Image: EMMA LIM
When 18-year-old Emma Lim attended the Legislative Assembly in Ontario, she was appalled. The Assembly’s agenda was discussing climate change solutions, but Lim quickly became disenchanted when she saw that elected officials weren’t taking big enough decisions. That moment became a turning point and eventually led to the creation of the global movement #NoFutureNoChildren.
The 18-year-old McGill University student launched the campaign with a climate strike at Canada’s Parliament Hill with one simple pledge: the promise to hold off having children until governments in the world take substantive action against climate change.
Image: EMMA LIM
The UN recently announced that we only had 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. With Arctic ice sheets melting at a record rate, air quality rapidly declining, and 60% of all wildlife being wiped out since 1970, Gen Z is going to be the first generation to live through the domino effect of this climate crisis.
Lim didn’t come to this decision lightly. She recorded her experience on her website, stating that she had always dreamed of being a mother and still desperately wants to be one. But with such an apocalyptic future ahead- with food and water shortages, extreme weather, and higher costs of living- Lim believes that it is unsafe to bring a child into this world.
Image: GRAHAM DENHOLM / STRINGER
And she is not alone. The pledge, with its twitter-friendly hashtag, has more than 4,700 signees. Teenagers and young adults from around the world have signed on, promising to put off a future with children of their own for the sake of a future at all.
Image: SARAH SILBIGER / STRINGER
Lim hopes that the pledge shows the world, especially older generations, how seriously her generation is afraid of climate change. While older generations have had the luxury to debate about it like it was an opinion, she and many young climate activists around the world can only afford to think of it as a question of survival.
In Lim’s own family, her campaign has had the impact she’s wanted. She claims that until #NoFutureNoChildren, her parents felt like they could distance themselves from the catastrophes of climate change. But the very intimate loss of potential grandchildren has made them sit up and take notice of what climate activists are saying.
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Emma Lim is one of the many children leading the global movement demanding proper action against the climate crisis. She is in the company of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who inspired global school strikes against climate change, and Autumn Peltier, an indigenous water activist and nominee of the International Children’s Peace Prize for three years in a row.
#NoChildrenNoFuture has definitely captured global attention, with social media mentions, pledge takers, and mainstream media coverage. It is now only a question of whether the leaders of the world are going to listen or not.