The astonishing climate effect of empowering girls and women

Plant-based food, wind turbines and electric cars are often in focus during discussions on climate solutions. So maybe it’s time to highlight an even more important factor: Health and education.

”We will not solve the climate crisis unless women and girls world-wide are empowered and have equal rights and opportunities”, says Crystal Chissell, vice president of operations and engagement at Project Drawdown.

Crystal Chissell poweful keynote during Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, April 22 2020.

April 22 marked the 50 years anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate this event the social network We Don’t Have Time teamed up with Earth Day Network to host a record-breaking six-day climate broadcast called Earth Day Week.

The main theme for the three hour birthday broadcast was ”Big ideas and education”, which made American Crystal Chissell at the non-profit organization Project Drawdown well suited for delivering the key-note speech.

Drawdown, in this context, is the point where levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to decline. To get to that point, research has shown that health and education is the second most impactful solution, after reducing food waste.

Project Drawdown has divided this solution into two areas. The first is Reproductive health care and family planning. The second is Educating girls.

”Each of these solutions is relevant to reaching drawdown, because each has an effect on population growth. And population growth is a key driver of the demand for and consumption of food, transportation, electricity, building space and goods, each of which has associated emissions that drive climate change”, Crystal Chissell said during her online presentation from San Francisco.

Family planning is of course much more than just a climate issue. It is about preventing deaths of women and children and allowing women to pursue economic opportunities and providing opportunities for education.

Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington DC, has calculated that the difference between a woman with no years of schooling and twelve years of schooling is four to five children.

”Educating girls also enables enormous benefits to humanity. It prepares them to be resilient in the aftermath of climate related disasters. It prepares girls to be leaders in climate action, and very importantly, it would tap innovation that would otherwise be left unrealized”, Crystal Chissell said.

But how can the climate impact of family planning and the education of girls be quantified? The method used by Project Drawdown is to project how much energy, building space, food, waste and transportation will be consumed by humans in a world where there is no increased investment in family planning versus a world where there is increased adoption of family planning. The difference between the two is estimated to be around one billion people.

”In a scenario where there is investment in family planning and we limit population growth to the UN median population projection, our analyses shows that we can avoid up to 85 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases between now and 2050”, says Crystal Chissell.

”Climate action must solve for more problems than atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Solving for human rights, health, wellbeing and prosperity for all worldwide is both necessary and the most effective path forward.”

Written by Markus Lutteman

About Crystal Chissell and Project Drawdown

Connect to and read more about Crystal and Project Drawdown on Medium Project Drawdown Admin, on their other social media outlets and and read more at Follow @CrystalChissell and Project Drawdown @ProjectDrawdown on Twitter.

Crystal Chissell

About Earth Day Week, presented by We Don’t Have Time

  • The world’s largest free and public online climate conference
  • Participants from 140+ countries
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Join us on our app and share your specific actions or support others combating climate change — NOW!

Earth Day Week was organized by the world’s largest social network for climate action, ‘We Don’t Have Time’ in collaboration with lead partners Exponential Roadmap and Earth Day Network, was streamed in the We Don’t Have Time app, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on YouTube.

The live broadcast from Stockholm, Sweden and Washington D.C, USA also marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020. The six-day program included key representatives from businesses, the United Nations, governments, academia, and scientific think-tanks, entrepreneurs, social media platforms, artists, campaigners, and civil society.

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We Don't Have Time

We Don’t Have Time is the worlds largest social network for climate action

We Don't Have Time

We Don’t Have Time is a social network for everyone who wants to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis. The power of many enables us to influence businesses, politicians and world leaders. But We Don’t Have Time to wait.

We Don’t Have Time

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We Don’t Have Time is a social network for climate action. Together we are the solution to the climate crisis.

We Don't Have Time

We Don’t Have Time is a social network for everyone who wants to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis. The power of many enables us to influence businesses, politicians and world leaders. But We Don’t Have Time to wait.

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