Want to Fight Climate Change? Don’t Have Kids

I admire people who make an effort to live a green lifestyle. Recycling, biking instead of driving, or turning down your HVAC system are all great choices. However there is one big idea that is frequently overlooked.

According to a new study that identifies the most effective ways people can cut their carbon emissions, the greatest impact an individual can have in fighting climate change is to have one fewer child. The new study, published in Environmental Research Letters, outlines the impact of different actions on a comparable basis. By far the biggest impact is having one fewer child, which the researchers calculated to a reduction of 58 tonnes of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life. The figure was calculated by summing the emissions of the child and all their descendants, then dividing this total by the parent’s lifespan. To put this in perspective, it is estimated that living without a car would reduce an individual person’s carbon output by 2.4 tonnes per year. So before your next child, consider environmental impact in your decision.

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