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Do not have children to protect climate and planet

Childless sustainable - Does it make sense for environment & climate not to have children?

Is it really smart to stay childless for the sake of the climate and the environment? If you're asking yourself this question, you've come to the right place. More and more people are making a conscious decision not to have children in order to protect our environment. This decision is also due to the fact that they want to spare their offspring a life on a destroyed planet. But does this really make sense?

In this article, I would like to answer this question and show you what speaks in favor of staying child-free - and in which cases it is rather counterproductive not to have children in terms of sustainability.

  1. Reasons
  2. Birthstrike Movement
  3. Assessment
  4. Closing words

Why do many people not want to have children for the sake of the environment?

Does it make sense not to have children for the environment?

I myself would like to have a child - and for this very reason, I am also thinking about whether it might be more sustainable to remain childless. In this paragraph, I would first like to briefly explain the reasons why many people decide not to have children:

Poor living conditions

Anyone who expects worse living conditions for their own child quickly thinks about staying child-free. Winter without snow, food shortages, Plastic waste in the environmentfloods, droughts, forest fires, species extinction, Deforested rainforests, Water shortageantibiotic resistance, infertile soils and polluted waters. These consequences of human activity are already visible to everyone today. But over the years, these extremes will continue to increase. A definitely frightening idea. Especially if the political will is not in evidence at the same time.


The Global world population growing at a rapid pace. Every additional person presents us as a global society with major challenges - and an enormous burden on the environment. Many people are therefore worried about the quality of life of their own offspring - and that it could take away quality of life from future generations.

Resource consumption

It's not just about diapers and toys. Every person consumes throughout his or her life Natural resources and therefore, soberly considered, also represents an additional burden on the planet. Whether through our own diet, regular vacation trips by plane, daily car journeys to work or the clothes we wear.

CO2 saving

According to a study, an average of around 58.6 tons of CO2 are emitted per child per year. So if we were to bring just one less child into the world, we could save this amount of CO2 and help the environment. Counteract climate change. For comparison: To live car free would reduce its own climate impact by around 2.4 tons of CO2 per year.₁


Supporters of this philosophy have ethical reasons, such as the World hunger or the Environmental problems of our timeto consciously refrain from having children. They want to protect other people and, of course, their own offspring from such scenarios.

Whether greenhouse gas emissions, waste of resources or antinatalism. All the reasons are closely linked and, in my opinion, definitely sound plausible. So are we really doing something good if we put aside our desire to have children for the sake of the environment and because of the looming future scenarios? In principle, the question is absolutely justified.

The Birthstrike Movement

Strikes are a popular way of drawing attention to problems and encouraging people to rethink their attitudes. In addition to climate and hunger strikes, another form of strike has developed in the UK: the Childbirth strike. The British Birthstrike movement has been joined by people who are giving up their desire to have children because of the threat of climate catastrophe and other man-made environmental problems. Together, they want to encourage politicians and society to rethink.

But is not having children really sustainable? You can find out my opinion in the following paragraph.

Is it really sustainable not to have children because of climate change?

Staying child-free - is that really sustainable?

I consider the Birthstrike approach from the UK and the motivating motives to be very commendable in principle. There is nothing wrong with taking a stand for the environment and the lives of future generations on the planet. In my opinion, the childbirth strike for the environment is laudable in principle, but not expedient.

Because if people who are already aware of the environmental problems of our time do not produce offspring, the proportion of children and soon-to-be parents for whom the health of the planet plays no or only a subordinate role will increase. Under certain circumstances, this can have fatal consequences for future generations.

If you don't want to have children for environmental reasons, then in my opinion you are one of those people who should bring a child into the world (or adopt one). After all, you are the sustainable role model - and you exemplify values such as environmental awareness and sustainability to your offspring.

And yes, poor living conditions are to be expected at the moment. But not if more people come into the world who can create positive change and make the world more sustainable. Nor is "overpopulation" or a growing world population the main problem. Rather, it is the behavior of each individual.

For example, we could feed significantly more than all the people in the world if all people vegan diet.₂ It is no coincidence that veganism is the fastest-growing global movement. It is also a movement that significantly reduces resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity and many other problems.

Tip: Take a look at the article about the Reasons for veganism on. You will not regret it.

So if you are environmentally conscious yourself, you don't have to be afraid of becoming a father or mother. After all, it is highly likely that your own child will also be a reflective person who places great importance on these future-oriented values. So whether it makes sense not to have a child in order to reduce the burden on the environment really depends entirely on the values with which you will raise your offspring. The HOW is crucial. 

If you want to raise your children to be environmentally conscious people, you don't have to remain childless for ecological reasons

Childless for the environment and climate protection?

Of course, at first it may seem sensible not to put an additional burden on the planet by having a child. But it would be a shame if there was one less responsible and environmentally conscious person in the world who could in turn pass on their values to others. Nevertheless, nobody has to justify not having children. Be it because of personal freedom or because of climate change. Of course, depending on your personal ideas, you can also happy childless be. The possibility of Adoption of a child should also be mentioned again at this point. Not least because "parenthood" is possible here without any environmental concerns.

