Organization: Conceivable Future
City/Country: New York, USA
The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis. For some of us, the perils of climate change have discouraged us from bearing children, foreclosed the opportunity. Others of us have one child, or adopt children. For some, parenthood has galvanized us towards greater action. Some of us read the paper every day, searching for a sign that we are coming to our senses, that it might be safe to have a baby after all. We do the math and compare it to the news–how many years do we have left in our reproductive windows? Or –how old will my child be when we reach 2 degrees? Will we get our act together in time to prevent the worst? As we consider starting families, it becomes clear that the perils of climate change have made this a terrifying time to make such choices. Privately, growing numbers of young people struggle with the decision because our lived experience tells us that something is very wrong. Our generation is feeling the consequences of our parents’ ignorance and indifference: we now have to worry that the planet won’t support our children. For us, unlike for many of our leaders, ‘future generations’ is a practical matter: It is impossible for us to have a child without considering what kind of world they will face. Parents protect their children from everyday threats, but rely on their leaders to protect them from larger threats, and ours have repeatedly favored big fossil fuel business over a habitable future for our next generation. Climate change has been an internationally recognized threat for at least twenty five years, and in that time American lawmakers have broken trust with us again and again by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with tens of billions of dollars annually. We can’t shelter our children from another Katrina, or another Sandy, a Washington mudslide, and we can’t feed them when drought destroys our food supply. Throughout history we have always had to think about what sorts of lives our children would live; that’s what it means to be a parent. This is our time and climate change–and its consequences–is our struggle. If our elected officials won’t stop giving away money to the industry that is killing us, then our government is not by the people, of the people, or for the people, and it is terrifying to entrust a child’s future to it. We demand the right to make reproductive choices free from massive, avoidable, government-supported harm. We demand that the US end fossil fuel subsidies as an act of commitment toward our generation and those that follow. We offer these testimonies as an act of conscience for our nation’s future. We do this so that the next generation of children may lead healthy lives. This part of the climate crisis has been private until now. We bring it into the light in order to make it seen, and to reckon with it.