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Smaller families are the trend as our species seems to react – in a positive way – to the ecological and social crises that plague our world. And while the developmental benefits of smaller families are proven, and well appreciated by bioethicists, many in the media have been slow to catch up.

Thanks to Michael Shank, that’s changing. Newsweek published his powerful piece last week. In it he refers to child-centric family planning – the most ethical form of family planning – and a win-win for parents, kids, and their communities. Many are hoping the message reaches world leaders at the world climate conference in Madrid next month.

It’s not just about family size. Opening a public dialogue regarding better family planning policies could enable new modeling that targets horrific inequity too (the sort that shut down Chile as a location for the climate conference recently). Starting at the source has many benefits.

Who’s really pushing for bigger and poorly planned families? The elite at the top of a population Ponzi-scheme pyramid that keeps them in power. Poor family planning is a like a bank account. Women, children, and the natural world pay into the account, and businesses and politicians withdraw money in the form of a glut of cheap future labor, hungry consumers, and compliant taxpayers. The process works by using things like tax incentives, cultural pressure, celebrity role models, and propaganda like this, to push women to have kids irrespective of the conditions in which those children will be born and the ecology they will impact.

It’s time to reverse that flow, and Fair Start family planning – which decentralizes centers of power by investing their resources into future generations – is one way to do it.

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