I saw this headline from Yahoo "Birth control could help combat climate change." (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090918/ap_on_he_me/eu_med_condoms_climate_change)
The logic of the article was, basically, reduce the number of people in third world countries through the use of condoms and other devices and we could help save the world.
Let me just sit quietly with the idea of limiting the one resource the third world actually has--the available and as of yet untrained and untapped human resource. I could get lost daydreaming about investments in information technology and India-style customer service centers cropping up in places like Uganda and Belize, but no. This article would rather see less people instead of actually helping people.
Putting that idea aside and taking the article at face value, the logic behind it seems plausible until you factor in actual carbon usage. We in the "first world" are the main carbon emitters. Here's a beautiful example of our emissions by country. The US is looking chubby here.
In fact, when checking the accuracy of this map on Wikipedia, I found that the majority of nations considered to be third world were actually less than 1 percent of world carbon emissions per country. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions)
What is going on here? Could it be that the overall goal is to reduce the world population? Yeah, that's pretty much the gist here. But why start in the third world? If you buy into this theory, why not start in the US?
Is it because we here in the west would never stand for the idea of mandated reproduction laws? The third world has much less of a voice. We'll just trim them down to size first, work the kinks out of the system, and then try to push through the agenda here in the West--er, let me check that map again--the North.
But since I'm working on illogic, how illogical is it for environmentalists, of all people, to advocate that countries with limited GNPs should invest in artificial contraception that not only produces waste in the manufacturing process but also as a discarded product? Our waters are full of hormones excreted into the watershed by women on various forms of the pill (http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/3151 and http://www.nywea.org/clearwaters/08-3-fall/05-EstrogenInWastewater.pdf) Do we really need to add this environmental hazard to the already shaky infrastructure of third world countries? Discarded condoms and excreted hormones are contaminants that are unnecessary as there is a nonpolluting alternative in the form of Natural Family Planning (NFP).
NFP only takes training and a bit of discipline to use effectively. In a quick, simplistic summary, there is a monitoring and cross checking of female fertility signs and a monthly abstinence period of several days per month when those signs are present. Its effectiveness rate is right up there with the more pollution laden condoms and only slightly less effective than chemical alternatives, and it has the added benefit of being more cost effective to implement. (By cost effective, I mean it is free).
Here's a few links to back me up in case you are too lazy to Google:
and a cross check from a secular source
The effective use of NFP both as a means to avoid pregnancy and to achieve pregnancy presupposes someone who is willing to be disciplined in checking and cross checking fertility signs and to engage in sexual activity during opportune times. In the West (and North), we have been trained to think that sex is an on-demand sport. The idea of actually waiting a few days seems foreign and a bit ridiculous to us.
But that is just another example of our oddball thinking.