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Eckburg: Let’s have kids amid a climate crisis

Graphic illustration depicting the earth within a glass greenhouse (centered) with the words "Climate Column" over the top and two pieces of greenery to the left and right.
Climate Column (Graphic Illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Eco-anxiety is something that impacts our lives in many ways, and much of Generation Z struggles to imagine what our future will hold amid such an intense climate crisis. For a lot of us, the idea of the future includes potentially having children. 

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According to a poll by the Morning Consult, “one in four childless adults cite climate change as a ‘major or minor’ reason they don’t have children.”

To many, the idea of bringing children into a world that’s struggling to cope with managing the ever-worsening state of our environment seems cruel, forcing them to deal with the consequences of the actions of generations of environmental mishandling. 

Clearly, there are many other factors that people consider before deciding to have kids, but if the idea of climate change is the one hanging you up, you shouldn’t let that hold you back.”

Despite the multiple valid reasons for not wanting kids amid a climate crisis, having children should be one of the motivators for advocating for significant change in the way we address this situation. Children are the future, and we should want to make a future where they can enjoy their lives free of fear and uncertainty. 

Yes, it’s scary, but Gen Z is the most mental health-oriented generation, and we have the skills to be great parents that raise emotionally well-adjusted and self-aware children. 

Apps like TikTok have given rise to a variety of parenting styles, specifically the idea of gentle parenting. According to Very Well Family, gentle parenting focuses on “four main elements: empathy, respect, understanding and boundaries.” 

Gentle parenting allows children to have the freedom to explore things they are interested in while also instilling ideas about respecting others and open communication. 

Clearly, there are many other factors that people consider before deciding to have kids, but if the idea of climate change is the one hanging you up, you shouldn’t let that hold you back. 

Fort Collins aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, and many other policies across the world limit the amount of damage future generations can do to our environment. 

We’re in a very uncertain time, but by the time our children are able to think about how they impact the world, there will likely be a lot of new eco-friendly policies fully in action.

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CO2 emissions per capita have been declining in the United States since 2005, and they will likely continue this downward pattern in the decades to come; however, that doesn’t mean we’re completely in the clear yet because the U.S. still has the largest carbon footprint in the world. 

Multiple countries have implemented taxes on carbon emissions, and many people are interested in this as an option in the United States. 

Gen Z has the power to raise wonderfully connected, respectful and self-aware children who can properly analyze and express their emotions, and this opportunity should not be clouded by doubt and fear about the environmental impact in the future.”

Sure, deciding not to have kids could lessen your current carbon footprint, but there are far more active and effective ways to personally address climate change, like donating to a reputable charity focused on addressing this issue or being a thoughtful consumer. 

There are a variety of ways to raise children in eco-friendly households, including purchasing wooden toys instead of plastic toys, which will eventually end up in a landfill. 

Wooden toys leave more room for creativity instead of having your child play with something with a dedicated single use. They’re cheaper and more durable, and they are biodegradable. 

Babies obviously go through a ton of diapers, but there are plenty of options for reusable and eco-friendly cloth diapers. Most states have some form of diaper service, and that definitely includes Colorado.

You can have up to 70 cloth diapers delivered to your house at one time, and the service will pick them up and give you new ones weekly while they professionally wash the used ones. This is also a much cheaper option because diapers are expensive, and the price is going up.

There are tons of eco-friendly products out there, and you can also furnish nurseries with thrifted furniture and a little DIY action. 

The climate crisis we face is no walk in the park, but the future for our children is brighter than you think. 

If you struggle with the morality of bringing up children on a seemingly dying planet, you are certainly not alone in that fear; however, there are many eco-friendly parenting products that you can purchase to counteract the waste generated from child rearing. 

Gen Z has the power to raise wonderfully connected, respectful and self-aware children who can properly analyze and express their emotions, and this opportunity should not be clouded by doubt and fear about the environmental impact in the future. If climate change affected your view of having kids, you should rest assured that if those kids are in your hands, the future of our world is in good hands.

Reach Bella Eckburg at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @yaycolor.

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About the Contributor
Bella Eckburg, Opinion Director
Bella Eckburg is a fourth-year journalism student with a minor in criminology and criminal justice and is currently serving as The Collegian’s opinion desk director. Eckburg hails from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but she’s no skier. Instead, she spent her time in the mountains exploring her love for writing and painting, which she brought with her to Colorado State University in the fall of 2019. Journalism gives Eckburg the opportunity to explore the Fort Collins community and life on campus through a critical lens. She enjoys writing about local history, sex and relationships, queer culture and social media’s impact on this generation of young women.  In her free time, she loves to watch trash TV, write horror fiction and listen to podcasts. As opinion director, Eckburg wishes to help every writer build upon their AP Style skills, boost their confidence and find their voice. Regardless of your personal stances, every opinion has a place on the opinion desk, and Eckburg works hard to make the desk an open and safe environment to have discussions about the community and campus. Her favorite part about working at The Collegian is meeting so many interesting and incredible people who are passionate about telling the stories of Fort Collins and CSU.  Eckburg is excited to continue working with The Collegian for another year and hopes you’ll find the time to come to the newsroom in the basement of the Lory Student Center to strike up a conversation or sign up for the many available reporter trainings to join the team.

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