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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Bringing a Child Into This World Is ‘Selfish’

New mother Emily Holleman argued in New York magazine Monday that having children is an “essentially selfish” decision, and because of climate change, “it has never seemed more selfish than today.”


“The decision to have children has always struck me as an essentially selfish one: You choose, out of a desire for fulfillment or self-betterment or curiosity or boredom or baby-mania or peer pressure, to bring a new human into this world,” Holleman wrote. “And it has never seemed more selfish than today.”

“[H]aving a child in a developed nation is among the most environmentally unsound decisions you can make,” she continued, lamenting that bringing a new child into the world would erase the positive environmental effects of her 25 years of vegetarianism in only three months.

  • “On the individual level, as fires rage and hurricanes form, as water grows scarce and fields lie fallow, it’s hard not to wonder: What kind of future can we offer a child?” she wrote.

Still, Holleman ultimately gave herself a pass, saying: “And yet. On some level we still believe that a baby, our baby, will bring the world, our world, so much more than his carbon footprint.”


A large international poll published last month by The Lancet medical journal found that fully 40% of millennials are reluctant to have children because of climate change — a sentiment Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. has defended as “legitimate.”

  • But pro-family researchers have argued that population growth is not a major contributor to climate change and creating more people may increase the odds of finding innovative solutions to the warming climate.
  • “There is only one way to effectively prevent, alleviate, or reverse dangerous climate change: technological, geographic, and social advancement,” demographer Lyman Stone wrote in a 2018 Vox column. “Population has little to do with it — especially not in the U.S.”

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