Climate change is already killing many, including infants, and will kill millions more. Most of the attempts to mitigate the crisis have been undone by growth. At the most fundamental level that growth was enabled by family and family planning systems that favored isolating parents and the family unit, over protecting children and ensuring their equity.
This moved wealth from women and children into the hands of relatively small group of men, and hid the way just family policies can override political processes and the entitlements they try to assign to the wealthiest and most powerful.
Who has more at stake in the act of creating a child – the adults or the kid? If we really think about it, children do. Adults can and do walk away from the children they create all the time. Children cannot walk away from their lives. So fundamental justice begins from the bottom, like democracy, with child-centric policies that include climate reforms, as described in this Newsweek piece. Prior political theories missed this, and did not account for our birth and development as the most basic power relations and obligations, because they treated power as flowing top down, not truly deriving from people and not about real relations to the extent they ignored ensuring the creation of persons in conditions – and with relations – consistent with minimums like the Children’s Rights Convention.
And because justice and fairness are a prerequisite for being free, and freedom is impossible without them, free persons will fight for child-centric reforms that allow them to consent to the power others would have over them.
Free persons will in this way choose to physically constitute just communities, rather than pretend we live in them.
People, not documents like national constitutions or even international human rights instruments, constitute free nations. Not telling this truth is killing innocent persons, skewing the baseline for live-saving climate loss and damage funding, including the prioritization of claims, the amount owed, and how they must be used.
Not making this change and ending what we might call the #famscam means those least responsible for the crisis – including future generations – will be the most harmed. There is no greater injustice.
And because everything we do originates from the obligations to those around us, a process that is dynamic as persons enter and leave the world, we all have a choice to orient our lives from a relatively just, or child-centric, or unjust fundamental position – and to take direct action to liberate ourselves and others accordingly – as described in the Newsweek piece above.
Freedom begins with human rights and democracy, or the limiting of subjective human influence with objective norms. But because of our failure to orient family policies more around what children need than what parents want, this crucial limiting never occurred.
Consistent with this, historically many leaders chose to act in this fundamentally unjust way. They chose to exploit future generations to create economic growth, avoiding child-centric reforms, even simple things like using the Children’s Rights Convention as a standard for universal family planning and incentivizing entitlements and resources as the primary determinant of family planning behavior.
This hid the override, discussed above. We can take that money back.
- Organizations like UNICEF and the UNFPA chose unjust policies that ensured more children were born into conditions that violated the conditions than they were taking out of such conditions.
- Companies like Unilever were growthwashing, omitting the impact of family policies on the environment while urging women to have more kids so the company could sell more products.
- Thought leaders like Peter Singer mislead many influential activists regarding what things like animal liberation actually means, because he failed to urge the necessary family reforms to make that liberation real.
- Leaders like Joe Biden (who only authority derives from actually empowering citizens) were choosing growth policies in the middle of the climate crisis that used children from economic growth rather than protecting them.
- Nonprofits like the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Our Children’s Trust were choosing to undo their own work with fundamentally unfair and ineffective baseline standards.
Want to see the injustice in action? Ask anyone making a claim about furthering particular values to account for how the family norms, policies and relative ranking of obligations (family norms do and should come first) impact the claims. See if the persons making the claims never accounted for these factors, and whether these factors actually undid the claimed values, and instead created the climate crisis and vast inequity.
One way to actually constitute free nations is by targeting high-profile individuals, and whose wealth and power were created through growth and other policies that robbed women and children of what they deserve (and that’s based on assessments by a Nobel laureate, among others), as examples to pay what they owe or take other reparative actions. They are choke points, and their changing course – limiting and decentralizing their own wealth and power through things like climate reparations – can lead as an example to others in ways that can save millions of lives.
And we can identify others, high profile leaders, by simply taking the action described at the end of this article.
Not telling this truth is killing innocent persons, skewing the baseline for live-saving climate loss and damage funding, including the prioritization of claims, the amount owed, and how they must be used.
TAKE ACTION: Urge political, business, and nonprofit leaders to say whether they are choosing to be fundamentally just, or unjust – to simply tell the truth – and if they are choosing to be just what specific actions they are taking in this regard.
- If you support a child welfare organization: Does it urge communities and parents to ensure minimum levels of welfare for kids, before they are born, in order to avoid less effective interventions later in life?
- If you support an environmental or animal protection organization: Does it promote sustainable families, by far the most effective way to ensure a healthy environment, biodiversity, and less animal suffering?
- If you support social justice organizations working on racial, economic, gender, or other forms of equality: Do they promote family planning policies that a) level the playing field for all kids so that they truly have equal opportunities In life, and b) advance gender equity by eliminating all forms of pronatalism, or pushing people to have kids?
- If you support organizations promoting human rights and democracy: Do they promote family planning policies that will ensure each person has an effective voice in their political systems and is not lost in the crowd?