“I hope to leave the smallest impact I can manage while I’m here on this magnificent planet.”

Jenna, 36, Canada

I’m a potter who lives in eastern Canada, and have made the choice to be childfree. I can’t say that I’ve ever wanted children at any point in my life. When I have gone down the road of considering kids my decision-making process always dead ends at the climate crisis – I just can’t get past this as a deeply important reason not to procreate.

I have a degree in Environmental Sociology. I’ve spent a great deal of time learning and thinking deeply about our planet. Over my years observing humans’ response (and our ways in general) I don’t feel confident the action required to turn the ship around is a challenge we as a species are rising to in time. I hope to be proven wrong, but I’m not putting my eggs in that basket! (Pun intended? lol)

It could be entirely possible that were there not a climate emergency I might choose to be childfree anyway (there are lots of reasons I deeply enjoy my childfree life) but ultimately I believe my choice halts at these two main reasons:

1. I feel that my adding another human with a North American footprint to an overburdened planet would be irresponsible.

2. I can’t bear the thought of knowingly bringing a person into being while believing that the future they’d experience seems very grim. I’d no doubt love my child intensely, and actually, harnessing the love I have for my unborn hypothetical kid comforts me in sparing them an inhospitable future. In this way my choice feels like an act of love. This act of love actually occupies quite a beautiful and special corner of my heart. At the risk of sounding weirdly mystical I feel an almost spiritual connection with my unborn children that involves a deep shared understanding and mutual sense of knowing that their coming into being right now is not suitable for them or the planet.

I don’t want to come across as pessimistic; I consider myself a realist. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised about our future. I’m trying my darndest to live my values on an off-grid homestead in our self-built strawbale house. I try to consider the impact of all my choices, act accordingly, and I do maintain hope. I truly love and enjoy my life, and it is deeply fulfilling and meaningful. I hope to leave the smallest impact I can manage while I’m here on this magnificent planet.

I also hope to model a life for other woman and girls that exemplifies the myriad ways we can love, connect, and contribute to this world that doesn’t have to involve making children.