October 3, 2019




Your Best Resource for

Population and Sustainability News.

Greetings Friend,


This week, the echoes of Greta Thunberg reverberated through the population and sustainability news cycle. For example, "Bad ancestors: does the climate crisis violate the rights of those yet to be born?" keys off Thunberg's activism. I am happy to point out a blog entry written by PMC's Director of Marketing and Communications, Missie Thurston, which also delves into the spaces Thunberg has opened up in global discourse. Finally, for those with more iron stomachs, you might be interested in the collapsitarian comments found within "Greta Thunberg Speaks the Horrific Truth of Humanity’s Fate."


This week's featured article is a concise and much-needed effort, authored by Population Institute's Bridget Kelly. As public consciousness seems to have finally reached a saturation point -- not only accepting human-induced global warming is upon us, but also getting afraid and angry about it -- we need voices that can both strongly acknowledge the imperative of immediate emission reductions and also advocate for longer-term population common sense. Ms. Kelly does well in this regard, and managed to get published by Thomson Reuters Foundation as well.


Finally, some of you may wish to know to that Fred Sai has passed away at age 95. Fred was co-founder of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, and was president of the IPPF from 1989 to 1995. He also chaired the main committees of the 1984 International Population Conference in Mexico City and of the ICPD in Cairo in 1994.


Thank you,

Joe Bish

Director of Issue Advocacy

Environment icon photography
Begin by thinking about what makes politicians and corporations uncomfortable. The imminent collapse of humanity and biological diversity is not one of those things.
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Women in Northern Nigeria don't have a say in child spacing. They need a signed letter from their husband to get a consultation on family planning at the hospital.

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Almost 40% of 2017 abortions in the U.S. were by pill rather than surgical procedure.

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Listeners to PMC's hit show in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pambazuko, were 1.8 times more likely to say that their ideal family size is three children or fewer compared to non-listeners. 

featured article



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for “ambitious and effective adaption for sustainable development” in its new report on the inevitable changes to the oceans and terrestrial water systems and the risks of delayed action. In celebrating World Contraception Day on September 26, it’s important to understand how the two issues are profoundly related. For those living in places severely affected by climate change, family planning is an indispensable climate adaptation tool.

Access to contraception can space or limit unintended pregnancies, helping food-insecure communities adapt to the challenges posed by climate change and making families heathier and more resilient in times of crisis. While policymakers talk of infrastructure and energy-related solutions, climate change experts point to family planning and women’s empowerment as smart investments that benefit both the environment and society.

Various assessments indicate that developing countries suffer disproportionately from climate change, even though they contribute very little to the greenhouse gases responsible for the crisis. In many of these places, it will soon be a matter of economic and human survival as well as climate justice. For some, it already is. In Bangladesh, rising seas and intensifying storms are rapidly diminishing the viability and productivity of once fertile farms. In Uganda, record high temperatures are destroying the livelihoods of coffee farmers. In the western highlands of Guatemala, severe droughts are devastating crops and forcing families to migrate.

Many developing countries identify population growth as a challenge multiplier when it comes to climate change. Access to family planning reduces maternal and child mortality and produces better health outcomes, but it also strengthens climate change-affect communities’ ability to adapt. With fewer unintended pregnancies, slower population growth reduces pressure on climate-sensitive resources. Family planning is so crucial to climate adaptation that a group of 200 scientists and researchers ranked access to modern contraception 7th out of the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.

There are over 89 million unplanned pregnancies annually worldwide as 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. If family planning were widely accessible and barriers to contraception were removed, unintended pregnancies, unplanned births, and abortions would decline substantially.

Family planning is a powerful tool used to enhance bodily autonomy and increase women’s economic futures. By definition, it is non-coercive, voluntary, and comprehensive and should not be confused with population control measures, which are coercive and put the onus on women while violating human rights.

Family planning contributes significantly to healthier families, healthier communities, and a healthier planet. Though it is no substitute for sustained reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it can make a vital difference to human wellbeing and the future of the planet.

Listeners to PMC's Rwandan drama, Impano n’Impamba, were 4.2 times more likely than non-listeners to report discussing family planning with their spouse three or more times in recent months. 




Our Mission: To use entertainment-education and mass media to promote social and cultural change by addressing the interconnected issues of the full rights of women and girls, population, and the environment. Our goals are to empower people to live healthier and more prosperous lives and to stabilize global population at a level at which people can live sustainably with the world’s renewable resources.
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