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Are Kids Bad for the Planet?

The fraught decision to have children—or not—in an era of climate crisis

Illustration by Sally Deng

Is it irresponsible to bring a child into a warming world? For some who are plagued by this question, the problem is the carbon footprint their offspring will leave. Others anguish about the difficulties their children will encounter on a ruined planet. But is population the proper target in our efforts to combat global warming? In the inaugural episode of The New Republic’s new podcast, The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Emily Atkin, a contributing editor at the magazine, about her investigation into how climate anxiety may be altering a whole generation’s approach to reproduction—and whether it really should.

Laura and Alex also discuss the future of Alex’s vaping habit and check in with veteran campaign reporter Walter Shapiro about the state of the 2020 presidential race.