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Climate Anxiety: Staying child-free and ditching fast fashion for the planet

Updated / Thursday, 19 Oct 2023 10:34

Verena Brunschweiger, 43, vowed not to have children to reduce her carbon footprint
Verena Brunschweiger, 43, vowed not to have children to reduce her carbon footprint

By Conor McMorrow

Prime Time

When Verena Brunschweiger married her husband at the age of 30, she vowed to never have a child because of the impact it would have on the environment.

Now 43, the Bavarian secondary school teacher is the face of Germany’s ‚child free’ movement.

„More people, more waste, less resources…that’s it. This is plain logic,“ she told Prime Time.

Ms Brunschweiger cites a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2017 that found having fewer children was the most effective way of reducing your carbon footprint.

The study found that having one fewer child has a greater impact on reducing greenhouse gases than other lifestyle choices such as going vegan, avoiding long-haul flying, living car free, eating less meat or washing your clothes in cold water.

„For some people it’s too radical. I can understand that. That’s why I always suggest – what about voluntarily having only one kid instead?“

„We have one crisis after the next – pandemics, wars, et cetera. This is not a nice world anymore. I’d always say I pity those kids who are born now because I don’t want to live what they have to live through,“ Ms Brunschweiger said.

„We in the western civilised industrialised countries have to cut down on our numbers,“ she added.

Does her pledge not to have children help her deal with her worries about the future of the planet?

„I don’t have a bad conscience,“ she told Prime Time, as she has not „brought an innocent new being into this world, which is already dying and burning.“

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