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Erika Mathews, Executive Director Having Kids, is taking the bold step of using her own family as a way to promote better family planning. This lone mother is breaking a taboo by speaking out about the need for everyone to choose smaller, better-planned families.

The well-known animal rights activist chose to have one child, Willow, age 11. Erika is now promoting a smaller family ethic and policies, which study after study have shown is the most effective way to solve key environmental and social crises, like climate change and rising economic inequality.

  • The most effective way to address many of the impacts on our environment and other species, like climate change, is by choosing smaller families. Yes, it’s up to 20 times more effective than changing diet or forms of transportation. By 2100, world population could vary by billions of people, depending on whether the average woman in the world today has one child more or one child fewer in her lifetime
  • The science of early childhood development shows the disproportionate impact the beginning of our lives has on the rest of our lives. This holds true, among other things, for economic inequality. Better family planning is the best way to reduce inequality. Other interventions are simply too late.

Why subject herself and her family to criticism? Erika says, “I care about my kid. I care about all kids. This is the most effective way to protect their future. What parent wouldn’t act to protect their kid?” For Erika the logic is simple. Smaller families can invest more in each child, and if parents take steps to plan their families, they can connect their kids with the crucial resources they need to have the most impact over the span of their entire lives.

Erika, through her organization Having Kids, is urging other mothers to speak out. “We can change the direction the world is headed. We just have to start this conversation.”

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