Teens are Challenging Government Inaction Against Climate Change By Pledging Not to Have Kids
Teens are Challenging Government Inaction Against Climate Change By Pledging Not to Have Kids Teens are Challenging Government Inaction Against Climate Change By Pledging Not to Have Kids

Teens are Challenging Government Inaction Against Climate Change By Pledging Not to Have Kids

by Tod Perry Nov 16, 2019

The passion people feel about climate change has a lot to do with their age. Let’s face it, someone in their 80s probably won’t have to deal with the global effects of Arctic ice melt.

However, teenagers are rightfully scared because, over the next few decades, all hell could break loose on the planet Earth.

According to a study published by Yale, 70% of adults aged 18 to 34 say they’re worried about global warming, compared to 56% of those aged 55 or older.

A 2018 United Nations report said the planet has warmed one degree Celsius since the 19th Century and predicts catastrophic consequences should it warm another 1.5 or 2 degrees.

This dire warning has inspired younger people to raise their voices in protest over the older generations’ inability to take substantive action. Most notably, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg whose climate school strikes eventually led to a worldwide protest attended by over four million people.

Emma Lim, an 18-year-old student at McGill University in Montreal, recently made a bold pledge to bring attention to political inaction. She has decided to forego having any children until the governments across the world wake up.

This led her to create the #NoFutureNoChildren movement.

Since Lim’s campaign launched in September 2019, over 5,300 people joined her in taking the pledge to “not to have children until I believe the government has done enough to ensure a safe future”

The website also gives pledge-takers a venue to share why they’ve decided to forego having children.

Lin explains her decision on the website by saying, “What kind of a mother would I be if I brought a baby into a world where I couldn’t make sure they were safe?”

This is not a decision she has taken lightly. “I have always, always wanted to be a mom, for as long as I can remember,” Lim told Insider. “But I will not bring a child into a world where they will not be safe. I would like to see the government develop a comprehensive plan to stay below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] of warming,” referring to the 2018 United Nations report.

Lim says she created the pledge to give Gen Z a voice in the fight against climate change.

“I launched the pledge because I wanted other people to understand how the fear of climate is so unquestioned in my generation. It’s something everybody feels. Where in my parent’s or grandparent’s generation, believing in climate change is often a matter of opinion and not survival,” she told Insider.

Hundreds have also echoed her sentiments under #NoFutureNoChildren on Twitter.

A study published in Environmental Research Letters found that having one fewer child would result in a reduction in 58 tons of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life.

For some perspective, changing from a typical car to a hybrid would prevent about 0.52 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere annually and living completely car-free would save about 2.4.

“We recognize these are deeply personal choices,” said Kimberly Nicholas, a member of the research team told The Guardian. “It is our job as scientists to honestly report the data. Like a doctor who sees the patient is in poor health and might not like the message ‘smoking is bad for you’, we are forced to confront the fact that current emission levels are really bad for the planet and human society.”

Refusing to have children to protest government inaction is a bold message to send to the older generations. It shows exactly what’s on the line: the survival of our species.

Photo credit: Twitter, No Future Pledge.