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Changing the way we plan families is the most effective way to fight climate change. We can’t ignore the need for reform and still claim to care about either the environment or children. Without rational, fair start family planning, we will be condemning countless children to an unfair life at the mercy of a dangerous climate.

As part of Earth Day 2017, Having Kids is urging Los Angeles and Berkeley to update their historic climate change action plans with a novel but powerful provision: increased funding for family planning.

Many major cities have climate action plans, and these are increasingly important as the federal government fails to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change. But these cities do not address family planning as an effective way to respond.

A study by statisticians at Oregon State University found that the greenhouse gas impact of having an additional child in the U.S. is almost 20 times greater than a lifetime of recycling, reducing, and reusing. They also found that each child born in the U.S. will add about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent. The study concludes, “Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle.”

Carter Dillard, Having Kids’ co-founder and President, notes: “In light of the exponentially positive long-term environmental impact of family planning, increasing these services must play a key role in continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“California’s cities should once again lead the nation by recognizing the irrefutable link between investment in family planning programs and the prospects for climate change,” says Anne Green, Executive Director of Having Kids. “Let’s do what’s most effective, help cities in other states do the same, and make up for what is lacking at the federal level.”

Increased focus on family planning has numerous environmental and social benefits, including decreasing various forms of pollution, alleviating pressure on housing and social services, and reducing traffic. Given the unparalleled results family planning can produce, cities have little reason not to include provisions in major initiatives like their climate action plans.

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