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Face up to the severity of the climate crisis

Wednesday 07 August 2019 Opinion

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Our CEO, Simon Cooke, wrote a letter to the Guardian in response to John Vidal’s article about Prince Harry’s decision to limit his family size for climate change reasons. Read his letter below:


John Vidal hit the nail on the head by linking Meghan and Harry’s choice to limit their family size for the sake of the climate to the lack of access many women globally have to services that would enable them to make the same choice. Vidal highlighted that “many in areas of high growth want fewer children but cannot access contraception”, and as CEO of a global organisation providing women and girls with access to family planning, I agree. More than 214 million women and girls worldwide are unable to access contraception. Yet we know that when they have access to contraception and safe abortion, they often choose, like Meghan, to have smaller families.

Women are increasingly and disproportionately bearing the burden of the climate crisis. It often falls on women to care for growing families in worsening conditions. Droughts mean limited access to food and water. Rising sea levels lead to floods. Humans and animals are competing for dwindling resources, especially in countries that contribute least to global carbon emissions.

By 2050, populations in low and middle income countries are expected to more than double to 1.7 billion – and offering women real choice in contraception to empower them to determine their futures in the face of the climate crisis is something that can no longer be overlooked. Women want it, the world needs it, and governments must take action to increase access to family planning now.

Simon Cooke
CEO, Marie Stopes International



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