#BIRTHSTRIKE dissolved, but is the desire to not have kids increasing?
Over the last few years the “Birthstrike” movement appears to be increasing around the planet and in the U.S.
Originating in the U.K., Birthstrikers are people of child-bearing age who are refusing to have kids because of the “ecological crisis” and “climate change”. The movement gained attention in the U.S. in 2019 when firebrand liberal, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez posted on instagram, “there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult… is it still ok to have children?”
The movement coalesced around an official U.K.-based organization of the same name, “Birthstrike”, but as the movement escalated, the attention to it also became negative. Some critics argued that the organization focused too much on the number of people on the planet, especially in the developing world, instead of the overconsumption of people in industrialized countries. The official #Birthstrike organization dissolved in 2020 due to the controversy they had created around the issue of #population control.
Despite the official #Birthstrike organization dissolving, the sentiment to not have children appears to be escalating. Just last week, the financial news site, Marketplace, took the story farther by reporting on a public opinion poll titled, “Young People’s Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon”. The poll’s creators say the poll is the largest scientific study yet on climate anxiety and young people.
The poll queried 10,000 respondents aged 16 to 25 across 10 industrialized countries and concluded that “Nearly 60% polled, across 10 nations including the U.S., were very or extremely worried about climate change”, and that “4 in 10 young people may not ever have kids”.
In the U.S., 78% of poll respondents said, “people have failed to care for the planet,” 46% of respondents said “humanity is doomed”, and 62% of respondents said “governments are lying about the impact of actions taken”. Finally, 36% of U.S. respondents said they were “hesitant to have children”.
The Marketplace article includes a statement that brings up the population issue again: “Population growth itself does put demands on natural resources, potable water and ostensibly creates more pollution.”
Despite the controversy around #Birthstrike, the perception of its underlying sentiment — that more population growth escalates the environmental crisis — seems to be deeply rooted in young people’s minds. Around the same time that #Birthstrike started, the Green news site, Ecowatch, tweeted out a story: “7.5 Billion and Counting: How Many Humans Can the Earth Support?” A year later, Ecowatch posted about #Birthstrike including the statements:
Scientists argue a sixth mass extinction event is underway capable of triggering "biological annihilation." They point to wildlife population losses and declines around the world directly linked to overconsumption of resources by an increasing human population. Indeed, the world population currently hovers around 7.7 billion and the United Nations estimates numbers will continue to grow to 9.8 billion in three decades, reaching 11.2 billion by the end of the century. In response, members like Alice Brown say they won't be having children for fear they will enter a world on the verge of extinction.