In a recent piece, The Guardian and George Monbiot do right by at least discussing family planning, the fundamental driver of our ecological and social crises. But they miss the mark by using their pulpit to demonize and exclude those focused on family planning reform, as opposed to unifying environmentalists, and offering ways for anyone who cares about our future to work together on the most effective changes.
This is not in dispute: People cause anthropogenic impacts, and people don’t fall from the sky. In the case of the climate crisis, choosing one child fewer has 20 times the impact of altering one’s diet. In the mid- to late 20th century, world leaders and environmentalists made a gamble that family size would fall quickly enough to evade catastrophe. All of us, including George, were wrong. Our children will suffer for that mistake.
What’s the solution now? The right to have children is universal, but properly interpreted, it has to orient from what future children need more than what intending parents want because future children have the most at stake. In other words, social justice and the constituting of just societies has to start at the beginning by prioritizing a resource distribution that incentivizes smaller and more equitable families. We can start by targeting the industries most responsible for the crises to pay what they owe. Making that one change in our family planning systems, and quickly employing policies that give all kids a fair start in life, is the way to be most effective and to unify family planning and equity. And we can do that by starting at home, as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have done by choosing a smaller family and speaking out.
TAKE ACTION: Urge the key U.N. agencies to ditch their isolationist family planning models and adopt the human rights-based Fair Start model instead. And urge the Guardian’s head offices to discuss the real solutions — like better family planning policies — to our biggest problems.