A newlywed couple are willing to give up their dream of starting a family in order to help save the planet.
Ella Starling, 27, and her husband Jackson, 29, are committed environmental activists and had always planned to have children together.
But the couple fear that the “planet is not right for a baby” and after extensively researching the risks that come hand-in-hand with climate change, have drawn to the conclusion that bringing a child into the world would be “unfeasible” right now.
“The decision to not have children hurts, but I am not convinced the future of our planet is right for a baby,” Ella admitted. “I get a lump in my throat every time I think about not having a family but until the government responds and takes action, I refuse to have a family.”
The newlyweds from Pembrokeshire believe that over the next decade, the world will face higher death rates due to increased air pollution, the regularity of extreme weather and food shortages caused by crop failure.
“I couldn’t imagine bringing a child into this world knowing there are possibilities such as war, crop failure or even worse, extinction,” Ella continued. “I feel ashamed at the idea of having children and them asking me ‘why didn’t you do something?’ when Europe’s food availability is limited due to crop failure.”
However, the decision not to have children wasn’t an easy one as Ella had to convince her husband that it was the right thing to do.
“I feel so conflicted about the decision all the time as I have wanted a baby more and more over the years and that yearning is painful to deny,” she added. “There was a bit of friction between Jackson and I, as I felt stronger against not having children but once he researched, he soon agreed.”
Instead, the couple are considering adopting a child. In the meantime, they have reduced their carbon emissions by moving into a low-cost caravan while they cycle or walk whenever possible.
Climate change was named one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the report published at the beginning of the year, air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk with nine out of 10 people breathing polluted air every day.
Not only does this increase the likelihood of developing respiratory and circulatory problems but mortality rates from cancer, strokes and lung or heart disease are also set to rise on a global scale.
Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is predicted to cause 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.