The impact of climate change will be felt long after those currently living on Earth take our final breaths. In fact, the effects — high temperatures, extreme weather events, poor air quality — will likely be far worse for future generations.
According to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that’s forcing many young people to reconsider whether or not they should have children.
During a recently posted Instagram Live video, Ocasio-Cortez questioned the morality of having children in the face of climate change.
“Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don’t turn this ship around, and so it’s basically like, there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult,” she said. “And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question, you know, ‘Is it okay to still have children?’”
Parents and future parents aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about the impact of the planet’s health crisis on future generations, though. “Even if you don’t have kids, there are still children here in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “and we have a moral obligation to them, to leave a better world for them.”
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the first public figure to wonder whether it’s ethical to reproduce in the face of looming ecological catastrophe. As for how we can shape that better world, addressing climate change will take more than admitting we have a problem, according to Ocasio-Cortez.
“We need a universal sense of urgency, and people are trying to introduce watered-down proposals that are frankly going to kill us,” she said in the video. “A lack of urgency is going to kill us.”
“It doesn’t matter if you agree that climate change is an important issue,” she continued. “At this point, it doesn’t matter. If you believe climate change is a problem, that’s not even the issue. The issue is how urgently you feel we need to fix it.”