanity.

          8 votes
  2. [6]
    mtset
    Link
    The author's belief that the Democratic party will actually make the kind of deep and sweeping changes necessary to alter course on climate change is touching, but rather naïve. We're not going to...

    Suppose 1-2% of Democrats stop having children because they’re worried about climate change. Meanwhile, Republicans don’t care about this and have just as many children as ever. Since children tend to share their parents’ political beliefs, this skews elections in favor of the Republicans, who will prevent strong government action.

    The author's belief that the Democratic party will actually make the kind of deep and sweeping changes necessary to alter course on climate change is touching, but rather naïve. We're not going to outbreed our political problems.

    33 votes
    1. HotPants
      Link Parent
      This also is incredibly optimistic. Very few people are spending anything close to $30,000 to remain carbon neutral. Right now there are highly efficient mechanisms that remove a ton of carbon for...

      Right now the people with giant carbon-sucking machines charge $1000/ton to remove carbon.

      my guess is you can offset your child’s lifetime carbon emissions for about $30,000.

      This also is incredibly optimistic.

      Very few people are spending anything close to $30,000 to remain carbon neutral.

      Right now there are highly efficient mechanisms that remove a ton of carbon for free... trees!

      We are cutting down more trees than we are growing.

      9 votes
    2. [4]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      That's literally the premise of Idiocracy.

      That's literally the premise of Idiocracy.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Well, Idiocracy is a cartoonish “high concept” movie based on a false premise. For one thing, IQ’s are rising on average. This is called the Flynn Effect. I thought it was kind of funny how, in a...

        Well, Idiocracy is a cartoonish “high concept” movie based on a false premise. For one thing, IQ’s are rising on average. This is called the Flynn Effect.

        I thought it was kind of funny how, in a movie full of nonsense, there is an amusement park ride where everything is even more nonsense, which is a commentary on how the outer movie is also a sort of amusement park ride of nonsense, which is no more to be taken seriously than the inner ride.

        Or maybe that’s your point, that nobody takes any of these arguments seriously? It does seem unlikely that anyone would take climate change into consideration when deciding whether to have kids, but Scott does start out with some references to news articles that seem to take the idea seriously.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          Oh, I don't have a point, I just find it kinda absurd, lol. In any case "not having kids because climate change" is definitely a meme going around. I couldn't believe it either but there's...

          Oh, I don't have a point, I just find it kinda absurd, lol.

          In any case "not having kids because climate change" is definitely a meme going around. I couldn't believe it either but there's apparently kids diagnosed with "climate anxiety" now and everything so I don't know.

          2 votes
          1. vektor
            Link Parent
            TBF, you could probably go back and do the same for any other looming disaster in history: People are going to be scared about things they can't change but that will affect them negatively at some...

            I couldn't believe it either but there's apparently kids diagnosed with "climate anxiety" now and everything so I don't know.

            TBF, you could probably go back and do the same for any other looming disaster in history: People are going to be scared about things they can't change but that will affect them negatively at some point in the future. The difference is that we have widespread access and awareness of mental healthcare nowadays. This might be amplified in the case of climate change because we desperately need people to pay attention to the problem; contrast that with e.g. the cold war where not paying attention might actually ease tensions.

            6 votes
  3. [3]
    CALICO
    (edited )
    Link
    This feels.. yucky. I didn't ask to be born. And while I have no intentions to leave early, I am not having fun. I can't blame my parents, it's not as if they could have asked my permission....

    This feels.. yucky.

    I didn't ask to be born. And while I have no intentions to leave early, I am not having fun. I can't blame my parents, it's not as if they could have asked my permission. However, I can consider the kind of life any kid of mine might see, given average life expectancy & what I expect from the future.

    Bringing a new conscious life into this world, to suffer its ills—on top of what anthropogenic climate change has in store—so I can play strategically on the political chessboard? Absolutely fucking not. Should I crank them out so there's folks around to change my diapers too? No thanks.

