Family in the Anthropocene: Kids and the Climate Crisis
Workshop at SXSW 2019
What does it mean to have children in the midst of a catastrophic climate crisis? Britt Wray and Morgan Catalina hosted a workshop at SXSW 2019 that invited participants to consider multiple sides of this intimate debate about climate change and how it connects (or doesn’t) to their lives.
While the majority of people do not yet consider climate change in family planning, a growing chorus of voices says that we ought to. It is now well documented that having fewer or no children is the most effective way to reduce one's carbon emissions, which motivates some people to abstain from having their own “biological” children (as opposed to adopting). Some fear a rapidly changing world might harm their child’s ability to have a healthy and safe life. Others counter by saying that humanity has always risen to solve great challenges, and that we will only meet the grand challenge of climate change by turning towards the future and raising highly adaptive, carbon-conscious kids.
Many different cultural (race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class and religious) divides shape our views on this complex topic, which is increasingly discussed in political and activist circles. Ex: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez asks “Is it still OK to still have children?” given how dire the threats of climate change are; the Birthstrike movement rebels against political indifference to climate change with their decision to not have babies, and Conceivable Future creates safe spaces for people to come together and discuss their reproductive concerns in the climate crisis.