Parenting

Climate Change Is Not a Valid Reason to Avoid Having Children

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My children possess an exuberance for life that I desperately want to protect. An infectious wide-eyed awe is one of their most frequent facial expressions. Having recently started T-ball, my five year old son gives himself over to the love of the game, the love of being outside in the dirt and grass, and the love of new friends with a gleeful abandon that can only be birthed from a heart that is still ruled by optimism. When given a new book, a torrent of excited, overlapping words surges from my normally articulate daughter. With eyes as bright as the stars she loves to name, she devours the words on the page, continuing to feed her love and desire for wonder. No matter how often we walk by the rabbits that live in our apartment complex’s courtyard, my kids never tire at excitedly giggling over the bored rabbits. Children remind us that life is a wonderful gift.

But that doesn’t mean that the stresses and fears of the adult world don’t occasionally conduct violent raids into my kids’ innocent world. The night of the attack on Brussels, my ten-year-old daughter tearfully left her bed in fear and found me. My usually hope-filled daughter couldn’t sleep because she was worried that bad people were going to bomb D.C., our hometown.

It’s hard for me to watch the cynicism that adults take for granted begin to send its dark tentacles on a mission to suffocate the joyful innocence with which my kids enjoy the world around them. One of my main parenting objectives is to protect my kids’ love for life from the probably inevitable onslaught of pessimism. I want them to hold onto the truth that life is a gift, not only for their sakes, but also for my sake. On a daily basis, my children remind me that life is a precious and good gift to be desired, cherished, and shared. This is why I don’t understand why many people apparently have to talk themselves into the benefits of bringing life into this wonderful world.

Maybe it’s naïve optimism on my part to assume that the vast majority of people believe that life is a gift—a gift that is one of humanity’s main weapons in our millennium’s long battle against tired surrender. In my own heart, the optimistic embrace of that gift has been challenged by the sadness that is the first pangs from humanity’s self-inflected wound of an apparent hatred of, well, humanity. Fighting back against that sadness, I want to find a way to continue to be incredulously astounded whenever I read articles like the recent one in The Guardian titled “Does Climate Change Make it Immoral to Have Kids?” There is so much negativity wrapped up in The Guardian article written by Dave Bry that if I’m not cautious while reading it, I will become bogged down in Bry’s slough of despair and his apparent feeling of disdain for humanity.

I mean, how much negativity and contempt for humanity does it take to bring a person to the point of embracing a shifting abstract like “climate change” at a level that causes an individual to question the gift of life itself? The debate around “climate change” is so politically charged as to render it difficult to discuss tangential issues without alienating half of an audience. But, regardless of the validity of the science, and tiptoeing around the half of the audience that doesn’t want to read what I’m about to write, the fact remains that the disciples of the current favored and popular doctrine of “climate change” embrace actions that are decidedly anti-human. Their pattern of disdain for human life is borne out in the impact on poor people that is engendered by their wealthy-centric policies. As way of one brief example, and assuming for the sake of argument that they’re right, they call for people in developing countries to sacrifice their standard of living so that they, the climate alarmists, can continue to enjoy beachfront condos. However, setting aside their seemingly arbitrary choice of which climate from which point in history is the best (climate is always changing), their desire to be judge, jury, and executioner of the human race is what troubles me the most. This is why I want to write a brief, open letter to Dave Bry, and by extension, all climate alarmists.

Dear Mr. Bry,

No, it is absolutely and decidedly not immoral to have children, regardless of what doomsday forecast compels eyeballs to glue themselves to TV screens. In fact, I’m less concerned with the answer to your question than I am with the question itself.

You wrote in your article that you have children, or at least one child. A son, right? How can you watch your son exuberantly interact with the world around him and then even entertain the thought that it may be immoral to have children? Can we agree that this world is broken, even if you and I disagree on “how” the world is broken? Reaching agreement at that point, it’s obvious that children are one of the best antidotes for brokenness.

Children confront us with the glorious reality that humans are, as a whole, a blessing and not a drain on the world. I know that as I watch my kids play and learn, I can’t help but embrace the comforting belief that they will be better than me, and I’m not necessarily all that bad. Beyond their joy, their unbridled faith is convicting. But, if I were even to entertain your question, how would that affect my influence on their worldview? I’m sure that you’re familiar with the platitude “a self-fulfilling prophecy.” I don’t look at my kids and assume that they are going to make the same mistakes that I have. I look at them and marvel at their potential to transcend whatever idiocy exists in me.

In fact, watching my children engage the world with bright-eyed love and faith makes me want to bring more children into the world. And whether I bring more children into the world or not, whatever children I do have, I’m going to make sure that I do my best to shield them from your negativity and hatred of humanity.

The world is broken, and my kids, your son, and all of the children of world will enter adulthood with millstones around their necks that we have hewn out of the hard stone of our cynicism, hate, and lack of faith. You and your leftist cohorts need to stop shaming humans for being humans; stop adding to the existential burden that society is piling on children. The fact that you believe it is appropriate to even question the morality of bringing beautiful children into the world is very telling. I shudder to think that it’s your negative tribe that controls the halls of academia into which we send our optimistic and trusting children. Your contempt for life is what’s immoral. Your despising of humanity is the real existential threat to our society, and every society that creates the wonderfully beautiful and life-affirming tapestry that blankets this globe. We need more children, not less; and we need to protect all children from your harmful cynicism, Mr. Bry.

Sincerely,

John Ellis