Welcome to Climate Anxiety and the Kid Question! This is a podcast about all of the thorny emotions that come along with the climate crisis—from anxiety and sadness to motivation and hope—and how they are shaping fundamental questions about whether, when, and how to have children. Let’s get into it!
This episode explores what it’s like to raise children while steeped in climate emotions. Sarah, an environmental studies professor, talks about what she learned from her students about climate anxiety, her own feelings about climate change, and how motherhood has brought her face to face with her own privilege.
In this episode, I talk to Aishah-Nyeta about her experience growing up as a young activist in the climate movement, and how she connects her climate activism to the need for mental health care, particularly for communities of color. She also talks about her reproductive ambivalence—and why adoption might be the route for her.
This episode was recorded in early 2022. My guest Jessica situates her lack of desire to have kids in a broader policy landscape that makes individuals and families responsible for the failures of a weak social safety net in the U.S. And then there’s climate change, which makes it all seem even more bleak. But she’s clear it’s not an individual problem; it is a system-level problem, and it requires system-level solutions.
In this episode, I talk to Cameron, who grew up as an only child in New Jersey. He and his friends talk a lot about the future and how they want to do things differently, particularly when it comes to creating families and communities. He’s concerned about how hard it is to raise children in general, and says that climate change complicates his vision of a future where he could have kids and raise them the way he would want to. The subject is finding its way into more areas of his life—like his art, and his dates.
In this episode, I talk to Kamillah, a recent university graduate who connects her feelings about environmental problems directly to the environmental injustices she’s experienced living in the Bay Area and Southern California. She’s not planning to have kids right now, but she definitely wants them in the future—which makes it all the more important to address toxic air, water, and other environmental health concerns.
In this episode, I talk to Grace, a hydraulic engineer living and working in New Orleans. Her climate anxiety comes from having lived through hurricane disasters, and having a job that keeps her up to date on the scientific projections of what’s to come. However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t plan to have children. Instead, she’s clear that knowledge and preparation can be the best tools for being confident about becoming a parent in the climate crisis.
In the final episode of the season, I talk to Cindy, a young activist who co-organizes climate cafes in Southern California. In these spaces, artists, activists, and others come together to talk through their climate emotions—and an unexpected emotion has surfaced multiple times: joy. The joy comes through building networks of care, community, and connection, which Cindy says is also vital to the conversation about having children.