A group of women has set up a private Facebook page, #Birthstrike, to discuss the individual decisions they’ve each made not to bring children into a world threatened by the climate crisis.
“We, the undersigned, declare our decision not to bear children due to the severity of the ecological crisis and the current inaction of governing forces in the face of this existential threat,” they state in a declaration on the page. “Insecurity of future, despair at our species’ relationship to our habitat and each other, channelling time into activism and rebellion, are all common motivations.”
“This is my way of saying, come on, guys, I’m almost out of hope,” said Blythe Pepino, who started the group last month. “So let’s put everything into this, because I feel it so severely that I’m not having children, and neither are these other people.”
Fast Company says 90 women joined the group in its first few days. Its membership stood at 158 as of March 12. Two members of the group speak to the BBC in this video.
Pepino said some group members may have been partly motivated by a 2017 study showing that having fewer children is one of the best ways to reduce personal carbon footprints, particularly in the world’s wealthiest countries. But “our main focus is the fact that we’re too afraid really to bring a kid into that future,” she said.
“I can’t have a child unless I am seriously, seriously convinced that we are on a different path,” added another group member.
“The group doesn’t suggest that others need to make the same choice,” and the declaration says they “‘stand in compassionate solidarity’ with parents and don’t endorse population control as a solution for climate change,” Fast Company writes. “Just as some women in the middle of the 20th century might have decided to have children despite understanding the threat of nuclear war, Pepino says she understands why some people who fully understand the risks of climate change may still decide to have children.”
While Pepino isn’t optimistic that humanity can get the climate crisis under control, “that doesn’t stop me from trying to make it happen,” she said. “I’m amazed at people like Greta Thunberg—she’s so young and so she’s fighting so hard. And humans have made incredible turnabouts in the past.”