But academics have suggested Ocasio-Cortez’s comments misunderstand why couples decide to have children.
Professors from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, told CNA that while the concept of bringing a child into the world is always daunting, environmental factors should not be enough to dissuade someone from having children altogether.
Dr. Joseph Capizzi, professor of moral theology and executive director of Catholic University’s Institute for Human Ecology, told CNA that he does believe the concerns of millennials are justified, and that “it’s not unreasonable to worry about the world into which one brings children.”
But, he said, having children is an expression of both love and faith, and that includes “faith in each other, faith in the goodness of God, faith in His creation.”
Capizzi told CNA that he thinks people overlook this basic fact because “so much in the world distracts us from the role of faith in the loving relationship of parents.”
“Concerns about the world and its future are distracting: in faith we are taught God saves and loves the world,” he said.
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A recent online poll by the website Bussiness Insider suggested as many as one-in-three Americans shares Ocasio-Cortez’s fears, with 30 percent of all respondents saying parents should consider the effects of climate change before having a child, a number that climbed to 38 percent among Americans aged 18-29.
Dr. Catherine Pakaluk, assistant professor of social research and economic thought at Catholic University, said that having children is a sign of optimism and that climate concerns should take a backseat to other factors.
"I think it takes a lot of courage to have a child, in any time," Pakaluk said. “Having children in general seems to require a lot of courage and optimism.”