Moms With Big Families Are Killing Our Planet

Maressa Brown

Last month, a Pew poll showed that 53 percent of Republicans said there is no evidence of climate change. Clearly, they're not interested in listening to the 97 percent of scientists who agree that human-created carbon emissions from cars, factories, etc. are turning up the temperature of our planet. But that's OK. Those of us who know what's really happening may get a kick out of the latest "fix" that researchers say could result in a healthier Earth: Birth control.  

That's right. A new report from the Worldwatch Institute (an independent research organization that focuses on climate & energy, food & agriculture, and the Green Economy) states that better access to contraception could, in fact, fight global warming.

It all boils down to what seems to be a sensitive topic ... population control. Basically, the UN projects that the world's population will reach 9 billion by the year 2050. But if ladies have better access to family planning products and services, we could slow population growth—say, potentially leveling the number to 8 billion instead. The lowered world population would reduce CO2 emissions by more than if global deforestation were completely eliminated! Or by the equivalent of if the fuel efficiency of 2 billion cars were doubled from 13 kilometers per liter to 26 kilometers per liter.

This isn't the first report of its kind. Researchers have been saying for several years now that global warming and a woman's right to decide whether or not to have a child are inextricably linked. It makes sense: Every person on the planet makes a measurable carbon footprint.

Think this is all B.S. a la Al Gore? That's fine — for now, politics may stand a chance at drowning out science, but it doesn't change the fact that every year, 190 million women get pregnant, and a third of those women did not plan their pregnancy, according to the UN. That's obviously a problem that requires solving for many reasons unrelated to climate change.

As far as I'm concerned, better access to all forms of birth control (the Pill, condoms, IUDs, fertility awareness, even effectively using the Withdrawal Method!) and more comprehensive sex ed in schools (which would actually teach sexually active teens how to prevent a fate as MTV's next Teen Mom) means more women making educated, empowered decisions about their fertility and their overall health. A reverberating effect on the health of our environment is really just one more powerful upshot.

Do you think women should have better access to birth control?  


Image via quaziefoto/Flickr

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