The New York Times reports that some would-be parents are actively avoiding having children because they believe an "exploding" human population is contributing to climate change — and they want no part of it.
Some might call it self-selection, or say it proves Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest" but in a dozen interviews with nervous environmentalists, the NYT found that women are going on birth control and men are practicing celibacy just so that they don't have to live with the guilt that they brought about environmental ruin.
According to the NYT, the couples have varying approaches to their childlessness, but all believe that it's best humanity end its run, so as to prevent rising tides and melting poles — and the NYT nods approvingly, arguing that "having a child is one of the costliest actions" people can take, environmentally speaking.
One woman, who is on birth control in order to speed the slow self-destruction of the human species told the NYT, quite simply, that children are "not congruent to a stable society," and that she fears any kids she might have would be doomed to wander the deserts of a Mad Max-style dystopia, where children fight in Thunderdomes for cans of food.
No, seriously. She said that. Except for the part about the cans of food. That just seemed like a good opportunity to take some creative license.
Others say that they're concerned humanity will consume everything so rapidly, there'll be nothing left for future generations. "Animals are disappearing. The oceans are full of plastic," panicked one would-be mother. "The human population is so numerous, the planet may not be able to support it indefinitely."
At least one person the NYT talked to said she didn't want to have kids because the Syrian refugees made her think of a future where others might have to flee their home countries because of environmental damage. "My instinct now is to shield my children from the horrors of the future by not bringing them to the world."
There is even a group called "Conceivable Future" which organizes childless house parties where deeply concerned environmentalists can share their dire predictions for a horrifying future, and where they can pat each other on the back for the "life-saving" and "future altering" decision to avoid procreating, all the while noshing on food and drink purchased with their disposable income.
Of course, not everyone the NYT spoke to is interested in being completely childless — after all, many of them feel they are gifts to the rest of humanity, and they wouldn't want to deprive future generations of genetically superior offspring.
A handful of parents are simply raising their children to be "conscientious citizens" who will "help tackle climate change." Others are limiting themselves to one child. Some of the more privileged are moving their families into more expensive, yet smaller homes in urban centers so that they can cut down on the environmental impact of a long commute, and can atone for contributing to "land waste."
At least one environmentalist told the NYT that they did end up deciding to have a second kid, but only because they didn't want their first to be alone during the apocalypse: "Someday my husband and I will be gone. If my daughter has to face the end of the world as we know it, I want her to have her brother there."