World Vasectomy Day 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.
According to Jonathan Stack, Kenny Bruno gives “a much more realistic and ultimately more accessible reason for supporting vasectomies than saving the planet.”
There’s no one I love or respect more than my best friend since 6th grade, Kenny Bruno. He’s the reason there’s a World Vasectomy Day, although if there’s any confusion about it, don’t blame him. He’s got infinitely better focus than I do and I think after reading today’s blog, you’ll agree, a much more realistic and ultimately more accessible reason for supporting vasectomies than saving the planet.
So here it is … a post in support of World Vasectomy Day by Kenny Bruno.
Long Live World Vasectomy Day!
Hm, let’s see. A couple days of discomfort versus a lifetime of better sex. Tough decision? Nope!
Fellow Straight Men: let’s get something obvious, important, and under-rated out of the way: Vasectomy is great for your sex life. There aren’t too many things more important than a) avoiding unwanted children, b) the ability to have sex spontaneously without worrying about those unwanted children, and c) keeping your partner(s) happy.
Other forms of birth control simply do not compare in terms of fun, health, comfort, and permanence.
If you’re thinking, this guy is really shallow, all he cares about is sex, OK, yes, I’m like other men in that I think about it somewhere between every seven seconds and 19 times per day.
But the benefits of vasectomy go beyond a better sex life. The aforementioned not having your entire life screwed up by a one night stand or a wife who forgets to take a pill is a biggie. Children are great — mine have been the highlight of my life. But your professional, financial and romantic life depend on controlling when, how many, and with whom. I’m not telling you how many to have, but once you’ve decided, this is a nearly infallible way to control that decision.
Now let’s talk about the planet and future generations for a moment. I’m sorry but there’s no honest way to do this without being alarming.Because of a combination of high population and high carbon energy systems (i.e. using coal and oil for electricity and transportation), modern society is raising the earth’s average temperature and the results have started to come in. More severe storms, droughts, sea level rise, spread of disease, disruption of agriculture, disappearance of species. It’s going to kill and displace millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions. (That’s not a form of population control anyone favors.) It’s all going to get worse, much much worse. How much worse will depend on how quickly we change course.
Broadly speaking there are three things we can do. One is adapt to the changes in climate. But since the changes won’t stop, that’s like mopping up the basement when the pipes are still leaking. You’ll never catch up.
The second thing is we can switch to lower carbon energy systems, phasing out fossil fuels while conserving as much forest as possible. The technologies are getting there, but they each have their own unintended consequences. Nukes bring their own risks, biofuels compete with food for arable land, etc.
The only alternative with no negative consequences, the only unmitigated gift we can give to future generations, is a lower human population. Birth control and family planning don’t guarantee that but they sure don’t hurt.
No matter how clever our technocratic fixes, no matter how energy efficient we become, a higher population makes it that much harder to avoid climate catastrophe. It’s simple math. So why are environmental groups terrified to talk about population? If you’re the Director of an environmental group, here are three headaches you don’t need:
- Activation of anti-abortion groups because you mentioned family planning
- Be accused of scapegoating poor people in the Third World
- Get lumped in with anti-immigration forces
Indira Gandhi once said, “Poverty is the worst polluter.” By that she meant that the poor don’t have the money to control pollution or clean it up, and eradicating poverty helps reduce pollution. But that was in 1972, before climate change was understood. It turns out that wealth is the worst polluter, as rich people emit far more climate changing greenhouse gases per capita than poor folks.
If you take that logic to its extreme, eradicating poverty would be bad for the planet and immigration from poor countries to rich countries would exacerbate the problem. Fortunately though, as income increases, family size tends to decrease, which partially offsets the carbon footprint of a family that is raising its standard of living. This isn’t a published scientific theory, but I suggest that a moderate middle class lifestyle is not only emotionally better for your kids, but sounder than either wealth or poverty from a planetary point of view.
Population is the ultimate “tragedy of the commons.” What’s good for the individual may not be good for humanity. Few individuals will make sacrifices for the greater good, especially when it comes to something as fundamental as family size. And no one wants some greenie in DC scolding parents for having too many children.
Anyway I think you can see how complicated it can get, politically, for environmental groups to weigh in on population.
Which brings me back to sex. (Hey, that took more than 7 seconds.) In the right circumstances, vasectomy is not a sacrifice. It’s a sex-enhancing, partner-pleasing, nearly infallible method of family planning that’s good for you, your partner, your family, the rest of the world’s human (and non-human) beings, and future generations. Can’t beat that.
And don’t forget, if you save some sperm for a rainy day by freezing it, you can even change your mind.
Written by guest Vasectomy Files blogger: Kenny Bruno
Kenny Bruno is Campaign Director at Corporate Ethics International and the US Coordinator for the No Tar Sands Oil Campaign. He has worked for over twenty years on the issues of toxic trade, oil, corporate accountability and environmental rights at Greenpeace, Environmental Health Fund, EarthRights International, CorpWatch, Oil Change and other groups. He is Co-Founder of two Schools for Human Rights and Environment, in Ecuador and Peru, and the Co-Author of two books, “Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism” and “EarthSummit.biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development.”
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