Graham Young applies his own unique logic to the global warming conundrum and looks at what pharma can do to help. The solution? Contraception!
Let’s Save The Planet. Yes, let’s!
We in the pharma industry actually have the capability and the talent to do it too – we just haven’t seen it yet.
Dear old Mother Earth is starting to heat up; glaciers are melting; cute polar bears and penguins are in danger of drowning / overheating / whatever; whole tracts of land are about to be submerged under rising sea levels meaning that the remaining holiday destinations will become unbearably overcrowded and/or expensive. And the litany goes on.
Leaving aside the scientific arguments (is it man-made or is it one of those planetary fluctuations that Earth has been subject to with monotonous regularity up until about 118,000 years ago), Global Warming has become a groovy way for marketers to flog carbon-neutral air travel or for politicians to raise ‘green taxes’ (hah!). But, despite that, we are still stuck with the central issue. The planet is getting hotter.
The Important Global Authorities (led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have been banging on about anthropogenic greenhouse gases for the last ten to fifteen years. Everyone has been swallowing this unquestioningly, nodding gravely and promising they will buy a Prius (even though the bloody things don’t save a molecule of carbon getting into the atmosphere).
What nobody ever stands up and says is this: if the IPCC is right and we are all bloody awful people for belching our noxious shit into the atmosphere, then the best solution to our problems is for there to be fewer bloody awful people.
Yes, gentle reader, you! You are the cause of the pollution. But, no need to hang your head in shame, the solution lies with you as an individual and as a member of one of the most powerful industries in the world. And here’s how you can save the planet… Ready…?
Don’t have children.
And use your marketing muscle to persuade other people not to have children.
At this point it is customary for those who can see both sides of the argument to suck air in through their teeth and stammer some sort of counter-argument. But it’s a tough one to argue against because, (if what all the pundits are saying so vehemently is true) the source of the planet’s woes is us. And the fact that there are too many of us all belching noxious shit into the atmosphere.
Having children is a lifestyle choice like having a car or a 42-inch plasma telly or a skiing holiday. Nobody ever has kids because the kids want to be born; it’s a means of satisfying a type of Attention Deficit Disorder where you know that, by having the little brats, you are finally going to be the centre of someone’s undivided attention.
Unfortunately, having children means that you are, in effect, increasing your own personal carbon footprint by 100% every time you have one. Why? Because, you are bringing into the world a little consumer that will, one day, grow into a big consumer and have cars, tellies and skiing holidays of their own. The upside is that your carbon footprint is transferred to one child (one child only, mind) when you pop your clogs.
So, if you have three kids - in terms of the belching-noxious-shit audit – you are giving the planet one hell of a bitchslap. In fact, they should make you pay more tax for polluting the planet. That would put a curb on one’s over-developed maternal instincts in short order.
At this point, someone will likely be thinking China and their one child policy. That didn’t make much difference to the planet because there were 1.5 billion of them to start with and, at the time, they didn’t consume very much. Now there’s 1.4 billion of them and they’ve discovered cars. And tellies. And skiing holidays. Etc.
The unformed among you might even try to make the argument that socially-responsible birth control and early 20th Century eugenics programs are one and the same, however mine is not an argument to breed "the perfect human race" as was the aim of this barbaric practice, rather than to not breed more of us than our planet and resources can naturally support.
The Global Footprint Network, an independant thinktank already believe we are in overshoot - that is we are now past the point where the world population is consuming more natural resources than the planet can produce. According to their statement, we past this point on September 11th 2011, and we are currently at the 135% mark. In order to comfortably sustain our current population we would need between 1.3 and 1.5 earths, the study shows we are well on our way to requiring two earth to achieve this sustainability, and the time will come as soon as the middle of this century.
Ah yes but… Who’s going to pay for / look after the disproportionately high numbers of old people that will result from there being fewer kids?
Well paying for it is easy. Society won’t have to pay for the birthing, schooling or healthcare of the kids which make up roughly the same proportion of society as the elderly. Caring can be done by those people of working age who would otherwise get useless jobs at the Health and Safety Executive. Admittedly, it would mean fewer branches of Mothercare but – what the hell – I don’t like all those icky pastel colours anyway.
Ah, but where does the industry fit into all this? Simple. Every other bugger is making money from Being Green, Saving The Planet, Carbon Trading, etc. So can we. We make pills that stop people having other little people. We also have some considerable marketing muscle we can bring to bear that will make it cool, hip and trendy to Keep Taking The Tablets.
We even have the wherewithal to divert some of the profits we make from the pills to provide some of the pills for free to those teeming masses who cannot afford it for themselves (where population growth is a genuinely pressing issue – not just for the planet, but for the groaning, crumbling excuse for an infrastructure that some countries have to endure).
So, there you have it. We could be the saviours of the planet by pointing out the blindingly obvious and then doing something about it. It takes a lot of balls – which, come to think of it, is a worthy alternative use for them.
And before you consider the mote in thy brother’s eye: no I don’t have any. I do have a dog, but his carbon pawprint is pretty small.
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