The government reported last year that U.S. birth rates had hit a 30-year low, attributed partly to millennials who felt they were under economic duress. But climate concern also appears to be surging, NBC News reports.
A recent poll for Business Insider found that 30% of Americans agree, at least somewhat, that the potentially life-threatening effects of climate change should be factored into decisions about whether to have children. A little more than 8% of those surveyed strongly held that view. And a New York Times poll last summer revealed that 11% of those who don’t want children, or aren’t sure, cited climate change as one reason.
New revelations fuel the sense of uncertainty, including a November report from U.S. government scientists that detailed the myriad threats that climate change will pose for the American economy and way of life. Drought in the Southwest, powerful hurricanes in the South and devastating wildfires in California have all been exacerbated by temperature increases, driven by humanity’s burning of fossil fuels, the report found.
“There is this sense that if you don’t have kids soon, you could be putting them in a harder position,” said Erika Lundahl, 27. “But if you do have them, that will not be easy either, with the storms, the intense droughts, the precariousness of the times. It’s like you are playing with two ticking time bombs — yours and the planet’s.”