So much to agree with in this article in the Atlantic, Climate Policy Can Help Avert Modern Liberalism’s “Doom Loop”.
When you talk to people about why they don’t want kids, they don’t always talk about their aversion to children or child-rearing; they often talk about how bleak they think the future will be. Between the breakdown of the global liberal order and the ongoing degradation of the planet’s climate, the next few decades don’t seem like a particularly sociable place, for them or their hypothetical children.
[M]uch of the conservative argument for pronatalist politics respects the fact that cultural changes—and important medical and political advances—have altered childbearing decisions. Isn’t the general anxiety about climate change as a cultural phenomenon—and the lack of political amelioration of it—one of those changes? Potential parents undertake a complex and often spiritual calculus when they plan their families, when they decide to have zero, or one, or five kids. It seems reasonable to me that if you want to coax people back into having larger families, or families at all, you may have to soften that calculus by assuring them the future will be a good place to live.
Because right now, the future does not seem like a very pleasant place to live at all. Economists who study climate change say that, at best, the phenomenon will exact persistent and troubling costs on the poorest parts of the United States; at worst, it will initiate one of several globally destabilizing crises. Global warming will also degrade Earth in plenty of hard-to-calculate ways, wrecking the gentle rhythm of the seasons and strangling the natural biodiversity of every stream and mountain.
If you want a society that encourages people to have kids, you must first tell them that you are working to make the future modestly more hospitable. Not a perfect place, not a problem-free place, not a place where everything will be okay. Just a modestly better one