Focusing On Birth Rates In Poor Countries As Climate Change Solution Ignores Need For Large-Scale Transformational Actions, Opinion Piece Says
Miami Herald: Scientists wrong to put burden of saving the planet on the world’s poor women
Kelsey Holt, social and behavioral scientist and researcher with the Person-Centered Reproductive Health Program at U.C. San Francisco
“Thousands of scientists around the world joined together last month to label climate change the ’emergency’ that it is. But one of the main points they make — linking control of women’s reproduction to environmental goals — is problematic. Focusing on what women in poor nations with the highest birth rates can do to curb climate change distracts from holding wealthy countries and corporations accountable for their disproportionate harm to the planet and imperils the right to reproductive autonomy. … Education and access to family planning are essential to gender equity and must be fiercely promoted in their own right. But arguing that they are an instrument against climate change implies that the most disenfranchised have an outsize role to play in the fight because of higher birth rates, when in reality they contribute very little to greenhouse gas emissions. … [T]he misplaced emphasis on poor women’s reproduction risks sacrificing human rights to chip away at climate change, a massive problem that needs transformational solutions. And it also distracts from the fact that poor communities are the least likely to have the resources to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change on their lives and livelihoods, and thus have the most to lose. Even if women in poor countries stopped having children tomorrow, without massive decarbonization of the economy neither the planet nor their lives will be any better off now or in the future…” (12/17).