Could going child-free be the answer to our climate crisis?

A child born today will inevitably add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere throughout his or her life. But what might surprise you is that having a child could be one of the most carbon-intensive decisions you'll make in your whole life. In this edition of Down To Earth, we ask whether going child-free could help save the planet.


According to a recent study by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, the most effective way to reduce one's carbon footprint is by having one less child, which could save up to 58 tons of C02 for each year of a parent's life. The next best lifestyle choices are living car-free, equivalent to a reduction of 2.4 tons of C02 per year, and avoiding a transatlantic flight, which can save up to 1.6 tons of CO2 per person each year.

Some say it is morally questionable to equate reproductive rights with a series of actions meant to limit our consumption. But others have taken the demographic argument very seriously, foregoing parenthood as a conscious act to preserve the climate. They call themselves GINKS, for Green Inclination No Kids. So could going child-free really be the answer to our climate crisis? The Down to Earth team takes a look at a growing trend that remains taboo.

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