After decades of deliberation and consideration, I believed I might have discovered the solution to all of the problems that plague mankind. I was surprised to learn that the answer was quite obvious and the remedy well within our reach. Indeed, my proposal would put an end to the following problems within two decades. three at the most:
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And I suspect that this list is not complete. In fact the problems I've listed above are merely the symptoms of a single, much more pervasive problem. too many people on a planet with finite resources.
This New York Times article lays the problem out clearly
The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report..
The implicit, and possibly questionable, assumption behind these numbers is that food and water will be available for the billions yet unborn, and that potential catastrophes including climate change, wars or epidemics will not serve as a brake on population growth.
In search for resources some have proposed that we begin posthaste an exploration outside the planet. However, the time to expand into outer space has probably passed. It is very possible that that window of opportunity has closed forever. From now on, all of our energy and all of our time will be spent attempting to resolve the symptoms of overpopulation. Add the secondary effects- like trying to adjust to the warming climate- and your piggy bank is empty.
Meanwhile, we will be forced to re-enact the Easter Island scenario (writ large), which, as you might recall, did not have a happy ending. It is a bleak future that involves extreme social unrest, cruelty on an unimaginable scale, a complete breakdown of society and desperate cannibalism.
Science has proved itself to be a fickle ally. Advances in medicine, despite the best of intentions, have only succeeded in adding more members of our species and have actually lengthened the human life span.
Other institutions have only contributed to the problem. Religions in their quest for new recruits have done their bit to add a few hundred millions more and the myopic ego-driven nature of humankind has done the rest. Social programs like, education on birth management, has had a very limited effect of stabilizing the numbers.
So, a crash is coming; it is inevitable, of course. The longer the delay in the crash, the more damage will be done to the planet and all other life on it. But it needn't be all doom and gloom. I come, like Prometheus with a lighter, with a practical solution. (Cue for Fanfare)
Cutting the Gordian Knot
Given the proper funding, any forward-thinking humanitarian with adequate lab facilities should,. without much fuss, be able to whip up the kind of microbe I have in mind; a non-lethal but contagious virus, similar to a cold virus. It would have to pass easily from subject to subject- one sneeze on the back of your neck would be sufficient- and have a very short incubation period. There's really no time to lose.
Now, I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not proposing extermination. Not a single person need die at all from the ensuing infection. Heavens, no. Think of the mess! Don't misunderstand, I am a people person.
So, after the virus is out and about, the resulting infection would simply destroy the cells that produce semen and the sperm itself. The virus would be specific to humans and the sterilizing effect would be permanent. That's it. It's not science fiction. It's do-able.
The rest of the scenario- dissemination, (or should I say, de-semen nation?) - I leave to your imagination. Suffice to say, it would be all to easy and epidemiologists are worried about some really deadly virus would be spread naturally by exactly the same means. (Ask any housewife. That's the problem with too many people in a confined space. It's impossible to keep things clean and tidy and germ-free.)
A sniffle, a cough and bit of post-nasal drip followed by a couple of days of well-earned bed-rest and Bob's your uncle. Although you weren't aware of the fact, you, dear sir, have just done your part to save the planet.
Welcome to My World
I know what naysayers will say. Nay! It's so drastic, they'd moan. Or, they'd say, it'll spell the end of our species. But, of course, upon sober reflection, anybody can clearly see that we can't continue on the path that we are currently on without having precisely that result. Besides, desperate times call for desperate measures.
I say, fiddle-dee dee to all that end of the world talk. There are plenty of sperm banks with more than enough of that stuff to ration out to deserving couples. At least, enough to maintain the species indefinitely. A little of it goes a long way, they tell me. Sperm lotteries? No, I think not. It would probably be more like American Idol but, instead of a record contract, the prize would be a 2ml. of high quality semen.
I imagine that society, as we know it, will change a great deal once the effects of my plan become manifest. Instead of having a surplus of children, left to the own devices, every neighborhood would have but a single child. A community child, as it were. (It takes a village, after all.)
Every child born into my world would be treated as a prize, a precious commodity. People would view a child as the key to the survival of our species and not merely a means of passing one's genetic material around. Every child would be given respect and not merely the unfortunate result of careless sex, or a new addition to a fast-growing religion, a burden to familial resources, a cute doll for adults to dress up, or a tax break, or a justification, or a means to an end, or a ego satisfying copy of one of the parents.
In short, we would actually value our children.
Meanwhile, until scientists come up with a vaccine- which they doubtless will- the planet will have a chance to recover from the onslaught of humankind. The rain forests will begin to expand. less farmland will be needed for food. We are likely to be surprised how quickly Nature reclaims things. As the death rate progresses normally, things will just get better and better.
Best of all, it will not be a vision of the tragic apocalypse or Mad Max. We shall not have lost anything more than the surplus. The world that I propose would be viable, but, of course, it would require some adaptability. Production levels would fall with fewer workers but they could easily be supplemented by robotic equipment.
I suppose the entire project would have to be covert because people tend to react rather badly when you take away the control they've used so irresponsibly. It's a waste of time trying to tell them that you are really doing it for all the right reasons. They are not listening and will continue to ignore the obvious problem. Nevertheless, most of them would be upset if they learned the details, despite the fact it would ensure that life on the planet, including human, would survive.
Timing was never my strong point and this case is no exception. Apparently, the solution for the problem of overpopulation has already been found. According to former civil engineer-turned Christian broadcaster Harold Camping, this coming Saturday, May 21, 2011, the world shall end. God has dictated it.
Camping has taken the Scripture and added up the numbers, checked the signs and, according to his research, it's really going to happen this time. (He was mistaken the last time when he said it was Sept. 6, 1994. Whoops.)
So I suppose the sperm-eating virus is a no-go for launch. Needless to say, I am miffed because I have spent a lot of time on this problem- not to mention, I just extended my visa for five more years. All for naught, as it appears.
Also, I was planning on heading over to the beach on Sunday.. if it wasn't too crowded.