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Want to Save the Planet? Use Contraception

Society's focus on green technology is a waste of time, according to the London School of Economics. What we really need to do to prevent climate change is to boost access to contraception.

Economists claim that family planning is the cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. Every $7 spent on improving access to contraception would reduce carbon emissions by more than a ton, which is a great return. Conversely, you need to spend $30 on green technologies to see the same reduction.

The analysis focused on fulfilling current contraception needs that go unmet. If people who want access to services like the birth control pill got it, unintended births would be reduced by 72 percent, and thus future carbon emissions would be reduced. Fewer people, less carbon.


The London School of Economics isn't the first to point out that reducing the number of children you have is a powerful way to cut back your total environmental impact. Earlier this year, an environmental adviser for the UK controversially called on the government to provide better access to contraception and abortion as a crucial piece of its anti-global-warming policy.

Do you think getting contraception to people who want and need it should be the focus of climate change policy?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
@Yogaforlife: On your "don't feed starving people" bit... most of the births and stuff in areas where there are rampant pregnancies and AIDs are not because people are like "oh, I'm starving, I'll just have sex!" it's because of superstitions like "if you have sex with a virgin, you will be cured of AIDs" or laws that make rape acceptable, the type of places that make people argue for barbed female condoms. Sending condoms and contraception there won't help the problem, it needs a complete overhaul of education and in some places, reforms of cultural beliefs before contraception will help more than sending food.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
That's why I only want two kids, MAX. I'd have one, but as an only child, I don't want my kids to grow up with the stigma of being an only child (seriously, being prone to spoiling and raised to be socially awkward sucks, having two kids is me just making sure I'm not going to do either to them). So, no more than two. I don't want to continue to over-populate the planet, but replacing me and my husband won't do too much. And I'm way too much a mother in making to not have kids. I think we need a lot more education about contraception, and anyone who doesn't think we should seriously needs to watch the movie "Idiocracy". And at the first two anon comments: since when does family planning and contraception mean extinction? Or should everyone be like my grandma who had 6 kids, who then had 9 kids between them, who have since spawned 6 kids and will probably spawn at least 3 more?
dootsie dootsie 7 years
Um, killing everyone on the planet would be an incredible way to save the earth. We're the problem. We're a parasite, a virus that's spread too fast and too far, taking up too many resources. The problem is that the people who need to cap their births are the very same people who don't believe in global warming.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
If I decide not to have children, can I have the SUV?
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Ugh anon comments. "Rapid dilution of the gene pool". Seriously - if you're worried about too much genetic variation in the gene pool, maybe you need to look into inbreeding, but oh wait then we'd all have to suffer more ignorant anon comments. YES - birth control should be part of the solution to global environmental problems. We are becoming overpopulated - human beings have become the locusts of the world. Anon #2 said: "We are supposed to be good stewards of the planet, it is here to serve us, and because of that we have a responsibility towards it--and that includes being here." Are you f-ing kidding me? The planet is not here to serve us! How egocentric can you be? We do not have a responsibility to be present! I'm in pain that there are people out there who believe as you do - that the world is to here to serve us. The problem is that humans have grossly overpopulated the world and are living off of every square inch we can - we're in places and environments that we should not be. We destroy the land we live on. We live in too large of numbers on land that can't support us and what happens? We use up all the natural resources, pollute the earth, cause large scale eutrophication and desertification, so that we just move on to raping the next front. I don't support sending food to starving people - not unless it's because of a natural disaster such as the Indonesian Tsunami. Send condoms and birth control - if you can't feed yourself, why on earth are you having kids, and multiple kids at that. Don't just teach someone the basics to survive, teach them how to farm without ruining the soil and depleting their water sources. In this day and age, there is no need for people to have more than 1-2 children. People used to have lots of children because chances of surviving until 2 years of age were not great, and because everyone worked on the farm and all the help was needed. We don't live like that anymore - we don't all have to grow our own food and have children to work the farm, and our survival rate is amazing anymore. There's no need to have more than 2 children - one to replace each parent.
BeccaU BeccaU 7 years
In my humble opinion, we have too many people on the planet. Have one child to replace you and your significant other if you desperately want kids, or adopt. Why do people need to give birth to more than one?
janneth janneth 7 years
And outlaw SUVs, although I think they are goners, right?
janneth janneth 7 years
Q:Do you think getting contraception to people who want and need it should be the focus of climate change policy? A: Yes,yes,yes.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
family planning is socially and environmentally responsible. the people behind the study are note equating a human life to "excess" or "waste", but they want people to be aware of the pure basic consumption a human life requires.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 7 years
So true, Anonymous! Have you heard of the group 'Voluntary Human Extinction Movement'? Their motto is "May we live long and die out." Life has an intrinsic value, a value that is daily overlooked, neglected, and ignored. This report (and groups such as the above) obviously do not understand the beauty of human life.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
Yes! And people should stop harassing those who don't want children. They're doing the rest of us a favor!
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