Filmmaker and environmental activist Vicki Lean made an important observation over the past few years: an important part of the conversation around climate change among her generation of women is focused on whether or not to have children. Given the problematic future of the environment, is it right or reasonable to decide to make a family now? The Climate Baby Dilemma, Lean’s new documentary, takes on this issue in an essayist format. It offers various responses to the choice of betting on the future in a meaningful and personal way, or not.
Lean has peopled her film with fine documentary “characters,” women who represent aspects of the dilemma. Dr. Britt Wray is an academic and researcher who has just had her book Generation Dread published. While Wray’s wrestling with the decision to have a child is played out in the film, two young activists, Payton Mitchell and Emma Lin, have already decided to never have children. But Anishinaabe activist Sarain Fox has deliberately opted to have children as an act of solidarity with her people. Other opinions are expressed by Black feminist scholar Dr. Jade Sasser and climate activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki.
The Climate Baby Dilemma is available to stream on CBC Gem. Lean spoke to POV editor Marc Glassman in Toronto.