Skip to main content

It's Time for Climate Family Reforms

If public interest work involves people, it involves family planning. Our brains are not apt to see this because the process unfolds too slowly. And that failing has meant charities often working against themselves. 

Some spent millions to protect a watershed that will now be destroyed by population-driven climate change, or are working to convert a small percentage of people to plant-based diets while the vast majority of harm to animals will come through poor and unsustainable family planning. 

Here are three steps to urge them to embrace efficacy. 

Imagine the world had we ensured all children a great start in life. 

Imagine the world had we ensured all children a great start in life. 

Understand why nonprofits resist this issue: Money. 

Most charities are funded by philanthropists who made their money on unsustainable growth economics, or by funders who do not understand the connection between family policies and public interest outcomes. It's not easy for leadership at charities to avoid pressures from funders to miss the fundamental driver of the crises we face today. 

Impact starts upstream. 

Impact starts upstream. 

Make leadership at your favorite charity account for how growth has impacted their mission

Were more children born into harmful conditions than were removed by the charity's work? Did growth cause more harm to wildlife than charitable efforts to protect a few charismatic animals? If they claimed progress in human rights and democracy, did they ever model family policy to ensure it was actually sustainable or ever account for how growth degrades each person's voice in the political process? Or were they undercutting their mission to produce bodies for economic growth? Are the organizations primarily run by men? 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Pigs in a factory farm

Where does demand come from? 

Focus on justice

Once past points one and two, in your conversations ask the simple moral questions. Do the charities really believe that children don't deserve some minimum levels of welfare at birth? Would they not redistribute wealth, in the form of planning incentives/entitlements, to achieve this? What do they mean when they say "environment" and is it one that is truly safe and healthy for all, human and nonhuman? How do we possibly get to social justice without fair ecosocial starts in life for all children? 

Incentives work. 

Incentives work. 

These discussions - especially if public - with your charities will often result in them reforming their policies. Others will continue to allow their work to be undone by growth

There is no climate justice without family reforms. 

There is no climate justice without family reforms. 


 ● Several studies confirm that smaller families are the best way to confront climate change, as well as other and related environmental crises. If we take climate change seriously, we must laud the benefits of a global family planning ethic that promotes smaller families. 

● The science of early childhood development shows the disproportionate impact the beginning of our lives has on the rest of our lives. This holds true, among other things, for economic inequality. Thus any attempt to ensure children’s rights, like those in the Children's Convention, must begin with family planning. Other interventions are simply too late. 

● Better family planning is now understood to be an effective way to prevent the conditions that give rise to terrorism and other conflict-based threats to human rights and democracy.