Historically, it’s expected young people will grow up and raise children of their own, passing their life wisdom forward to the next generation.
Tradition dictates we should have hope in the next generation, raising them to look towards a better world than the one we cynical adults grew up in.
But what if our confidence in a bright future is shaky at best? And is it really such a joyous occasion to bring a child into a world where there are so many pressing global issues?
Last week, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out about how young people are choosing not to have children due to fears over climate change.
During an Instagram livestream, 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez – who is leading the climate change focused Green New Deal – said:
Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don’t turn this ship around … there’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult,
And even if you don’t have kids, there are still children here in the world, and we have a moral obligation to leave a better world for them.
And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it okay to still have children?
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Own your power. . For so many, it’s radical to feel comfortable in your own skin – and to know that you are more than enough, just as you are. . One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” . So take up space. Speak up. Hold the door open and take others with you. Accept that you will be criticized no matter what – that is the price of fighting for change and innovation. I consider constructive criticism a blueprint for improvement and a medicine for ego. . Ultimately, the people who get down, stay focused in adversity, and do the thankless work of change are the ones who transform society. We can all be a part of that, if we so choose. We can all knock a door, register our cousin to vote, or educate ourselves on an issue we’re curious about. . We are all capable of awakening and commitment. And because of that, we can all be great. . 📸: @gigilaub
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments have sparked debate in US media and among the general public. Fox News host Steve Hilton described the congresswoman’s remarks as being ‘fascistic’, while others felt she had raised an important topic.
And it would indeed appear there are a significant number of young people who are factoring climate change into their decision to have a child.
A new poll from Business Insider found almost 38 per cent of Americans from the age of 18 to 29 agreed climate change should factor in a couple’s decision about whether or not to have kids. Within the age group 30 to 44, approximately 34 per cent agreed.
Those from the older generations were reportedly less inclined to agree. Around 25 per cent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 60 agreeing climate change should be a consideration, while about 20 per cent of those over 60 agreed.
I'm in a lil diner and listening to 5 old men agree that climate change is fake and "the lady from california" (@AOC) wants to take away their trucks…sigh…
— joshua rush (@JoshuaRush) March 5, 2019
Add to that, the fact the birth rate in the US has reached a record low for a second straight year in 2017, and there are increasing signs people are concerned for the future.
The younger generations are living in uncertain times indeed.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.