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The Single Most Important Environmental Innovation

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Any of you who read EcoGeek regularly know that we don't usually do this. Our articles generally focus on new technologies that will make human existence more stable by lessening our impact on our environment. But sometimes it is difficult to keep things in perspective. Can technology truly save mankind? Are there inventions in our past that have, without a doubt, prevented ecological catastrophes of meteoric proportions?
 
Yes, yes there have. Several, by my count. But one outweighs them all: The latex condom, or more broadly, modern birth control, including the condom's younger sister, the pill.

The source of human-induced ecological crises is not inherent evil or callousness. We don't destroy the www.rickgenest.com environment because it's fun. In fact, none of us, individually, are causing very much harm. I could drive a 747 to work every day for the rest of my life and viagra cheap canada not measurably impact the environment. The problem isn't even that we all drive cars and eat too much MacDonald's. The problem is that there are over six billion of us included in 'all'.

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The problem of population was first really explored by Thomas Malthus in a paper published in 1798. His idea was that, unfortunately, populations increase exponentially until all available resources are used up. Then competition and starvation halts the growth of the population. This, Malthus predicted, would happen to the population of humans alarmingly soon.

What he didn't count on was our unique ability to create more resources from the land. We could rip up more, create machines, burn stored carbon, pave the viagra sale buy world, manufacture powerful chemicals and otherwise subdue and control the Earth. We did it all because, by the very nature of life, we hate to see our children die, and we can't stop, y'know... makin' babies. That is the heart of our ecological crisis, and, without effective means of controlling Malthusian population dynamics, the Earth was screwed.

When effective, simple and reliable birth control was invented, first in the form of the latex condom, and then through various hormonal contraceptives, our species was given the ability to control this vicious system. For the first time in the HISTORY OF LIFE on this planet, a species is choosing not to use up every available resource and, instead, control it's own population without the cheap cialis order online we recommend canada viagra prescription looming prospect of starvation.

Condoms aren't solar powered or reusable or even recyclable, but they've made the environmental revolution possible. As simple birth control continues its spread across the globe, it leaves behind happier healthier societies with significantly less impact on the planet. That is the power of true innovation.
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This post is highly irrelevant...
written by GTW, November 13, 2006
... why do geeks have to know about birth control? They don't get laid! :D Well, at least according to teen movies in the 80s and 90s! I shouldn't forget the "eco" bit and its connection with hippies! j/k

On a serious note, I think the invention of penicillin deserves similar praise.
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In response to GTW
written by Poop Face, November 15, 2006
why would penicillin recieve praise? That helps create a population problem...
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Keep. It. In. Your. Pants.
written by Lezbro, November 15, 2006
Or put a raincoat on your slimjim.

Seriously. This ain't rocket science. You can raise your precious brood to be as earth-friendly as you like, but the fact remains that each one of your first world babies will do the www.chopperssportsgrill.com equivalent damage of 100 third worlders.

Maybe one.

Two is indulgence.

Three or more and viagra order canada you're 100% pretender.

Nobody wants to be the bearer of harsh tidings, but we're past the tipping point. Hemp sneakers and fair trade lattes aren't going to cover it.
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Very well written article
written by HeadJam, November 15, 2006
However, you have failed to account for a few glaring flaws. The first one being the Catholic church. The church does not accept contraception at all. While reasonable adults with their eye on their budgets and responsibility will choose to not have more kids, the average christian fundamentalist has way more than the average 2.3 kids (or whatever it is these days). The Christian church and organizations that claim to help starving kids in africa don't want to stop overbreeding, they just wanna take your money so they can give them bibles once they pop out of the womb.

Scientific ideals might have changed since the invention of the condom and western society has embraced it. As a result, the western population can sustain itself without starvation for the most part. Africa, on the other hand, continues to be a wildly unclean breeding ground where children are born with STDs. African men cling to ideas that by mutilating female genitalia, they will be able to stop pregnancy. Others believe that by putting sand in a woman's vagina, the sand will "dry up the aids" and they won't get it. Sadly, all it does is rub the i recommend online cheap viagra skin raw and make it bleed. You can see where I'm going with this.

