Milnthorpe zoo joins global campaign for better access to family planning

Jenny Bowyer meets the lemurs.
Jenny Bowyer meets the lemurs.

Milnthorpe’s Lakeland Wildlife Oasis has joined more than 150 other leading environmental and reproductive health organisations signing up to a first of its kind worldwide campaign.

The Population and Sustainability Network’s ‘Thriving Together’ initiative is a diverse global alliance, lobbying for improved access to family planning services critically important for the environment and biodiversity.

Increasing human pressures are among the many challenges facing planetary health. In addition, by harming ecosystems, people undermine food and water security and human health, and threaten habitats and species.

Ensuring family planning is available to all who seek it, is among the positive actions organisations must take to lessen these pressures.

The United Nations projects that without action, global population will rise from 7.7 billion today to an unsustainable 9.8 billion by 2050.

At a planetary tipping point, if physical, financial, educational, social and religious barriers to people using family planning services were removed and the average number of children per mother just 0.5 lower, this could be limited to 8.8 billion.

Jack Williams, manager of the Oasis, said: “Successful biodiversity conservation requires taking people, our health, and our interactions with the natural world into account, including the recognised human right that people should be able to decide for themselves whether, when, how often and with whom to bring children into the world.

“Family planning contributes to women’s empowerment, improves family and general health, advances education and life opportunities and, by slowing population growth, eases pressures on wildlife and ecosystems.

“Working together on strategic projects and policies, we can help human communities and their ecosystems thrive.”

Other health and environmental conservation organisations backing the Thriving Together campaign across the globe include Greenpeace, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. Collectively, the organisations work in more than 170 countries.

The Thriving Together campaign is spearheaded by the Margaret Pyke Trust, which has more than 50 years’ experience of family planning; the only member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with this expertise.

The campaign website www.thrivingtogether.global sets out arguments and papers supporting how and why action on family planning empowerment is crucial for the environment.