Humans learn through pain. Most do not change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. What pain could possibly be great enough to make us reconsider the unnatural pollution of our industrial society?
Enter Sperm Count Zero: https://www.gq.com/story/sperm-count-zero
The article Sperm Count Zero published in GQ Sept 4, 2018 poses a few terrifying agreed-upon facts. First, western testosterone and sperm levels are declining. Second, this decline is due to endocrine disruptor chemicals, commonly used in almost all products of the industrial revolution – especially plastics. Third, if this trend continues, we will hit sperm count zero – a state where no men in Western society are capable of reproducing or producing testosterone. In other words, the end of the species.
And worst of all – these effects are epigenetic, meaning they are passed down from one generation to the next. If your father had 50% of normal male sperm, you start at 50% normal male sperm. And if you drop to 30% over your lifetime, your kids… You get the idea. Not good.
The article was written by Daniel Noah Halpern. I have searched for this author but cannot find him (If you know him, let me know). There is no twitter, email, facebook, etc. listed anywhere for the author. I’m fairly certain this is a pseudonym. Why someone would publish such a bombshell only to make themselves obscure I’m not sure. His only other article is about Singularity. If what this article says is true, it is the most important thing written in 2018, and maybe this decade.
If this article is true, I see only a few solutions at present:
Dramatically change your lifestyle. On a personal level, we have to stop using plastics, and “single serving” products. There are a lot. When I did an audit of the plastics in my life, I realized even my cellphone screen was plastic. It also means doing an audit of your food – eating only what’s natural. Even “organic” or “grass-fed” products are often wrapped in plastic. Plus, we haven’t even gotten into the chemicals used in clothing.
Going fully chemical-free might require either entirely new industries (the way health-food industries or companies catering to vegans have arrived in the last thirty years) or living a self-sustaining off-the-grid lifestyle in intentional communities. Grow your own food, make your own tools, sew your own clothes, etc. Yes, this is extreme. But so is handling tons of estrogenic BPAs everyday. Start small – get the best water filter you can, or stop handling receipts (which are printed with BPAs).
Discover a new medical breakthrough. While we can do things that stop the continued decreases of testosterone and sperm counts in our own lives, reversing the damage that has already been done will require a new medical breakthrough. Thankfully, in the coming years this may be possible – but it may not be affordable to everyone.
Technologies like gene editing would allow people to reverse the genetic effects of these chemicals and allow the wealthy to maximize their sperm and testosterone production. Because of my interest in regenerative medicine, and companies like Foregen, which seek to regrow the male foreskin, I’ve explored a lot of this future tech.
I suspect much of the technology we want for both regenerative medicine and gene editing already exists, just not on a public level. Recently, a Chinese scientist claimed to gene edit babies. It could have been a scam, but the technology is possible. Even technologies like cloning already exist on a commercial level.
The ultra rich won’t pay for the crimes of their companies. They never do. They will find a way out, though it may come at great cost. Although this technology might exist, not every family will be able to afford it. This would have a Darwinic effect on Western populations, where only the most successful are able to continue their line.
Change on a civilizational level. Everyone knows our current level of pollution and waste is not sustainable. In the book Ishmael, a character describes modern civilization as like a car driving off a cliff. For the first few seconds you’re in the air, it might feel like you’re flying, but then you start to fall into disaster. Compared to the entirety of human history, the industrial revolution has only been a few seconds. Does it feel like we’ve been flying with technology?
Humans will have to heal themselves and the planet. They will have to find ways of meeting their needs that do not use chemical waste or pollute the sky, soil, and water. Of course, this will require companies, who are currently making a fortune producing these products, to change their behavior, and people who are currently enjoying the easy of single use products to dramatically change their lifestyle. And what did we say at the beginning of this article?
Most people only change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. Maybe this will be enough pain for people to consider what they are doing to themselves, their fellow humans, and the earth.
Slow Moving Disaster
Unfortunately, it won’t be the people who created this problem won’t have to deal with it. It will be their children. The sins of the father will be visited upon the sons. Let’s make sure we don’t give our children a world where they struggle to have children of their own.
I am hopeful people will find a solution before it is too late. Scott Adams has what he calls the Law of Slow Moving Disasters, which basically states that if humans have enough time to see a disaster in the future they can prevent it. According the article in Sperm Count Zero, the majority of the west will have trouble reproducing by 2035. Clock is ticking, let’s get on this problem.
Read: Sperm Count Zero