Last month we asked the Guardian to correct a confusing story that said changing one’s diet is the most effective way to reduce one’s impact on Earth, and mitigate climate change. As we explained, and the Guardian previously reported, that is not true. Ensuring smaller families is the most effective action – so much so, that in one recent report the impact of having one child less could not even be easily graphed against other actions. It’s not the first time the Guardian has elided family planning when discussing climate change.
Most discussions of family planning and the environment – the Guardian included – involve narratives of the most compassionate and thoughtful people one can imagine forgoing having kids entirely. But is that what we really want? Would discussions of the need for better family planning policies, for all, make more sense?
Ignoring a culture of family planning that treats each family as if it were an isolated unit condemns future generations to a luck-of-the-draw birth lottery that ensure poor kids stay poor, and rich kids stay rich. Journalists have a responsibility to put issues in context. In that sense, they should start at the source, and bring attention to idea of focusing our family planning on collectively ensuring a fair start in life for every child.
It’s time for the Guardian to connect the dots, and see the linkages between the issues it reports on – from needy kids, to water shortages, to the cycle of child abuse and neglect, to maternal deaths worldwide – and the need for better family planning.
We can all do better. Our future depends on it.
Urge the Editor of the Guardian Katharine Viner to reconsider the paper’s approach to family planning by tweeting her @KathViner or by sending her a brief letter email@example.com.