Guest essay by Eric Worrall
For a climate activist, having babies is apparently a troubling ethical dilemma, a distressing personal contribution to the global anthropogenic carbon footprint. But somehow they keep popping them out.
I’m worried having a baby will make climate change worse
Part of my motivation for becoming a climate scientist was my grave worries for our future and my desire to make a positive contribution. In today’s world, this isn’t straightforward.
Earlier this year, I wrote publicly of my qualms around desiring children. I have always loved children and always wanted children in my own life. At the same time, among my friends and colleagues, such ordinary desires are increasingly accompanied by long, complex conversations about the ethics of such aspirations.
Children born today face a dramatically different climate future than their parents did. A child born today is a child of a changing – and extreme – global climate. The decision to have a child is a decision to exacerbate such climate extremes.
Nonetheless, in recognising the sadness of our near neighbours, I also feel compelled to recognise the beauty and opportunity of my own life. Despite my uncomfortable internal conflicts, the impending arrival of a much-wanted baby is intensely joyful.
Dr Sophie Lewis is a climate scientist and research fellow at the Australian National University.
Sophie isn’t the first anti-population and climate crusader who somehow made an ethical allowance for their personal needs. Last August WUWT wrote about US climate philosopher Travis Rieder. Rieder travels the country trying to convince students not to have kids for the sake of the climate, and wants to tax your children, but somehow he ended up having a daughter of his own.
No doubt a similar process of personal angst and philosophical self flagellation concludes with the purchase of lots of airline tickets to fly to all those climate conferences.