Sunday, August 26, 2012

Donating to Reduce the Birth Rate

Now that I'm actually earning income again, I've decided to start donating much more to charities - both because it will reduce my tax burden, and because I feel like my money would be better spent elsewhere. I have no kids to support and no mortgages to pay and have no plans for such things in the near future, so I only really need enough money for SF housing (which is actually a fair bit), food, and travel.

So, I've started researching charities and causes. Recently, partially due to the influence of Isaac Asimov's essays, I've become very interested in the problem of lowering the global birth rate. We don't have enough resources to support the growing population of the world, and while of course we should work on ways to increase our resources, we should also think about decreasing the population growth rate. As I see it, there are a few ways of doing that:

  • Increasing the availability and contraception and family planning. For the women who don't want children, we need to make it easier for them to prevent it from happening.
  • Increasing the number of women in the workplace. For a long time in human history, the role of an adult woman was to bear children and feed them, and we haven't had time for other occupations. We needed that division to make sure that enough children would survive to continue on the human race. But now, we don't have that problem, and adult women should feel empowered to spend their time elsewhere. If they have an education and/or jobs skills training, then they should hopefully find a job opportunity awaits them. I'm not saying that no women should be mothers ever again - just that there may be some women that would happily spend more of their time in the workplace than in motherhood if they were given the chance - and we should make it possible for them to get that chance.

Given those thoughts, here are the charities I donated to:

  • Planned Parenthood San Francisco: They provide fantastic services and support, and I'm proud to say I'm both their patient and now a sponsor.
  • Bedsider: They are an online birth control support network, and they're going about it with a modern website and attitude.
  • Marie Stopes International: They're an international organization dedicated to family planning and reproductive healthcare. According to them, they prevented 4.5 million unwanted pregnancies in 2011.
  • Girls Inc: They're a US organization dedicated to helping girls to achieve and aspire.

The hard part about donating to charities is not knowing which of them will do the most with your dollar. There are sites like GiveWell and CharityNavigator, but they haven't reviewed all the charities out there. So, I'm distributing my donations in the hopes that I'll achieve my goal through at least one of them. Let me know if you have any suggestions for ways to maximize the impact of my donations in this area. Thanks!

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