There are a couple things that legitimately scare me: one is being in the ocean, with unseen sea creatures lurking below and subsequently dragging me to my death. I realize that this is unlikely to happen, especially because I never go in the ocean.
My second fear is the apocalypse. Not the Christian version, just the general end of civilization as we know it. I believe that this, unlike the first, is completely rational. Climate scientists agree.
I don’t know how much I will personally be affected by climate change — especially since I don’t live on the Gulf Coast — but I do think that most yet-unborn people will feel the effects across the globe. I think about this way more often than is necessary. It affects me. It particularly affects my desire to have children (admittedly, it’s not a particularly strong desire in the first place, but still). I’d prefer my progeny to know “Max Mad” as a fictional movie rather than a documentary.
The interesting thing about this is that I’m not alone in this sentiment. The current birth rate is at a 32-year low. Of course, climate change isn’t the only determining factor here: some millennial women know that they can’t afford children, some don’t want kids for some other personal reason, and some don’t want kids because 1) they don’t want their children to live in a world that is incapable of sustaining human life, and/or 2) they know that increasing the population will have a negative effect on the already-damaged environment.
Some millennial women have said that they feel like the choice to start a family isn’t theirs to make; that they are morally obligated to remain childless.
In fact, a Business Insider poll found that almost one-third of Americans “either strongly agree, agree, or somewhat agree that a couple should consider the negative and potentially life-threatening effects of climate change when deciding whether or not to have children.”
In an interview with Elle, Miley Cyrus said “We’re getting handed a piece-of-**** planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child. Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that.”
Miley is not particularly my favorite person, but I think it’s noteworthy that celebrities are bringing this issue up in random fashion magazine interviews.
Usually in my articles this is that portion in which I try to give some sort of suggestion for fixing XYZ previously presented problem. But this time I don’t really know if this is a problem. In fact, as the massive boomer generation begins to lessen (sorry guys, that’s the most delicate way I can put it) and birth rates decrease/remain low, we might be able to reduce the impact of climate change on our/younger generations’ future.
I really don’t know, and I don’t think anyone really does at this point. It’s clear that millennials see the climate change as a grave inevitability. Even the mere threat is already changing the societal landscape, just not in a way that we could have predicted.