Purpose of review
To highlight recent evidence that family planning
, readily accessible to all who seek it and exercised as a human right, can contribute to environmental sustainability
. As global concern increases about the health of our planet, better understanding of the role family planning
programs play in maintaining a sustainable environment could bolster public and policymaker support for access to family planning
A recent Worldwatch Institute review of scientific literature (FPESA) exploring this relationship covered two potential cause–effect pathways: one demographic, one personal. Although nonconfirmatory, a decade of reviewed studies overwhelmingly supported the hypothesis that family planning
benefits environmental sustainability
. A complementary review by the Evidence Project of population, health and environment projects over a similar time period strongly suggests that transdisciplinary efforts including family planning
can yield multiple benefits – health, empowerment, economic and environmental.
Cumulative research generally supports but cannot confirm the thesis that family planning
contributes to efforts to achieve environmental sustainability
. This does not equate to no relationship but rather a lack of adequate methodologies. For research on complex relationships like this, novel research designs may prove more effective.