Better health, better environment

Apr 28, 2018 in Activist Publications

It’s World Immunization Week until April 30, and that’s important to protecting our climate. Why even mention this in relation to climate? Here’s why.

In Paul Hawken’s book Drawdown, 200 scientists rank 80 solutions for climate restoration. In the top ranks are wind turbines, solar farms, reduced food waste, plantbased diet and different gases in fridges and air conditioners.

But the very first rank is occupied by the combination of educating girls and family planning. Thanks to these, the world population could be just (!) 9.7 billion in year 2050 instead of 10.7 billion, relieving some of the pressure on the environment.

Actually, the slowing of population growth started decades ago – and showed that family planning can be successful only after child mortality had receded. For example, since
1990, the number of child deaths per year dropped from 12 to six million. At least two million of the six million deaths averted were thanks to immunization.

It may seem counterintuitive, but better immunization and saving more children from disease, in conjunction with better birth control, actually slows population growth.
Consequently, the global average number of children per woman dropped to 2.6, approaching the replacement level of 2.1.

In a nutshell, immunization saves lives and, combined with girls’ education and family planning, it also stabilizes population and reduces stress on the environment. Immunization definitely should remain a focus in Canadian International Aid.


Publication: Winnipeg Free Press
Type: Letter to the editor
Author: Pamela Walden-Landry
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