On the eve of an international conference to fight climate change, the national human rights advocacy group Having Kids today urged the United Nations to incorporate universal family planning as the most effective long-term solution to the crisis.
“Let’s start at the source, and avoid the mistakes in past family planning modeling that created the ecological and social crises of today,” Having Kids executive director Erika Matthews wrote in a letter to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The letter was also sent to dozens of other organizations participating in the 25th Conference of the Parties, or COP25, the UN global climate summit starting in Madrid next Monday.
This month, the lead author of a climate emergency warning from more than 11,000 climate scientists published in the journal BioScience stated the connection clearly: “The greatest influence individuals can have in combating climate change is to have one fewer child.”
Having Kids is urging the UN to push for policies that will reduce family size, such as replacing tax policies that encourage big families with ones that incentivize delaying parenthood and having smaller families; and fully funding the development of and availability of the male contraceptive pill.
The group advocates a Fair Start family planning model, which promotes smaller, sustainable, and more equitable families.
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to plan for a child,” Matthews wrote. “Please consider promoting a universal ethic of cooperative Fair Start family planning, and smaller and more equitable families, as the most effective and comprehensive way to achieve a socially and ecologically regenerative society, and address the climate crisis.”