Fact: The New York Times spent more time reporting on falling fertility rates as a threat to economic growth over the past several years than covering either the beneficial impact of that fall on the climate crisis, or on peer-reviewed research that showed the change in fertility rates could catalyze fundamental changes in United Nations’ policy that could would have the greatest long-run impact on child welfare, inequity, and climate/biodiversity restoration.
That research, per Newsweek, also set a baseline for, and priority use of, loss and damage climate reparations that would be much more costly for wealthy nations but effective as saving lives in the Global South. A key feature of that research showed the changes were mandated by human rights regimes in a way that, again per Newsweek, would override property rights at the top of the economic system, rights that were blocking redistribution of wealth and resources as family planning and birth equity reparations/entitlements. This recent New York Times article, which omits those changes with the greatest impacts on the crisis, is an example of the misreporting.
Fact: This hiding of the baseline and override is exacerbating climate-related harm to infants and mothers, especially impoverished mothers and infants, and amounts to intentionally evading reforms that would save lives.
Those omissions – taken in the face of a clear conflict of interest – benefitted concentrations of wealth and power, like the New York Times and its advertisers, which use unsustainable growth to grow their base at cost to others, per one Nobel laureate. Those harms violate our right to self-determination or freedom, allowing us to be determined – ecologically – by entities like the fossil fuel industries, and the violation disproportionately harms the freedom of those in the Global South while benefitting the Global North.
Fact: The omission of this information mirrors misleading claims by many nonprofits which are backed by wealthy funders who are relying on growth-based returns on investments, claims that purported to show progress for animals, children, the environment, as well as human rights and democracy, while these nonprofits knew that growth was undoing the claims, and doing more harm to the causes long run. The omission aligns with legal reforms around the world that ban abortions and contraception, push women to have more children in the face of the climate crisis, and in a way that seriously exacerbates inequity.
Fact: The New York Times reporting, like the omissions of these organizations, hides the research noted above which showed that international and domestic family planning systems had fundamentally ensured the climate and many other crises today by refusing to use the Children’s Rights Convention – including climate restoration / biodiversity and birth equity – as the baseline for family planning. Instead those systems, driven by member states, chose unsustainable growth that robbed children, as well as equal opportunities in life achievable through simple mechanisms like progressive baby bonds linked to fertility delay and geographic relocation incentives.
TAKE ACTION: What the New York Times did is an act of fundamentally imposing costs on others to benefit itself relative to a baseline of self-determination for all. Because every child’s right to such self-determination, or a fair start in life, overrides all competing interests we can target those unusually responsible – like lead at the New York Times Joseph F. Kahn – to pay the costs placed on others through decades of and in the most effective way possible: Family-based climate restoration via birth equity entitlements under the International Bill of Human Rights.
In other words, to properly assess costs and benefits we have to first become groups of people capable of doing so in a way that is actually inclusive and reflective of the group constituents. Find and engage Kahn in person to #TellThe Truth and pay what he owes. Freedom entails converting the family norms that created today’s crowding shopping malls into policies that instead build democracy, converting concentrations of wealth and power into universal family planning entitlements that ensure all children have what they need to comprise town halls of self-determining citizens.