World Vasectomy Day: The Vasectomy Files 15

The Vasectomy Project is encouraging men to join forces and take responsibility for family planning.  This is an opportunity to bring people together to talk about our collective responsibility while offering men a concrete way to contribute towards a solution by having a vasectomy.

World Vasectomy Day is a chance for men to step up and do their part for family planning.

Over the years, I’ve made films about many tough issues that have taken me to a lot of interesting places. I’ve had some great adventures and told some good stories, but the best parts, always, are the people you meet. And I’m not talking about the life long friends I’ve made or those exceptional acts of courage and sacrifice that define heroism, but the tens of thousands of random encounters that occur daily everywhere and under every circumstance.

These simple moments, regardless of the context within which they can occur, reflect the best of what it means to be human. Each encounter affirms my belief that optimism, as well as cooperation and empathy, are core human qualities. It is this spirit that inspires me to make my films and now, to launch World Vasectomy Day.

What is WVD?

On October 18, 2013, men all over the world, convinced that their families are complete will dedicate their vasectomies to protecting the planet in what we hope will be the largest male focused family planning event in history.

Why WVD?

With a growing population on a planet of finite resources, infinite dreams and limited opportunities, the world seemingly teeters on the brink of disaster. We are facing the ultimate conundrum: humans are both the solution and the problem. Our only hope is to work together. WVD is a chance to jumpstart that conversation.

WVD is also a day of action. WVD is a chance for men to step up and do their part for family planning. Getting a vasectomy for those who have had all the children they want is a very real and effective way to contribute.

What will the impact be?

According to a study by Dr. Paul Murtaugh of Oregon State University, every child born in the US today adds 9,441 tonnes to each parent’s carbon footprint—28 times less than what a conscientious environmentalist could accomplish in a life time of reusing, recycling and reducing.

How did it come about?

I started out making a personal film to gain control over my own life and it evolved into a dream to bring people together for a conversation about our collective future. I was told that it’s dangerous to talk about population. I thought it was more dangerous to say nothing.

Where and what is happening?

We will bring together men and doctors all over the world to dedicate their vasectomies to the well-being of Planet Earth. Dr Doug Stein will lead our “vasectomy-athon” from Adelaide at the Royal Institution of Australia. Surrounding Doug as he performs vasectomies will be leading experts on population, including author Professor Paul Ehrlich, as well as leaders from varying fields, both those in favor of vasectomies as a contraceptive solution and those opposed. The entire event will be live-streamed and the film will be broadcast on and around World Vasectomy Day by our international broadcasting partners SBS (Australia), CBC (Canada), VPRO (The Netherlands) and DR (Denmark).

Answering the critics

We know that there are those who call a campaign about vasectomies a misguided effort that focuses on numbers rather than causes. Some believe even talking about population is dangerous, a slippery slope that ends up in a cesspool of hatred and racism. They say it puts the onus on the poor or disenfranchised when it’s the rich and powerful whose consumption habits are to blame. Many emphasize that the best way to reduce population is to focus on educating girls and providing better job opportunities for women. All these points are important points and all are well taken. On WVD every considered and respectful perspective is welcome.

Some say Dr. Doug Stein’s obsession to bring vasectomy services to the most impoverished on this planet is because he wants to get rid of them. I know Doug and this is not true. You can criticize Doug’s mission all you want, but the fact is, the 30,000 vasectomies he has done have helped reduce our carbon footprint by 300 million metric tons. It would take 50,000 men and women dedicating an entire lifetime of reducing, recycling and reusing to equal Doug’s contributions. Not bad. And by the way, he’s also made a lot of men very happy and plenty of women too. Doug is not a saint, but he’s a great vasectomist, a good man, a loving father and the reason behind the creation of World Vasectomy Day and for that I am deeply grateful.

For the record, I’m no saint either. In fact, this entire journey was not motivated by some grand plan to “save the planet.” I just wanted to change mine. I wanted to be a better person, a better man, a better boyfriend, a better son and a better father and I wanted more control over my life. I don’t pretend to have gotten there. I’ve got life times of work to make up for the mistakes I’ve made in this one. I am certainly not in in a position to proselytize or condemn others for their bad choices. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We can only learn from them and choose to do better.

World Vasectomy Day is another choice.

  • It’s the choice to not have more children than we consciously want.

  • It’s the choice to discuss difficult issues.

  • It’s the choice to share our good fortune with others less fortunate.

  • It’s the choice to sacrifice for the lives of generations not yet here.

  • It’s the choice to acknowledge the intrinsic value of all life forms not just humans.

  • It’s the choice for men to share the responsibility of family planning with women.

  • It’s the choice to have sex without the worry of unintended pregnancy.

On October 18, 2013, we unite to take on the hardest challenge we’ll ever face. Ourselves. There are no culprits on this day. No good guys and bad guys, no saints and sinners. Just human beings trying our best to do something for ourselves, our families and our home. On WVD, we take responsibility, not so much for what we’ve done wrong, but more importantly, we will celebrate what we have the power to do right.

Discussing fertility can be complicated. Not talking about it at all is dangerous. WVD is a planetary shout out and a global wake up call.  October, 18, 2013 is just the beginning. Join us to help make it happen.

We want you to join in a new conversation about population and consumption, by asking men to take a very personal action to change the world. For weekly updates and announcements, please subscribe to our Campaign News.

 

WVD

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About Jonathan Stack

Jonathan Stack is a two time Oscar nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning documentary filmmaker. While the stories he tells have been many of the major problems on the planet; including death row in Louisiana, child soldiers in Liberia and war zones everywhere, he now thinks he should be funnier. This is his first attempt. You can find him at http://thevasectomist.net, or on Twitter @jstack08.

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