Canadian youth pledge not to have children until politicians act on climate change

Emma-Jane Burian is 17 years old and has already decided she is not having kids.

The Victoria teen is participating in Climate Strike Canada's "No Future, No Children" campaign which asks young people to pledge that they will not have children until they are sure that the federal government is taking action on climate change.

The campaign launched Monday, with 190 people having pledged as of noon PT.

"It's an expression of fear, but it's also a plea for action," Burian told The Early Edition in a phone interview, adding she took the pledge out of hope that Canadian political leaders would begin implementing climate change solutions.

"It's hard because generations past have not had to think about this," said Burian, who said her family is supportive of her plan, but that some friends think her decision "crazy".

Burian does not think her age makes her incapable of making such a choice.

"I don't think you're too young to listen to science and make decisions about that for yourself," she said.

Submitted/Emma-Jane Burian
Submitted/Emma-Jane Burian

Burian, who volunteers for the Green Party, said the group is asking federal candidates from all parties to make clear in their platforms what they are doing to reduce emissions and address climate concerns.

Burian says she wants to see politicians then acting on those promises and not just pay lip service to them.

"It's not a matter of hearing. I think we've been hearing a lot of things from different political parties … I want to start seeing the change," she said. "We have the solutions and it's about implementing those."

For Burian, the ultimatum not to bring children onto a planet she considers overheated and overcrowded is a sacrifice she is willing to make to bring about the change she wishes her elders would.

"I have the responsibility of doing it because the adults aren't adulting," said Burian. "I, for one, couldn't watch my children suffer because the government didn't take any action."

Climate Strike Canada, which mobilized hundreds of students in May to skip school and march for climate action, is a network of students and activists that is not associated with any political party. Another large-scale school strike is scheduled for Sept. 27.

To hear the complete interview with Emma-Jane Burian on The Early Edition, click on the audio link below: