“Mommy,” my 11-year-old daughter asked me quizzically over dinner tonight, “why do you have a big box of condoms on your desk?”

Gulp. Apart from the fact that my 11-year-old knows what condoms are (thank-YOU sex ed in the public schools!) and that she was rooting around in my office (ostensibly looking up Glee videos on YouTube), it’s nonetheless a question that makes lots of people squirm. Not just peri-menopausal moms of suddenly sophisticated 11-year-olds.

The thing is, I have a big box of condoms on my desk – in little packages that boast pithy phrases like “Hump Smarter, Save the Snail Darter” and “Wrap with Care, Save the Polar Bear” – because population growth is one of those topics that even we ardent environmentalists tend to avoid. And because the Center for Biological Diversity wants to open up the conversation. And because I’ve decided it’s a conversation I’m ready to have.

I’m hardly the poster-girl for population control. I have three children, at least one of whom was…uhhhh…unintended. Absolutely positively NOT unwanted. But unplanned.

And, shockingly, that’s the case for 40% of pregnancies in the United States, according to the CBD. And certainly the case for millions of children around the world. And here, of course, is where the conversation gets sticky.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a newborn. Three in fact. And in them, I saw the face of hope. Of promise. And yet. The world is full of children who aren’t valued. Who aren’t loved. Who, frankly, aren’t wanted. It’s not as it should be. But it’s as it is.

And our planet isn’t exactly expanding to make room for all these babies. Whether wanted or not, intended or not, all babies deserve the chance to live full productive lives. But as our population explodes (six-and-a-half billion today with another three billion projected by 2050), and as the demands on our planet’s resources reach critical mass (if they haven’t already!), far too many of our children face uncertain futures. And fates becomes sealed for far too many of the planet’s species, which simply can’t survive in the face of such rapid human population growth.

Jane Goodall, the noted conservationist and primatologist who changed the way we viewed human/animal interaction, completely agrees that it’s an important issue…and one that is often ignored because of the moral implications. Yet, she says, we simply can’t ignore that curbing population growth is key to dealing with our environmental issues.

"It's our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we've inflicted on the planet,” the 75-year-old recently told the AFP. “If there were just a few of us, then the nasty things we do wouldn't really matter and Mother Nature would take care of it -- but there are so many of us."

Gulp. And so…

And so, I’m handing out condoms. To anyone who is not ready or interested in bringing another life into the world. To anyone who is interested in the connection between population growth and species extinction. To anyone who will at least open their mind to the conversation about access to birth control, maternal health, the right to choose…

I’ll even have the conversation with my 11-year-old daughter who, just yesterday it seems, didn’t have a clue what a condom was.

Visit: http://www. endangeredspeciescondoms. com/

Leslie Garrett is a national award-winning journalist, author and editor, based near Toronto, Canada. She is the author of The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World and she has also written a dozen children’s books, including a biography of renowned environmentalist David Suzuki and “EarthSmart”, a book for young children on protecting the environment.

Visit: http://www. virtuousconsumer. com/

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

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