This could be the best way to fight climate change, but you might not like it

If you’re intent on slowing down climate change but also want a bunch of kids, you’re out of luck. According to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to not have children, or even just to have one less than you planned. There are lots of things you can do to help the environment, according to the researchers, but if you have one less child, you reduce carbon emissions by 59 tons per person, per year.

If you were planning on having a whole gaggle of babies, don’t feel bad. All the individual steps in the world won’t mean much without bigger mitigation of corporate activities that impact the environment. And for those that don’t want to have babies, just tell your grandma that you’re reducing your carbon emissions next time she asks. That’ll teach her.

Kimberly Nicholas, one of the authors of the study, feels the pain of having to make a tough choice: “We recognize these are deeply personal choices. But we can’t ignore the climate effect our lifestyle actually has,” she said. Nicholas added that she’s not judging people who want kids.

But she’s not NOT judging, either.

“I don’t have children, but it is a choice I am considering and discussing with my fiancé. Because we care so much about climate change that will certainly be one factor we consider in the decision, but it won’t be the only one,” she said. Sheesh.

There are other things you can do besides not procreate if you’re really set on having lots of kids. Nicholas said that all of those little things we all do, do help the environment. It doesn’t seem like it, but tiny choices, such as using those fancy lightbulbs and recycling properly makes a difference. But it’s really the bigger “higher impact” things we can do that are going to slow down climate change, like not having a car, going vegetarian, or not having as many children.

Climate change is real and there are things you can do to help, so all is not lost. Just pick something to do and stick with it.

Filed Under