At the risk of getting pulled off course (whatever course that may be!), my thoughts have been returning lately to the question of whether or not to have children.
There are many detractions or concerns that, written in a “no” category, could persuade me toward not procreating. Reasons such as financial concerns, time concerns, fears and worries about the physical, emotional, and mental health of potential children, concerns of how my past chemo treatment and my and J’s moderately advanced ages might affect the genetic viability of children, awareness that we both have mental health and addiction issues in our family trees…
So, Yeah! There are plenty of reasons to feel trepidatious about having kids! But none of the above is the one that really brings me pause right now. It’s a crap shoot, and yes, those kinds of challenges could possibly be real, but the one that I know IS real is the possibility of bringing a child into a planet that is not going to be able to meet the needs of the people on it.
I was reading about the melting “permafrost” after watching an episode of “Madam Secretary” (which I love) where an eco-warrior was infected with smallpox after doing work in Siberia. And while the smallpox infection wasn’t based on true events yet… anthrax was. A person was infected with anthrax after the thaw exposed an anthrax-infected reindeer! The melting of this layer of frost will release more CO2 and methane than humans have produced in all of our history.
Add to this: the insect apocalypse, polar vortex in NY, drought in CA. Draining the (literal) swamp for human building releases CO2 that plants had been holding on to; continued degradation of the rainforests that keep our planet stable; increasing hardscapes that reflect heat back into the atmosphere… and I begin to feel increasingly selfish about having children.
Do you bring an unwitting person into a planet that is not doing so well? Do you place this burden onto another generation?
Of course the optimists around (or within) me say, “Well, maybe you’ll produce a scientist who will help forestall the inevitable.” Yeah, maybe. But what about that inevitable part?
There are many reasons to have children, some more selfish and selfless than others.
to ask a new human and potential line of humans to take up the mantle, too?