Study reveals how anxiety over climate change is stopping people having kids

Study reveals how anxiety over climate change is stopping people having kids
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Anxiety over climate change is prompting more and more people to reconsider having children, a new study has revealed.

Researchers from the University of Arizona interviewed 24 people between 18 and 35 who said climate change played an important role in deciding whether to have kids. They also analysed reader comments on articles about this topic.

The researchers' findings indicated three key themes were evident in both online comments and interviews: overconsumption, overpopulation, and future uncertainty.

Many participants believed if they had more than two children, it would be problematic and selfish because they felt they would be 'over-replacing' themselves or their partner. 

Interviewees frequently expressed they would feel guilty or were morally wrong if they had a child in a world with such an uncertain future if climate change remained uncontrolled. 

But while many participants were uncomfortable with the climate future, it was balanced with some expressions of hope, the study found. 

According to the study, some people felt their children and future generations could help manage and make a positive impact when it comes to climate change. Some saw adoption as a more responsible choice, as it was viewed as a more low-carbon alternative. 

Lead author of the study, Sabrina Helm, said the study also uncovered a bigger picture of how climate change impacts overall mental health.

She said many participants were angered and frustrated because some family members and friends would not take their climate change concerns seriously. 

Helm said several people close to them might dismissively tell them they will change their minds about having children. 

"It all ties into this bigger topic of how climate change affects people beyond the immediate effect of weather phenomena."