Ultimately, however, it is a free decision that is up to each individual. Just as free as the decision to buy a fundamentally environmentally friendly life to lead. However, it is crucial for the transition to a sustainable society that small environmentalists continue to be born in the future.

Finally, here are some further articles that will make sustainable parenting easier for you:

Do you have any questions, suggestions or other things that come to mind on the topic of childlessness for the climate and the environment? Then please write me a comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: Feel free to take a look at the Blog for sustainable families around! There you can find out, for example, how you can live diaper free simply by following your heart.

₁ S. Wynes; K. A. Nicholas; Institute of Physics: The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions (as at: 12.07.2017), available at [30.06.2020].

₂ M. Berners-Lee, C. Kennelly, R. Watson; et al. (2018): Current global food production is sufficient to meet human nutritional needs in 2050 provided there is radical societal adaptation, available at [07.05.2020].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

6 thoughts on “Kinderlos nachhaltig – Ist es sinnvoll für Umwelt & Klima keine Kinder zu bekommen?”

  1. Hello Christoph,
    On the whole, I agree with you, however, your article from "antinatalism" takes a strange and unpleasant turn in my eyes. Without question, all our environmental problems are actually due to overpopulation. In Germany they are working hard to delay the collapse, but it can't work if they don't work causally and globally on a reduction of reproduction. Also many small environmentalists lead at best to a delay.
    Your argumentation sounds to me like "we are the good guys!" and loses sight of the effects of further growth or even just standstill. Honestly, the plea for a multiplication/education according to one's own ideal reminded me directly of Himmler's "Lebensborn", which hardly anyone will approve of today.

    1. Moin Matthias, you are comparing my factually elaborated and presented position on whether it makes sense not to father any more children at all with Lebensborn e.V. 😀 I hope you are not serious.

      I am not saying in any word that anyone is a better person - or that "more of them" should be conceived.

      This article is only intended to help answer the above question - and nothing more. It is neither 100% sensible not to have children, nor 100% sensible to have a child if you want to do the environment a favor. Everything in between is discussed in this post, as it is a personal matter of consideration, depending on what is important to you.

      Nor is overpopulation the root "actually" of all environmental problems. It is people's lifestyles - and predominantly the lifestyles of people in the Western world - that drive climate change. Meat consumption, flights, etc. About 90 percent of all people have never been on an airplane. About 30 percent of Germans fly 1-2 times a year by airplane. These are the causes of the biggest environmental problems - and not that a woman in Africa produces more than 5 children on average.

      Everyone should start with themselves - and not use the growing world population as an excuse for not having to change themselves.

      Many greetings,

  2. Good, dear Christoph,
    then we were both possibly misunderstanding, sorry.
    Nevertheless, and despite the indisputably far too wasteful West, there are simply "the limits of growth" which I consider to have already been clearly exceeded. A "back to nature" does not change the fact that the population density is not in proportion to what Mother Earth can cope with. Even if all at once everyone agrees to live "consciously" from now on, one achieves, as I said, at best a postponement of the collapse, if the multiplication is not restrained. Instead, there are "family-friendly" policies, a health care system that increases life expectancy (and thus the individual footprint) through ever new findings, religions that call contraception the devil's work. This cannot work.
    By the way, I am childless, as you may have already heard, and I am slowly reaching retirement age. I think I would reproach myself today if I had brought children into the world.

    1. Moin dear Matthias, then I am reassured 🙂 .

      It is quite possible that it makes sense for ecological motives not to produce children at all. But basically we humans (even with 11 billion inhabitants) are able to live in such a way that the resources of nature can recover. Currently we live, example mass animal husbandry, much too resource-wasting and environmentally destructive. With a general plant-based diet, no one would have to go hungry anymore and large areas of land would be freed up to support biodiversity, CO2 storage in forests, etc. This is still a long way off. This is still a long way off - but it is even further off that all people will give up their offspring for the sake of the environment. This is precisely why the overriding goal must be to achieve a more sustainable way of life for our society - through education and by setting an example.

      Best regards

  3. Hmm, not sure how to understand that. Counter question: Why can't adults who want children take care of the children who are already in the world? And partly grow up under undignified circumstances? Why does the " my genes" play such a role? There are enough children in the world who suffer. And wait for loving parents. That would be sustainable.

    Instead, the desire to have children is always purely selfish. My genes, my heritage.

    Sorry to say, but there are more than enough Latte Macciato mothers in Germany who now carry the sustainable cup from Starbucks home. And for whom the desire to have children increases proportionally with the man's income.

    1. Hello Verena,

      had treated in this articlebisher only the options "child yes" or "child no" - and the possibility of adoption came much too short. Thanks for the tip, have now also addressed it.

      Many greetings

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