The desire to have children vs. the climate crisis

By Melody HansenMisch PautschLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The future of humanity looks bleak. All around the world, we see the consequences of climate change. In 2021, floods, heat waves and forest fires dominated the news alongside the pandemic. About the responsibility of bringing a child into this world.

The global climate system is changing. It will continue to do so – even if we manage to drastically reduce global emissions in the coming years. A child born in 2020 is likely to experience, as it is the situation now (i.e. if we continue as we are doing at the moment), around twice as many forest fires, three times as many floods, three times as many crop failures and seven times as many heatwaves as his or her grandparents born in 1960. At the same time, of all the individual actions a person can take to combat climate change, the most effective is to have one less child, says a 2017 study.

Heavy stuff. Especially for those who are currently asking themselves whether they actually want to become parents. The Lëtzebuerger Journal asked three young people who are intensively involved in environmental and sustainability issues: Do you want to bring children into this world?

In Véronique Kesseler's case, the answer to this question quickly became superfluous. Her son Nori had to be breastfed before the interview could even begin. However, the decision to have a child was not an easy one for her. "There were moments when the problem of climate change seemed insurmountable. When you become a mother, you ask yourself a lot of questions – and I think anyone who is interested in green topics always has moments like that", she says. The 35-year-old has been dealing with these "green issues", as she calls them herself, for a long time. When she was still a child, her family had a photovoltaic system installed on the roof of their home. "My mother was very careful about what toys we got and that we didn't live in abundance. That's what shaped me."

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