    Hoping the American lifestyle won't be too negatively affected? That's a mighty big roll of the dice there, is it not?
    Mexico shares a border with the US, and the rest of Central & South America could come here through land or sea. Climate Change fucks up Central & South America, right? Where do those people go? North, I'd expect. For some, further south towards Patagonia might be more practical. But if when we get a bunch of climate refugees knocking on our southern border, how do we react? The way my life is going, any kid of mine won't be voting age before that begins to happen. America makes a moral decision:
    We let them in or we turn them away.

    An America that turns away millions, condemning them to suffer & die is not an America I will bring a life into.
    An America that takes them in, and a third of us seize political power to damn these people, is not an America I will bring a life into.
    Hey maybe America will take them in, and everything will be chill! Call me a jaded optimist. Maybe. We'll see.


    I don't like the disregard for this future life the author shows. It's far too flippant for my tastes.
    Number one, making a self-conscious entity out of thin air, and committing it to 70+ years of natural life... that's a big deal, right? It feels like a big deal to me. It also feels self-evident. Is this not the case?
    Number two, I work somewhere in the labyrinth of Federal offices as a professional smart-person. Here it mostly just means watching how a bunch of other professional smart-people are responding to our information on the future. I'll give you this, it's not unanimous. But it is a majority—in the circles I run in, anyway.

    I want children. I got a vasectomy.

    Postscript I'm not going to judge anybody who has children. I am not an anti-natalist. I very well could be wrong. I very much want to be wrong.

    I've put a lot of thought into adoption. While biologically speaking, I am a failure, in the more important way—the human way—I could be a parent, and I could have a child. My partner(s) and I could have children.

    I've morally determined against making a new life, out of concern for its well-being. Logically speaking, then surely I must care about the lives that already exist. Like the lives of children in orphanages & foster homes.

    Post-postscript

    What this probably boils down to is: I'm hurting. I'm not gonna damn a new life to hurt. But there's kids out there hurting, and I can do something about that.

    "I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing."

    — Albert Camus

    21 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I’m not sure what you mean. What do the people in your circles believe? What majority opinion are you referring to?

      I’m not sure what you mean. What do the people in your circles believe? What majority opinion are you referring to?

      1 vote
      1. CALICO
        Link Parent
        Hard to talk about in detail, because these are individuals. It's not the reflection of any views, intentions, plans, or even an indication of awareness of, or understanding of, by of any...

        Hard to talk about in detail, because these are individuals. It's not the reflection of any views, intentions, plans, or even an indication of awareness of, or understanding of, by of any official, any office, any agency, in any aspect of the federal government, or anything under its direct authority, anything related to Climate Change and its impacts on the world.

        They're just people. Does that top sentence even make sense? Jesus. What is that?

        I'm alluding to a lot of doom and gloom, generally. Judging from what I can tell by comparing the general public, and the people I spend too many hours indoors with, we lean pessimistic. I won't get much more into it, due to that top sentence there. That's the essence of it.

        Nobody is going crazy, it's just a bummer.

        8 votes
  4. [13]
    cloud_loud
    (edited )
    Link
    I agree with the first comment on there. Not that everyone does it, but I certainly know people who don't ever want children and use climate change as an excuse so that they sound like they're...

    I agree with the first comment on there. Not that everyone does it, but I certainly know people who don't ever want children and use climate change as an excuse so that they sound like they're taking a moral stance. I have a cousin who's been saying that since like 2010.

    11 votes
    1. [12]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [9]
        rkcr
        Link Parent
        This reasoning was a large part of my thought processes when I was deciding whether to have kids. It's not "fake as hell," at least not from my lived experience.

        This reasoning was a large part of my thought processes when I was deciding whether to have kids. It's not "fake as hell," at least not from my lived experience.

        18 votes
        1. [8]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          The world has always been fucked up, and while I respect the decision to not have kids (one I have made myself) saying it's because of "This fucked up world" does come across as hollow due to the...

          The world has always been fucked up, and while I respect the decision to not have kids (one I have made myself) saying it's because of "This fucked up world" does come across as hollow due to the above mentioned fact. People have been breeding through some very fucked up timeframes as evidenced by our continued existence on this planet.