I will agree that the condom is the greatest product for controlling human population, but the greatest tool is the tool of learning. Instead of letting these christian fundamentalists run rampant in Africa spreading lies about biology, we should be getting people who don't get all their facts from a repeatedly mistranslated instruction manual for controlling people.
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To HeadJam
written by t00w, November 15, 2006
apparantly uour not to caught up with the doings of the pope, a couple months ago he endorsed to use of condom in order to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa...of course that means the either this pope or a previous one is wrong, and the pope is infallable much like god, so god could be wrong, so could the catholic religion?

but getting back on track practicing Birth Control is the ONLY way to save us. The problem is even stupid people can reproduce, and they seem to enjoy doing it a lot....
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t00w:
written by HeadJam, November 16, 2006
Sadly, I can't forgive the catholic church for anything no matter what the www.chopperssportsgrill.com pope says or decided to echo 2 months ago.

The christians with the largest fist in Africa are the evangelics from the USA with their missionaries. They don't allow birth control. Simple.

You claim the condom is a wonderful innovation because it stops overpopulation. By those arguments, a virus that killed enough humans would be a solution. Try wrapping your mind around that one.

The condom is only effective if one chooses to use it. Since the infant mortality rates are so high in Africa, man's survival instincts tells him to make many children so that maybe one will survive to be old enough to have children. It's base instinct working. You can't give someone a condom to use when it goes against their instinct.

On another side of the roundtable, you've got people in China who kill female babies because they're not warriors. How is the condom supposed to help overpopulation in China?

Ergo, the condom isn't the best invention for humanity, but merely the best invention of western culture. Birth control is NOT the only way to save humanity. The condom is just a means to an end. Educating the people so that they CHOOSE to practice birth control is a far better ideal to pursue.
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HeadJam
written by t00w, November 16, 2006
Actually yes, a virus to wipe out a lot of the human race would be helpfull and it doesn't bother me in the least bit to say that. Neither would saying another world war is bad for humans because(if the earth doesn't die in the process) than the population will decrease

There should just be a law saying stupid people can't reproduce anyway, would make everything wonderful...
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t00w:
written by HeadJam, November 16, 2006
Haha now we're talking. Ship all the order usa viagra online nations who wanna kill each other to Antarctica and generic viagra from india give them all swords. If anything, it'll give the penguins something to watch. Also, when it's over, the ice will be a pretty red colour for a while
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Condoms and Viruses
written by Hank, November 16, 2006
Condoms and viruses are different in very important ways: Most importantly one chooses to use one, and not the other. Second, one increases suffering while the other decreases it.

It's not a good analogy, no one likes it when people die, but smart people like it when people aren't born. Same goes, of course, for wars.

Most Chinese, by the way, use lots and lots and lots of birth control.

