The Ethics of Childbearing

Efforts to curb climate change have been varied and, thus far, largely unsuccessful. But Travis Rieder, a philosopher at The Johns Hopkins University, has a new approach: have fewer children.

Although an ethically and emotionally difficult decision, Rieder argues that decreasing the global fertility rate by just half a child per woman could eliminate 1/5 to 1/4 of the carbon emissions that would bring human civilization to a catastrophic tipping point.

“We need to shift our cultural attitudes,” Rieder says, “It’s not the childless who must justify their lifestyle. It’s the rest of us.”

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