          6 votes
          1. [5]
            hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            If someone is on the fence about wanting kids, displeasure with the current and future condition of the world is a perfectly valid reason for deciding against having children. If you are...

            If someone is on the fence about wanting kids, displeasure with the current and future condition of the world is a perfectly valid reason for deciding against having children.

            If you are displeased with the condition of the world, it's perfectly normal to not want your current displeasure to turn into fear or anxiety for the safety of your kid. To not want to have to deal with the stress of being a parent and having to keep safe a child. Just not wanting to deal with that for yourself is enough to make it a perfectly valid reason.

            "But peasants in fourteenth century France with no access to birth control kept having kids during the Black Death!" is not exactly a compelling argument to ignore the current and future conditions of the world when evaluating today whether you want to have kids.

            16 votes
            1. [2]
              streblo
              Link Parent
              Disclosure: I have a kid. I agree, I think this is a perfectly valid argument that requires no further justification. However that's a slightly different argument than people choosing not to have...

              Disclosure: I have a kid.

              If you are displeased with the condition of the world, it's perfectly normal to not want your current displeasure to turn into fear or anxiety for the safety of your kid. To not want to have to deal with the stress of being a parent and having to keep safe a child. Just not wanting to deal with that for yourself is enough to make it a perfectly valid reason.

              I agree, I think this is a perfectly valid argument that requires no further justification. However that's a slightly different argument than people choosing not to have kids to directly combat climate change i.e. as a positive moral decision. In my opinion that argument is flawed and is likely even counterproductive.

              6 votes
              1. hungariantoast
                Link Parent
                It's a different argument than what the article is talking about, but it's not a different argument from what the person I replied to, and the person they replied to were talking about, which is...

                However that's a slightly different argument

                It's a different argument than what the article is talking about, but it's not a different argument from what the person I replied to, and the person they replied to were talking about, which is "I won't bring kids to this fucked up world"

                5 votes
            2. [2]
              Loire
              Link Parent
              The conditions despite not being the best they have ever been, are still in the upper echelon of human experience, especially for Western children, so again, which apparently wasn't clear to you...

              The conditions despite not being the best they have ever been, are still in the upper echelon of human experience, especially for Western children, so again, which apparently wasn't clear to you in the original post, while I respect the decision to not procreate, as I have made that same one, to blame it on the condition of the world does come across as hollow.

              I did not say it wasn't valid. You can tap the brakes on the derisive responses.

              1 vote
              1. hungariantoast
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Is it hollow or is it valid? Also, I find it very ironic that someone telling people their reasons for not having children are "hollow" then goes on to complain about the derisiveness of the...

                I did not say it wasn't valid

                Is it hollow or is it valid?

                Also, I find it very ironic that someone telling people their reasons for not having children are "hollow" then goes on to complain about the derisiveness of the response they receive 🤔

                The conditions despite not being the best they have ever been, are still in the upper echelon of human experience, especially for Western children

                Anyways, this is the "back in my day we had to walk uphill to school, both ways!" argument of natalism. Yes, the standards of living have increased, but so have people's standards for deciding to have children.

                There are two things that you really need to consider for people in the west making decisions about having children:

                • Access to readily available, effective birth control has never been easier or more widespread. The choice to not have children is easier than ever.

                • While the "human experience" for people in the west is typically much higher than for people in other countries, that experience has declined sharply in some nations and signs of reversing that decline are few and far between.

                  Things like wage stagnation and the cost of housing, healthcare, and education were deeply personal to me in my decision to get a vasectomy. Sure, I've got it a hell of a lot better than most people in the world, but that does not change the fact that the affordability of having a kid is worse for me now than it was for my grandparents. That for me, it would be a very challenging thing to do without being financially irresponsible. That's to say nothing of my physical and mental health, my potential career goals, and anything else. Things are better now than they almost ever have been, but they're still fucked in really meaningful ways.

                8 votes
          2. rkcr
            Link Parent
            Climate change was not the only consideration for me. My partner and I listed out all pros and cons, and climate change was one of them. I think weighing the good vs. the bad is a totally...

