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Smaller Families Are a Benefit Not a Burden 

In a recent piece in USA Today Clay Routledge and Will Johnson cover the story of sea changes in American fertility rates. But while they are likely right about the cause of the trend towards being childfree or having smaller families, they proceed from two false assumptions. First, the change is beneficial not detrimental, given the climate crisis and the threat it poses to our nation. While Routledge and Johnson seem eager to return to unsustainable growth that ignores biodiverse nature, changes in fertility are one of the best chances we have to mitigate the crisis and invest more in the children who will need to be prepared for the degraded ecologies of the future.

Secondly, it’s simply not plausible to say one has to have children to find meaning in life. If we compare the lives of childfree Oprah Winfrey, and Stephanie Jimenez, who starved one of her six children to death, we will see that existential meaning takes more than creating other people. Instead we should opt for just and sustainable family policies that create a future where all have the opportunity to find meaning and success, by having children and otherwise. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge President and News & Editor in Chief for USA TODAY, Nicole Carroll, to report on the need for Fair Start family planning reforms, the most effective solution to the crises we face today. Email her here: EIC@usatoday.com

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