And, as to your last point, it would be difficult to educate people in the use of birth control if it didn't exist, hence the importance of the innovation.
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Headjam
written by t00w, November 17, 2006
Of course! than the oceans can run red with the blood of the uninformed!
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Nurse
written by Tana, November 18, 2006
What it all boils down to is that we need a combination of these things-primarily in the US where people are selfish and stupid, for the majority. I have 6 children and we live in an extremely eco friendly home and lifestyle as much as we can. We chose to have these children and not by any religious belief because we aren't religious. I am school nurse and I see lots of uneducated teens having babies and www.privateeryachts.com using up and wasting our resources. Why? Because no one taught them not to. We teach only abstinence in my district, and in alot of them-not birth control use. It is obvious by teen pregnancy stats that abstinence teaching doesn't work. Missionaries from the US go to everwhere in the world, polluting it, spreading disease and their stupid ideals that birth control is bad. And even the president of this country doesn't think ecofriendly ideas are a good thing. And the majority in this country (selfish, money hungry republicans) don't care because they agree. Change all that and we might see a small difference. I know I risk any of my children not growing up with my ideals and morals and sense of not leaving a mess behind, but most likely, since I have been teaching-and more importantly, living-these things all their lives, they are more likely to follow my example than not. And when they grow up and invent ecofriendly products and bring good change to the world, I will not be ashamed that I chose to have 6 kids.
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Did you adopt any of those 6?
written by Consumer, November 21, 2006
I'm sure having 6 kids is a handful, but I can't see justifying that unless most of them are adopted. Its great that you teach them good eco friendly ideals, but the world doesn't need 6 more kids when you can take 6 existing kids out of an environment where they wouldn't have gotten the viagra soft tabs overnight delivery education that I'm sure your kids will have.
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adoption is great and 50 mg viagra complicated
written by Tana, December 03, 2006
Actually, 2 of my children are adopted, and when all of my children are older, I plan to adopt more-some with special needs.
I've also had 2 abortions in my life because my diaphragm failed, so I am not afraid to control population when I feel I cannot adequately care for children. It sounds like you have never adopted, though, since obviously you don't realize the huge obstacles in the way to adopt children in this country. Were we to not push Clomid (notice I didn't have all my children at one time) and made adoption easier and less expensive, there might not be so many unwanted children in this country. As I said before, it all boils down to America being a country overrun with self centered, ignorant, eco-selfish people who care not for the world beyond the end of their nose or their life. Education about so many things is the key to our success in not killing our own species because the earth won't be destroyed by us-WE will be destroyed by us.
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Condoms
written by Mom, December 03, 2006
I wish your father's had used condoms during the intercourse that caused each of you to be conceived. Especially the A$$ who said it would be good for a virus to kill a huge amount of people. You guys need to get a clue. Over population isn't the issue. Open your minds up and see if your beliefs stand up to educated argument.
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birds
written by The Bank Blog, February 27, 2007
what about the birds and other wildlife choking on used condoms and condom wrappers?! those should be biodegradable! lol
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Me, as woman
written by Paola, June 08, 2007
:)I really enjoyed this article. I think with new technology applied to create contraceptives, at least it's gonna be a good way for bith control, instead of wars and abortions. ;)That's good, hence women can enjoy life and has lots of opportunities for studies and wishes in our lives; furthermore, if we use condom we can prevent many diseases such as:AID
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Remember Zero Population Growth?
written by Jan, June 10, 2007
Back when I was growing up, it was a happening movement, strong as women's liberation. I mourn the levitra generic brand demise of both. I chose to bear one child, 15, although she does get lonely; all her friends have siblings. I worry for her generation, seeing gov't. corruption as common here in Amerika. Our young people see how we've invaded a soveriegn nation for its oil, massive corruption among our heads of government, growing poverty and lack of medical care for what little middle class we have left, and no one paying attention to Al Gore, whom I believe is our best chance to save the world and viagra cheapest our country... if only he will run for president, and the voting won't be rigged again by the powers that be.
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reply
written by california drug treatment center, October 04, 2007
What's this some kind of history lesson?
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...
written by JMC, November 12, 2007
SORRY...SOAP IS THE BEST INVENTION OF ALL. IT HAS PREVENTED MORE DESEASE AND SAVED MORE LIVES THAN ANY OTHER INVENTION KNOWN TO MAN.
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Yeah, BUT...
written by Ashely, March 08, 2008
Yeah, there is a good point that too many people damage the environment, but there is one thing that isn't mentioned here and that is the environmental affects of birth control, especially the pill. Studies have shown that excess synthetic hormones from these pills are being pumped into our water systems through sewage outflow and that it is changing the sex of fish stocks, getting into ground water and thus into other plants and animals. There is specific research on the effects it has on fish and marine life, including metabolic change and DNA breakage.
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Environmental Effects of Birth Control W
written by Mary, March 11, 2008
To the last post...it seems that the negative environmental effects of birth control will solve the population problem. Studies show that the excess synthetic hormones that are leached into the environment through the generic cialis 50mg urine of the millions of women on the pill causes the feminization of the males of the species and, as a result, decreased fertility. Problem solved. 1. Overuse environmentally unsafe birth control. 2. Cause low fertility in males. 3. Tada! Lower birth rate. Although one must hope that we don't entirely eradicate male fertility...unlikely...but even if we do...what's wrong with that?
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Funny
written by Technology Transfer Company, March 19, 2008
As funny as this article may sound, without the condom, we would have had today a great problem: more people on the planet and next day viagra no resources to match their needs. Our planet has 6.5 billion human souls at this time and growing at a high rate. What will we do in the future? Space... the last frontier... to go where no man has gone before...
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...
written by Ada, May 09, 2008
What really enjoy about Trojan condoms is that... they really have the funniest commercials I’ve ever seen. They always cheer me up! :D
_____________________________________________
Ada Drug Rehab Program
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Drug Rehab Program
written by Drug Rehabs, May 22, 2008
Government organizations have started many drug rehabilitation centers for rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addict patients. These centers provide many facilities at an affordable price. But the people who are poor, there is free treatment facility also.
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W has it licked
written by MarkusWolf, June 06, 2008
Haven't you folks been paying attention? GW Bush is keenly aware of the urgent populashun situation. It's not a "problem." All we gotta do is spend a few trillion Nuevo Euro Dollars (the galactic world currency after the US dollar becomes worthless) and then send some spacecraft to Mars. Then we gotta fInd where the oil is there on that savage red planet, set up a few missile bases and couple Wal-Marts. Once that basic infrastructure is in place, The Market will see to it that populashun will migrate and colonize Mars to exploit it as God almighty intended.
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the cost of condom or cost of life?
written by Aphorism, June 26, 2008
I wonder, what does the manufacturing of condoms cost the www.worcestercountybar.org environment? Is abstinence for environmental reasons truly impossible?
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Well Done!
written by Doyle, November 02, 2008
Overpopulation is the engine that is driving the global crisis. Period. But we are not going to do anything about it, but not to worry. The globe will take care of itself. Expect a 2-3 billion population die-off in the near future (10-20 years). My candidate is something (bacteria, virus) that melts out of the ice that is 10,000 years old (or older) that we once had immunity to but have lost over the ages. Migratory waterfowl peck at everything.

