Mark Mann, who wrote our June cover story.

Topics: Ethical Living | Environment

Broadview writer discusses story on CBC Radio

Mark Mann joined CBC Radio One's "Ontario Today" call-in show

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Broadview writer Mark Mann’s story about the ethics of having children during the climate crisis started a huge discussion on one radio show Tuesday.

Mann joined CBC Radio One’s Ontario Today call-in show to talk about how he wrestled with the issue during his wife’s pregnancy, and where he found hope despite his fear for his child’s, and humanity’s, future.

Callers on the show had a range of opinions on the topic — from staunch opponents to parenthood to those who thought it wasn’t quite that simple.

A number of them took a big-picture approach and called for a federal leaders’ debate on the issue or increased pressure on our governments to make the issue a priority.

Two mothers said they’d found solace in connection with our planet — one said she had recently learned organic farming skills so she could teach her children, and the other said she took her infant son outside every day to foster his appreciation for nature.

A few callers had decided not to have children. Josh said he thought that reducing the human population was essential to fighting climate change.

One mother, Kate, said she considered her children’s potential carbon footprints before they were born, but has recently become more hopeful about the future.

“The doubt as to their survival isn’t a reason to not have them if they bring joy,” she told host Carmen Klassen. “They do bring joy and meaning to my life. I do feel like I am personally more engaged in this fight because of them.”
Mann said he thinks that the decision not to have a child is a principled one, but also that some opponents are too detached.
“I just don’t think you can calculate away new life and the hopefulness of persisting in our project here to create a more sustainable and reciprocal relationship with our non-human relatives,” he said.

You can listen to the full show on the CBC Radio website.

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Emma Prestwich is Broadview's digital editor.

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