First comes love. Then comes sterilization.

This psychological reversal didn’t just happen. It took place inside the hurricane of spiritual, cultural and environmental forces swirling around us. But the message from this young cohort is clear: Life is already exhausting enough. And the world is broken and burning. Who would want to bring new, innocent life into a criminally unequal society situated on a planet with catastrophically rising sea levels?…

Child-freedom — and Diamond and Gilkes are child-free, not anti-natalist, in that they don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for other people to procreate — comes with its own lingo. “Brant” means “breeder rant” (as in, the annoying things people with kids tell people without kids about how great life is with kids). “Mombie” is a haggard mom-zombie, lost to the land of breast milk and binkies. “THINKER” is an acronym standing for “Two Healthy Incomes No Kids Early Retirement.” “Bingo-ing” refers to the questions the child-free get asked by the child-full: “What if your kid cures cancer? What if you regret it? Who will take care of you when you’re older?”⁠

The dating apps have taken note. On Hinge for example, under the “My Vitals” section, there’s also “Vices,” like if you take drugs, and “Virtues,” for religious and political affiliations, you can tick off whether you want children, if you don’t want them, or if you’re “open” to it. If you’re child-free, you can eliminate future breeders from your feed using a premium plan starting at $29.99 per month…

According to Clay Routledge, an existential psychologist at North Dakota State University who has studied young people’s attitudes toward the future, there is a growing school of thought among twenty-somethings that humans are the problem. It’s not just that we’ve built factories and polluted the oceans and launched tons of garbage into space. It’s that there’s something about us — our psychology, our chromosomal wiring — that makes it impossible for us to make things better.