Meanwhile we do what we can. Check out my Candle Powered Space Heater at http://heatstick.com/
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wholesale jewelry
written by wholesale jewelry, March 05, 2009
handmade jewelry
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Enlightening
written by rylin, April 05, 2009
well condoms have officially become the topic of my environmental paper. thanksss.
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...
written by jayne_d0, April 18, 2009
Interesting article on how the hormones flushed into the water supply from birth control are *harming* the environment.

http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/press/2003/2003-0627-KR-estrogenizedfish.htm

And for the person who commented on the Catholic Church, go study what the Church teaches before commenting on it. There is a lot behind the contraception stance by the Church. When you make comments like the one you made, you sound, well, dumb. Sorry, you are a grown up and are able to go find out the perspective from the side you are taking issue with--rather than spewing your own uninformed lies.

Fact: Men aren't going to bother putting on a condom before raping a woman. I heard on NPR from a woman who had gone to Africa to help the poor (on NPR's "Fresh Air") how the culture in the part she was in was very sexual.

Men raped children and women as a part of their religion (to gain their young spirit, or something like that).

For this area and these people the answer would not be contraception or condoms (do you really think the fact that the criminal raping you wore a condom makes a difference in how you have been violated??? You are still traumatized). That's not the point, anyway, the point is that in cases like that hearts need to be reached as well as minds. Morality and education are key. And I don't care how much of a relativist one is, rape is wrong.
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eco-wackos
written by Cosmic Condor, April 21, 2009
So how screwy do these eco-wackos have to get to prove their out of their minds or has their diets of granola bars,filtred tap water and grass have turned their brains to leaf mold
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...
written by club penguin, June 03, 2009
GW Bush is keenly aware of the urgent populashun situation. It's not a "problem." All we gotta do is spend a few trillion Nuevo Euro Dollars and generic viagra with international shipping then send some spacecraft to Mars.
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Lol
written by Jason, January 20, 2010
the condom's younger sister, the pill.
lol, you are really good...
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...
written by Peterr, August 18, 2010
Thanks for that insight, Dr. Science. I feel much better about this whole overpopulation thing now.
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Nice
written by stretch mark removal, November 26, 2010
Nice condom you have here. Trojan. A war horse. The myth. The legend.
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...
written by game copy wizard, April 01, 2011
I dont think that the birth control would decrease considerably the problems caused by climate change. The Earth provides us endless resources, but our means are destructive when using them.

It would be interesting to discuss the use and effects of different contraception methods in various societies, but that requires another thread

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