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Is it ethical to have children?
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It is unethical to knowingly inflict the troubled world onto the children

In a world where resources are becoming increasingly scarce and sociopolitical stability is nonexistent, one should ask about the ethics of bearing children. When people have a child, they put someone that they will predictably love in a world that is in serious trouble.

The Argument

A future child's safety is questionable in a world already being severely affected by climate change and sociopolitical instability. One degree of global warming has already delivered rising sea levels, wetter hurricanes, droughts, costlier disasters, bigger wildfires, and more illnesses.[1] At 1.5-2 degrees C, a World Bank report predicts an increase in extreme weather events, deadly heatwaves, and severe water stress. Food production will decrease even more while unpredictable infectious diseases will break out. The World Health Organization estimates that from the years 2030-2050, at least 250,000 people will die every year from just some of the climate-related harms.[2] It is not ethical to give birth to children in these circumstances. Parents should be aware of the possible climate-related hardships and the risk of death that their future child faces. As evidence to this argument, more than one in three Americans aged 18 to 29 believe climate change could be a top factor in deciding whether to have kids, according to a 2019 poll conducted by Business Insider. When people weigh the odds, they do not feel right bringing a child into a world on the edge of environmental disaster.[3] According to bioethicist Travis Rieder, this is not the first time a generation has questioned childbearing in the face of a potential existential threat. During the Cold War, people were asking the same questions under fear of nuclear annihilation. The threat of nuclear war and violence from racism still has not gone away. Those concerns remain valid with climate change newly added to them.[1] Overall, it is unethical to bring children into this world, knowing that they will have to bear such a heavy burden of climate change and violence.

Counter arguments

Climate change is not the most important factor that people consider when having a child. Josephine Ferorelli and Meghan Kallman, co-founders of Conceivable Future, have collected testimonies from people concerned about balancing their desires to build a family with their concerns for the planet. They found that the rising cost of living, the lack of job security, and expenses associated with child care, health, and education are more important factors than the climate in the prospective parents’ decision-making process.[1]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 04:14 UTC

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