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Every crisis we face, from the climate to Covid-19, is a function of family planning laws and policies that actually do nothing to ensure planning. They do nothing to give children minimum levels of welfare, or birth equity, and nothing to promote sustainable environments, or functional democracies where each voice matters. All of these problems, social and ecological, root in the people that comprise them.

The reasonable reaction to this situation would be to reform these systems to address the problems, especially given the massive impact changes in family planning systems make on things like climate emissions. Any discussion of family planning is an opportunity to do so. So why is the New York Times publishing empty pieces that celebrate thoughtlessly having children and simply hoping for the best? The most recent piece does nothing to address whether a more collective model of planning could mitigate the crises, sets up a false dichotomy of anti/pro-natalism, and spends the rest of the piece dressing the former up as nihilistic and the latter as a glorious leap of faith that even Kant would endorse. The author manages to ignore that if we followed Kant, we would in fact find a universal norm for family planning that did not simply exacerbate the problems and injustice we see today but address them as a collective action problem, a norm like Fair Start.

The New York Times can do better than push people to have kids with babies = hope messaging. It can address the problem one Nobel Laureate laid bare: Those in power like Times editor Dean Baquet sit atop a population pyramid, the growth of which they are incentivized to promote as a means of expanding their wealth and influence. Baquet and the Times benefit from the growth, but don’t pay its costs. The costs of that expansion, including the inequity that floats Baquet and his son Ari above the masses, are leveled on others, especially on future generations who will suffer in the climate crisis. Family planning is the first border of justice – address that issue, Dean and Ari, and let People Magazine publish thoughtless pieces on hopeful baby making as a solution to the crises causes by the same.

Take Action: Urge @deanbaquet, or his son Ari, to explain how they intend to promote the reform family planning laws and policies to address the crises we see today, and account for the social and ecological benefits they enjoy, but others will not.

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