I spoke with my best friend the other day and she asked me, “Do you think having children is selfish?”
This thought had never crossed my mind. When I picture my future I see three kids playing in my luscious green backyard. I see me asking how their days were after school, us all eating dinner together and them fighting over who gets the last pink popsicle.
However, reality isn’t so simple.
Our future is more questionable than ever with research showing that, if we don’t change our fuel consumption, we have 12 years until the damage to our climate is irreversible. New reports are saying that Canada is heating at twice the global rate.
We are overpopulated. This increases pollution; the amount of resources, like water and food, that we require to survive; and the spreading of infectious diseases, like malaria and HIV.
We are running out of water and do not responsibly distribute our food to feed the children that already live on earth. 3.1 million children die of hunger each year.
There are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the United States alone.
In privileged countries like Canada and the United States, it’s easy for us to ignore these global issues. We crave the relationship that our parents had with us and disregard the consequences of bringing more children into our overpopulated world.
I look at children like Greta Thunberg, who is 15 years old and has dealt with trauma due to her knowledge of where our world is heading environmentally, and wonder, “What if she was my child?”
Would I be satisfied if my child had to sit on the front step of their school alone to fight for change that may never happen? Would I be satisfied if my child lost their youth so young? Would I be satisfied raising a child who may never be able to raise children of their own?
If I do decide to have children it will be in my late 20s. This means that when my first child is 15 years old, it will be the year 2042.
The grass in my backyard may no longer be green. My children may come home from school with their little minds filled only with the anguish of tomorrow and dinner may consist of a portion size too small to fill their bellies.
As much as I would love to raise children that I brought into this world and who were born of my DNA, I wonder if their future would only include heartache. Why would I bring a new child into the world to suffer when I could help one who is already suffering?