Would You Be Childfree For The Sake Of The Earth?

Would You Be Childfree For The Sake Of The Earth?

Consider the environmental benefits of not having kids.

Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.

Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.

Practice Philosophy
Dr. Walker’s evaluation approach is based on gaining practical answers and solutions to the concerns you have. She will assist you by communicating with your physician or other referral source and/or helping you to seek out your own resources.
Dr. Walker is a solution-focused therapist. She strives to work with clients in achieving a greater understanding of how current and past thoughts, actions, and circumstances affect current emotions. Her goal is to assist clients in development and utilization of their individual personal resources in their treatment.
Background and Clinical Training
Dr. Walker’s first counseling experience came in 1983, when she began volunteer work as a telephone crisis counselor in Jackson, Mississippi and then Tokyo, Japan. She has been in private practice in Bellingham since 1991. Dr. Walker was a co-facilitator of the newly formed Adult ADHD Support Group in Bellingham back in the early 1990’s. She served on the board and was president of the Northwest Behavioral Health Independent Practice Association, an organization with over 150 mental health private practitioners.
Dr. Walker earned her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1986. She returned to school at Seattle Pacific University for her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, completing this degree in 2000.
Licensure and Professional Memberships
Dr. Walker attained her Washington State Psychology license in 2001. Every three years, she completes a minimum of sixty hours of continuing education. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), the Learning Disabilities Association of Washington State (LDAWA), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). She is listed as a referral psychologist with each of these organizations.
Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.

Another good reason to be childfree but would you consider it?

Most people consider whether or not to have kids based on lifestyle factors such as career goals, finances, and leisure time, but there’s another group of folks who are doing so primarily for environmental reasons.

This past summer, Time Magazine published a cover story(link is external) about the childfree life that discussed why people decide to not have kids. Author Lauren Sandler wrote that the birthrate in the US is the lowest in recorded history and that the fertility rate actually dropped by 9 percent between 2007 and 2011. She cites cost ($234,900 to raise a child born in 2011 for a family earning less than $100,000 per year) as a major factor in this decline. Careers are also impacted, especially for women, who may lose out on as much as a million dollars because of lost promotions and other missed opportunities in the workplace that result from taking time off to raise kids.

Sandler also points to the sense of freedom that comes from being childfree. Childfree adults have an abundance of time to spend with friends and family, at their jobs, and on their own leisure activities and self-care.

But there’s a third factor that Sandler neglected to discuss in her popular article—the green angle. Lisa Hymas, writer for Grist.org, wrote(link is external) about this in a follow-up to the Timestory. Hymas points out that the global population is now at 7.1 billion and is projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of people stressing an already exhausted earth. She cites a Global Environmental Change study(link is external) that boldly discusses the impact of each child on the earth.

The bottom line from this research is that all of the environmentally conscious deeds a person may do — recycling, riding the bus, etc. —  pale in comparison to not having a child. As Hymas states, “The climate impact of having one fewer child in America is almost 20 times greater than the impact of adopting a series of eco-friendly practices for your entire lifetime.”

Hymas is in the lead in her willingness to boldly address this controversial issue and to encourage potential parents to consider the future of the earth when contemplating their own future. Bringing these issues to the forefront may lead them to forego having a child or to adopt instead.

Would you choose to not have kids primarily for the good of the environment? And if you wanted to be a parent, would you choose adoption for this same reason?


© Copyright Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D., All rights Reserved.