            Climate change was not the only consideration for me. My partner and I listed out all pros and cons, and climate change was one of them. I think weighing the good vs. the bad is a totally reasonable way to make a decision, personally!

            (And I did decide to have a kid in the end, so climate change was not enough for me to justify not having a kid.)

            8 votes
          3. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            People alive today are not responsible for their ancestors’ decisions to reproduce. It’s not contradictory to decide against having children because of the state of the world.

            People alive today are not responsible for their ancestors’ decisions to reproduce. It’s not contradictory to decide against having children because of the state of the world.

            7 votes
      2. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I would expect many people using that argument don’t mean that the world is too fucked to to bring children into, but rather that they don’t have enough personal security to feel comfortable...

        I would expect many people using that argument don’t mean that the world is too fucked to to bring children into, but rather that they don’t have enough personal security to feel comfortable raising children. If you’re rich and live in the US you’ll probably feel differently about how fucked up the world is from someone living in the same zip code working in retail. The modern industrialized world asked us to exchange the family safety net for one provided by our employers. That safety net isn’t there any more now that the minimum wage has plateaued, pensions are gone, and unions have been busted.

        7 votes
      3. PhantomBand
        Link Parent
        I call those armchair antinatalists.

        I call those armchair antinatalists.

        1 vote
    2. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      As a human being with parents I too have ran through a number of absolutist arguments against having children to make sure they’re off my back. Although at this point in my life I actually am...

      As a human being with parents I too have ran through a number of absolutist arguments against having children to make sure they’re off my back. Although at this point in my life I actually am pretty sure I’d enjoy it and would do a great job. Not in any hurry though.

      2 votes
  5. [6]
    Seven
    Link
    I don't think anyone should question anyone else's reasons for not wanting to have kids. "Because I don't want to" should be enough.

    I don't think anyone should question anyone else's reasons for not wanting to have kids.

    "Because I don't want to" should be enough.

    10 votes
    1. [5]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      I feel like there's an argument here akin to how the US legal system handles firing people: "Because I don't want to" is certainly a sufficient reason and no one should question it. (As unwilling...

      I feel like there's an argument here akin to how the US legal system handles firing people: "Because I don't want to" is certainly a sufficient reason and no one should question it. (As unwilling parents are going to be worse parents, in all likelihood.)

      But you can certainly criticize a reason that you feel is unfair or illogical. "Because he's a [insert slur of choice]" is a bad reason to fire someone. "Because the world is going to shit" is - arguably - a bad reason to not have children. We can argue the validity of the argument for that till the cows come home, but I don't think the discussion of "your reason is bad" should be off limits. It isn't telling you you should have kids. It's telling you to reevaluate your opinions and to find a good reason or to shut up about your bad reason. (Again, don't want to debate the blog post here, I'm trying to stick to the meta and take the blog at face value.)

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        hamstergeddon
        Link Parent
        But does it even matter though? If someone's fired for a bad reason, it does matter because that person's livelihood is threatened and someone with the power to threaten a livelihood isn't afraid...

        But does it even matter though? If someone's fired for a bad reason, it does matter because that person's livelihood is threatened and someone with the power to threaten a livelihood isn't afraid to do so for bad reasons. But if someone doesn't have kids for a "bad reason", they just don't have kids. Has zero direct impact on anyone else's life and their decision isn't a threat to anyone else. Nobody's obligated to reproduce and birth the next generation of <insert political party, religion, philosophy, or whatever here>.

        I have kids, I struggled with whether or not I wanted them and then when I realized I did my wife went through the nightmare of fertility issues. Some folks with those problems publicly use other reasons to mask their shame, grief, etc. over not having kids. That's reason enough not to question someone's reasoning, imo, because you never know.

        But like I said, ultimately it doesn't matter. If someone doesn't want kids because they think Elvis is going to return in 20 years with a legion of elvis-themed space invaders, more power to them. Their choice doesn't impact me or anyone else at all.

        9 votes
        1. [3]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          Of course the consequences of the reason you're not having kids are not material. You're not threatening someone's livelihood. Which is why nonsensical reasons not to have kids aren't considered...

