Couples may consider many factors like finance, personal values and support systems before deciding to have a child or not. Adding to the list is climate change for a growing number of people, according to a latest study by the University of Arizona researchers.
The study analysed online comments posted in response to news articles written about the growing trend of people forgoing having children due to climate change concerns. After this, they earmarked adults aged 18 to 35 who said climate change plays an important role in their reproductive decision-making. The researchers also interviewed 24 participants before coming to the conclusion.
Sabrina Helm, an associate professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences led the study. Population and Environment journal published the findings.
The researchers looked into three major themes that emerged in both online comments and the interviews.
1) Over consumption; with respect to this theme, helm said that this was the most common concern expressed by interviewees. Most of the participants were worried about how children would contribute to climate change through an increased carbon footprint and overuse of resources that could become scarce in the future.
2) Overpopulation: This was a major concern with respect to people who commended online. Some said they felt having more than two children would be problematic and even selfish, as they would be “over-replacing” themselves and their partner.
3) Uncertain future; Most of the people who participated expressed a sense of doom about the future if climate change continued unchecked. Most of them said that they feel guilty or as if they were doing something morally or ethically wrong if they brought a child into a world with such an uncertain future.
Helm said the world hoped that future generation will get the job done and make things better. However, she said it put a lot of lot of burden on small children.
The researchers said that the anxiety over climate change was on the rise, especially in younger people. Helm said that concern of climate change already affected the mental health of several people.
FAMILY NOT SERIOUS
Many participants complained that their family members did not give any serious approach to their frustration and anxiety. Most of the family members and friends had opined that all these could change once they have a child.