Friday, February 26, 2010

So What’s Up With Condoms and Endangered Species?

By Linda Helm
In so many words, that was my first question when I read an email from the Center for Biological Diversity asking me if I wanted to volunteer to distribute endangered species condoms starting on Valentine’s Day. Annnnd of course my second question was “Why would endangered species need condoms?” Ba dum dum …. It seems counter intuitive on first glance, doesn’t it?

So here’s the scoop – the goal of the condom campaign is to highlight the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the decline and extinction of many other species.

5 reasons I chose to “spread the love” for other species by handing out condoms to my fellow homo sapiens:

1. Most biologists agree that we have entered the sixth mass extinction event in the planet’s history and this time the cause is not a geologic or cosmic event, but human overpopulation. The earth’s extinction rate is now around 1000 times the normal background rate.

2. All of the key factors that threaten the viability and longevity of fragile species are driven by the pressure of 6.8 billion humans on the planet:
a. Destruction of habitat due to urban and industrial development
b. Competition for water and other resources
c. Environmental contamination on land, in the sea and in our air.

3. Global population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 but without efforts to make birth control widely available, it could reach as high as 15 billion – far beyond the earth’s carrying capacity.
4. In studying the interrelation between climate change and overpopulation, Oregon State University researchers recently developed a measure of environmental impact they call “carbon legacy”. This refers to the amount of carbon emissions that would be produced by a child over the course of it’s lifetime as well as the descendants of that child over succeeding generations. The carbon legacy of a child born in the US is 168 times that of a child born in Bangladesh.

5. The London School of Economics estimates that investing in making birth control available to all people of the world who want it is nearly 5 times as cost effective as controlling greenhouse gasses through technology.

Overpopulation is an issue that transcends borders, just like many of our other environmental concerns today. The problem does not lie just in the US, China, India or any of the struggling 3rd world countries – it belongs to all of us - as do the solutions.

So …. Who wants some endangered species condoms?
I only have 3 boxes left to give away!
Email me at


Kate said...

AWESOME IDEA!!! GOOD JOB! I say this all the time, with overpopulation, greed and consumption and a throwaway mentality, the earth will shake us off like fleas when it's rash gets way too itchy! Have a great day! (+:

YellowBird Studio said...

Great job, Linda!