Teens are pledging not to have kids until the government takes climate change seriously

Kelly McLaughlin
Emma Lim

Courtesy of Emma Lim


Some teenagers in Canada and the United States are pledging not to have children until their governments take serious steps to combat climate change.

Emma Lim, an 18-year-old student at McGill University in Montreal, recently launched a climate-change movement called "#NoFutureNoChildren," in which people can pledge to hold off having children until the government takes action.

"I have always, always wanted to be a mom, for as long as I can remember," Lim told Insider. "But I will not bring a child into a world where they will not be safe. I would like to see the government develop a comprehensive plan to stay below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] of warming."

Her plan refers to a 2018 United Nations report that said the earth has warmed 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th Century. The report looks at the consequences of it were to warm 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

Lim also wants to see a plan put in place to help people who will be affected by climate change, including displaced people, and people losing work in industries like agriculture, fishing, oil, and gas.

Emma Lim, center, with her mother, left, and Sophie Price, right, who also took the pledge

Courtesy of Emma Lim

The teen said that climate change is a "fact of life" for her generation. 

"When you're young you believe that your government will fix things, and so I joined the green team and we worked on recycling and I figured that everything would be okay," she told Insider. "But that trust in your leaders erodes over time."

Lim said she first became disenchanted after watching the Ontario Legislative Assembly's climate debate in May, and she determined government officials weren't doing enough to combat the effects of climate change.

As she spoke to friends about the issue, Lim she realized she wasn't the only one who's scared. She said her friends, too, are losing hope.

"I launched the pledge because I wanted other people to understand how the fear of climate is so unquestioned in my generation. It's something everybody feels. Where in my parent's or grandparent's generation, believing in climate change is often a matter of opinion and not survival," she told Insider.

Teens across the world are calling for cation against climate change

A recent climate strike in Montreal, where demonstrators used fake blood for a Die-In strike.

Courtesy of Emma Lim

Lim kicked off her movement on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday morning. 

She told Vice Canada that she saw "massive changes" in her parents when they learned about her pledge.

"For the first time, the impact of climate change became real to them. You read about hurricane stories and heat waves, but the massive, most catastrophic events haven't touched us yet in Canada. There's flooding but it hasn't really affected my immediate family. But this hurts; this is something tangible," she said.

Read more: Climate change is happening, but people can't agree on what to do about it. Here's where people in 28 major countries stand.

Hundreds of people have followed in Lim's footsteps, and many are using her hashtag on Twitter.

Teens across the world are calling for cation against climate change. On March 15, 1.4 million students in 123 countries worldwide demanded more government action to limit climate change.

More than a third of American Millenials think climate change should be a factor in a couple's decision about whether to have children

Youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg, left, speaks at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing on climate change Wednesday

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg brought her campaign for urgent action on climate change to Congress on Wednesday, saying government officials aren't doing enough to halt global warming or reduce carbon emissions.

Thunberg offered a copy of the 2018 global warming report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the same UN report that Lim cited. In the report, scientists chosen by the United Nations detail the human-caused affects on climate.

"I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists, and I want you to unite behind the science." Thunberg, 16, said, according to NBC News. "And then I want you to take action."

In an Insider survey taken in March, 38% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 agreed that climate change should be a factor in a couple's decision about whether to have children. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines at the time when she suggested that people were concerned about having children because of climate change.

"Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don't turn this ship around ... there's scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult," Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram Live. "And even if you don't have kids, there are still children here in the world, and we have a moral obligation to leave a better world for them."

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