I am child-free by choice. I’ve never had the desire to have children and for more than 20 years I’ve had the desire to have no children. It’s a position that I’m very comfortable with and have never had any regrets about. I’ve never sat up at night and worried that I haven’t procreated, or wondered what my children would have been like. I’ve never worried that I won’t have created the child that cures cancer or solves some other huge problem that we face. I’m quite certain that if I had any children that they would be quite ordinary and otherwise unremarkable. There are several reasons behind my position and this piece is an attempt to document those should anyone ever be looking to question me on the topic.
The first reason is that I don’t actually like being around children. Even as a child I always preferred the company of adults, or others who were older than me. I simply would rather not spend time with or around children, even if they were my own. I don’t enjoy children and for that reason I’d rather not have them in my home.
Secondly, there are a lot of people who could use my assistance in some way. Given the choice I’d rather spend my time making the lives of other adults better, rather than creating more lives on this planet and dealing with them. I’d feel much better about my contributions to the world if I spent my time mentoring and helping those who are already here, rather than spend it on my children. While I’m sure I could be a good father I can also be a good role model to others who are already here.
But I think the most important reason that I have is that when I look at the environmental impact of having children, one of the biggest decisions I can make to reduce my footprint on this planet is to not have children. Let’s face it, if you live in a Western society you probably have a huge ecological footprint on this planet. The average North American is a consuming machine that spews out around 15-20 tonnes of CO2 per year, and is helping to fill up our landfills with the stuff we feel the need to to have, all in the name of powering our economy. For the environmental reason that reinforced my choice to be vegetarian, the environmental impact of children has strongly reinforced my view of being purposely child-free.
I have no delusions that the world needs my children. My genes don’t need to be propagated and I think the same is true for the vast majority of us. As far as I’m concerned, children are often a glorified vanity experiment where couples go and create little copies of themselves, all while being unconcerned about how that decision affects the future.
Lastly, I don’t see that we, as a species, are going to be able to solve our looming climate crisis. Our planet is only able to support the 7.8 billion people we have today because we borrow so heavily against the future with fossil fuels, but it’s not a sustainable model. Worse, I fear that climate change will only make feeding our world even harder. Even with all of the progress that we achieve it doesn’t seem to be making the situation any better. I don’t see how bringing more children into this world will do anything but exacerbate these crises.