We saw First Reformed on Wednesday night. In the film a young man Michael who cares passionately about the environment commits suicide because his wife is pregnant. He feels the world is doomed because we humans have harmed its climate past the point of no return. He doesn’t know how he will respond to his child when she will confront him someday and ask how he could have brought her into the world when he knew about the cataclysm that was coming.
Michael kills himself to make room for his child on earth. He leaves so his child can take his place because having a child is apparently the most damaging thing you can do when it comes to the future of the earth. Each human being’s carbon footprint is so huge that no matter how much we recycle…. and bike or walk instead of taking the car….. and buy local….. and conserve water it doesn’t nearly begin to balance the harm we do to the environment by having a child. In the film Michael leaves the world to make room for his daughter to enter it. Some people would agree he did the right thing. This article on NPR for example Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change addresses the very thing Michael is so concerned about.
I understand all that logically but….. having children is way to invest in our hope that the world can still be saved. Perhaps the next child who comes into this world will be the one who will figure out how to reverse climate change. Perhaps they will be the one to figure out how to survive the coming cataclysm.
Having children and now grandchildren has been the richest, most meaningful and most fulfilling aspect of my life but I know that is not the case for everyone and…… for some not having children is the right choice both for personal reasons and to save our earth. I’m just glad its a choice I didn’t have to make.