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In a 2020 survey, a whopping 96 percent of respondents said they were "very" or "extremely" concerned about their existing or future children growing up in a world that had been irrevocably altered by climate change. The first academic study on the issue, conducted by researchers at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, surveyed 607 Americans between the ages of 27 and 45, nearly all of whom offered a pessimistic view of the future.
“I don’t want to birth children into a dying world,” said a 31-year-old woman. “I dearly want to be a mother but climate change is accelerating so quickly, and creating such horror already, that bringing a child into this mess is something I can’t do."
More on climate anxiety:
- The survey, published in the journal Climatic Change, found no major differences between the views of women and men. Researchers found that 6 percent of parents even confessed some remorse about having children.
- Climate anxiety may also be affecting mental health. In 2020, more than 1,000 clinical psychologists signed an open letter warning of “acute trauma on a global scale” regarding the state of the environment.
- A 2017 study estimated that the carbon footprint of a child in the developed world is 64.6 tons (58.6 tonnes) of CO2-equivalent emissions each year.