Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Climate Change and the Decision to Have Children with Dr. Jade Sasser

Air Dates: May 13-19, 2024

Over the years, young families have often struggled with the ethics of bringing a child into the world.  Dr. Jade Sasser documents that question now as families struggle with the reality of climate change.

Sasser’s work focuses on gender, climate justice, and reproductive politics. She deals with questions around gendered access to household energy in the global South, and how the climate crisis shapes our emotions about—and the ways we create—the future. She is an award-winning author and Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside.  Her most recent book, published this month, is “Climate Anxiety and the Kid Question: Deciding Whether to Have Children in an Uncertain Future.”  Her first book, “On Infertile Ground: Population Control and Women’s Rights in the Era of Climate Change,” was published in 2018. Her work has also been published in several professional publications.  Sasser also hosts the podcast, “Climate Anxiety and the Kid Question.”

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Sasser examines research on the way many young people feel about climate change and the way it shapes their decision to have children.  She says, “I was not expecting young people to say that there is growing and rather intense pressure from friends to not have children, but that is not universal.”  She adds “that kind of peer pressure is strongest among the most environmentally aware young people, […] and those who are just generally more concerned about the state of our society here in the United States and asking questions about where all of it is going.”  Sasser says, “the counterarguement is that it should never be the goal to tell someone else what to do with their bodies, with their reproductive lives.”  Regarding peer pressure, she said, “it’s just never a good idea. People should have the families that they want.”

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and Mondays at 2:30 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.