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Geopolitics

No Children By Choice, Where Feminism Meets Ecology

There's plenty of talk these days about forgoing children for the sake of the environment. But are people really opting out of the reproduction route?

A number of young people are prioritizing the environment over having kids.
A number of young people are prioritizing the environment over having kids.
Léa Iribarnegaray

PARIS — Reducing the amount of meat we consume, avoiding air travel… These are just some of the individual measures people can take to help reduce their carbon footprint and fight climate change. But of all the behavior changes people can make, one of the most effective, according to researchers at Lund University in Sweden and the University of British Columbia in Canada, is to have fewer children.

To put it into perspective, a baby produces roughly 58 tons of CO2 per year. In contrast, the combination of a vegetarian only diet (-0.8 tons), stopping air travel (-1.6 tons) and cutting car use (-2.4 tons) saves approximately 4.8 tons per year. And while not having children — or only having one — to save the planet may seem a bit of a drastic recourse, it's an idea that seems to resonate with a growing portion of environmentally conscious young people.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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