A woman who refuses have to children to help the environment says those who choose to have a large family ‘haven’t considered’ the impact on the planet, and how they’re using up school and hospital places.
Anna Hughes, 37, from London, decided in her early 20s never to have children in order to reduce her carbon footprint, and feels people need to make an ‘informed choice’ when it comes to expanding their families.
The campaigner belongs to Population Matters, a UK-based charity that addresses population size and its effects on environmental sustainability, and appeared on Lorraine this morning to discuss her decision to remain childless.
She told that while she does not want to ‘ban or limit’ people from having children, she feels those with large families have not considered the wider impact of their choice, such as taking up ‘school and hospital places’ and increasing consumption.
‘It’s difficult when you talk about banning or limiting’, said Anna, ‘because it really is a choice, and should reman so. It needs to be an informed choice, we need to be educating people about the impact of having lots of children.
‘My personal choice is not to have a family, and I would encourage others to choose to have a small family.
‘I would argue those who choose to have a large family haven’t really considered the impact on the planet or our futures and everyone else as well.
‘It’s not just our emissions, it’s school places and hospital places and our consumption, all of these things go up the more people they are, and these are all wider considerations we can make when choosing our family sizes. ‘
Anna decided not to have children because she’s ‘aware of the number of people on this planet’ and while she understands most won’t share the same mindset, she hopes people will consider the impact on the planet before starting a family.
‘I decided a couple of decades ago having kids weren’t for me because I am aware of the number of people on this planet and resource use,’ she said. ‘And naturally everyone has a carbon footprint and not having a family is part of reducing that.
‘Not everyone will make the same choice, but it is important we make these decisions with the impact of the planet in mind.’
While she has been called ‘selfish’ for her decision not to have children, Anna says that more and more people are becoming aware of the ‘impact on the planet’ having a family has.
‘Lots of people said, “You’ll change your mind” and thought I was selfish for this decision and it is tricky.
‘Even today we’re looked at funny, us women who decide not to have kids, and I have lots of friends who feel the same and don’t want to have loads of kids and it’s a normal thing.
‘I think more and more people are becoming aware of our impact on the planet and the dangers of climate change. ‘
The activist explained that her relationships have rarely been effected by the choice not to have children, and says she’ll adopt a child if she ever wants to start a family.
She told: ‘There’s only been one relationship where it has broken up because he wanted children, all the other people it wasn’t an issue or they already had a family of their own.
‘But because it’s something I feel so passionate about, I would choose someone who also doesn’t want children.’
She went on: ‘If I decided I wanted a family then I would adopt. I’m not against children, I don’t not want kids. At this moment in time, it’s not right for me. But if it were, so many children are in need of a loving home.’
When quizzed on the argument that an ageing population will be in need of people to look after them, Anna said: ‘The answer to an ageing population is not to simply have more children.
‘It needs a restructuring of society and the way we’re set up at the moment doesn’t appreciate our older people enough, doesn’t look after them enough.
‘It takes restructuring, it doesn’t mean we should continue to have more children.’