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Could better family planning help slow the effects of climate change?

Posting in Education

Looking for new ways to improve your corporate social responsibility programs? An investment in women's education in emerging nations or regions could have a beneficial impact.

I thought hard about writing this particular blog entry, because it is certain to draw the ire of those in the general public who believe that any kind of family planning goes against nature and certain religious strictures.

But there is a very real link between climate change and the number of people on this planet, which is the view put forth by a newly published report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) called "The State of World Population 2009."

The thrust of the report is twofold:

  • First, that women in emerging nations bear the brunt of the negative effects of climate change, such as drought, fierce hurricanes or floods. That's because they rely mainly on agricultural activities to make their living, and because many live in regions susceptible to floods or rising seas and storms.
  • And, second, women who have access to education and more economic opportunities tend to have smaller families. This tends to have a beneficial impact on the climate, according to the report, as it contributes to slower growth in greenhouse gas emissions over the long term.

I am not an anthropologist, nor do I have an answer to the question posed in my headline. But as your business looks for additional ways in which to positively effect the environment, it seems logical that you research the role of women's education in the communities where your company could have an impact.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure