For some millennials, climate change clock ticks louder than biological one
“I had this internal struggle: ‘Do I really want to bring a child into this world?’” a Seattle 29-year-old said.
Chloe Cushman / for NBC News
April 21, 2019, 5:42 AM EDT
By James Rainey
SEATTLE — Erika Lundahl writes and performs her own songs. She works in Seattle for a company that publishes books on the environment. She thinks a lot about how best to occupy her place in the world. Yet, despite this full life, Lundahl, at 27, feels a clock –OR TWO — ticking.
Her biological clock, yes, but also the one to fix global warming, or face the likelihood that she and her potential children will have to live in a seriously marginalized world.
“There is this sense that if you don’t have kids soon, you could be putting them in a harder position,” Lundahl said. “But if you do have them, that will not be easy either, with the storms, the intense droughts, the precariousness of the times. It’s like you are playing with two ticking time bombs — yours and the planet’s.”
Fears of bringing children into a troubled world may be as old as recorded history. The government reported last year that U.S. birth rates had hit a 30-year low, attributed partly to millennials who felt they were under economic duress.
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But climate concern also appears to be surging. Today’s young adults have been taught since grade school that life on Earth promises to become more precarious. Now, groups have formed to support conversation around the tenuous future. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recently posted an Instagram Live video that brought attention to the question. Given the looming fallout of climate change, she asked, “Is it OK to still have children?”
A recent poll for Business Insider found that 30 percent of Americans agree, at least somewhat, that the potentially life-threatening effects of climate change should be factored into decisions about whether to have children. A little more than 8 percent of those surveyed strongly held that view. And a New York Times poll last summer revealed that 11 percent of those who don’t want children, or aren’t sure, cited climate change as one reason.