          Of course the consequences of the reason you're not having kids are not material. You're not threatening someone's livelihood. Which is why nonsensical reasons not to have kids aren't considered very illegal. But it does have consequences. If I'm stating I don't want kids because of elvis space invaders, then I might convince others to change their minds. If more people than my conspiracy ass believe in elvis space invaders and make irrational choices due to that, that's bad.

          Again, the choice itself is fine. And I don't believe there is a obligation to birth the next generation (though maybe you shouldn't forget the possibility that you, being cognizant of the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, might produce a child that will impact the world positively, but that's beside the point.) Anyway, you don't have an obligation. And no one should get to question your choice not to have children if you don't want to state a reason. No reason is fine in my book. But I don't think we need to shield bad reasoning from criticism here. Because if you give the reason, intentionally or not, you might convince others to adopt your faulty reasoning.

          Of course, all of the above considered: Don't be an ass about it. Even if we completely accept the premise that climate change is not a good reason; having kids is personal. So while I think it should be completely fair to state that for yourself it's not a reason not to have kids, and maybe even to attack the reasoning in general, at no point should you attack someone for having that reason. In part because of some of the things you mentioned, but also because "don't be an ass". It's too personal.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Seven
            Link Parent
            The problem here isn't that this hypothetical person isn't having children because of this incorrect reason, the problem is them spreading a conspiracy theory that is incorrect and potentially...

            If more people than my conspiracy ass believe in elvis space invaders and make irrational choices due to that, that's bad.

            The problem here isn't that this hypothetical person isn't having children because of this incorrect reason, the problem is them spreading a conspiracy theory that is incorrect and potentially dangerous. The bad thing in this situation is the belief itself, but its effect on whether that individual will have children or not is immaterial. I feel like this analogy isn't a good analogue for the climate change stance because, well, climate change is real and a material threat to the future of this planet. Elvis space invaders are not real and are not a threat.

            6 votes
            1. vektor
              Link Parent
              Again, I'm completely ignoring that for the purposes of this meta-discussion: I don't care whether climate change should influence your choice one way or another; I'm assuming that the article is...

              Again, I'm completely ignoring that for the purposes of this meta-discussion: I don't care whether climate change should influence your choice one way or another; I'm assuming that the article is correct and that it should not influence your choice, and from that PoV, it's no different from Elvis space invaders. I'm talking solely about to what degree disagreeing with people who believe in Elvis space invaders is warranted. If you believe the article has no/little merit, I don't care because I assumed it away. (Well, I do, but it's not part of this meta-discussion then.)

              To put it differently: If you're convinced that climate change has no significant bearing on the choice of whether or not to have children, then you can regard it as a conspiracy theory (or something alike). Well, maybe one should apply a high standard of conviction there.

              2 votes
  6. [4]
    babypuncher
    Link
    How about not having kids because I don't want them? Limiting my carbon footprint by not bringing more carbon-spewing humans into the world is just a nice bonus.

    How about not having kids because I don't want them? Limiting my carbon footprint by not bringing more carbon-spewing humans into the world is just a nice bonus.

    19 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Right? And climate change is a great and unarguable reason, whereas "I don't want to" left my mom harassing me about it for a decade.

      Right? And climate change is a great and unarguable reason, whereas "I don't want to" left my mom harassing me about it for a decade.

      17 votes
    2. [2]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      That's not what he's talking about, though.

      That's not what he's talking about, though.

      1 vote
      1. babypuncher
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think the author is missing the part where "climate change" is a convenient excuse for just not wanting kids. As someone who doesn't want kids, it is not uncommon for me to encounter people who...

        I think the author is missing the part where "climate change" is a convenient excuse for just not wanting kids. As someone who doesn't want kids, it is not uncommon for me to encounter people who think I am selfish or lazy for it.

        Articles like this are part of the problem. It very much feels like the author is trying to guilt me into wanting kids for political reasons.

        10 votes
  7. PhantomBand
    Link
    Armchair antinatalists: "not on my watch!"

    Armchair antinatalists: "not on my watch!"

    1 vote