Our 2015 holiday appeal is for PopOffsets, which is the world’s only scheme involving the offsetting of carbon emissions and reduction of environmental degradation by increasing the provision of family planning services.
We are seeking to raise funds for a number of projects, but at the top of our list is our patron Jane Goodall’s famous ongoing study of chimpanzees and the associated conservation work being done in and around Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
In 1986, while flying over the area surrounding Gombe, Jane noticed that the forests had been devastated as a result of increasing populations in neighbouring villages. The people needed to clear the land of trees to grow food and obtain materials for housing. Thus the TACARE or “Take Care” Project was started and people began working with members of local communities to determine what was most needed: clean water, latrines, primary health care and education — especially for girls.
The TACARE Project has long involved the provision of family planning services along with primary and women’s health care. As a result, birth rates have decreased, people have become healthier and the chimpanzees have been conserved. Jane thus was a pioneer in not only the study of our “closest cousins”, but the launching of what we now call population, health and environment (PHE) projects.
Through PopOffsets, we have provided funding for PHE projects undertaken in Madagascar and Ethiopia. We also have provided funding for projects conducted elsewhere in Africa and in the United States, the United Kingdom and Latin America.
Since more people create more emissions than fewer people, stable or decreasing populations are essential for a sustainable world. Reducing future populations brings additional benefits — it helps to improve food and water security; conserve soil fertility and biodiversity; prevent civil conflict and mass migration; improve women’s rights and health; and reduce unemployment and poverty. Thus our appeal is about the broad personal, social and environmental benefits of helping people to avoid unwanted pregnancies.