John Guillebaud, an emeritus professor at UCL, University of London, has recently held an interesting TEDxUCL talk about sex and what it does to the planet. Is sex the most dangerous human activity, to all life on earth?
At its best giving the greatest mutual pleasure humans know this activity also has risks, both direct and indirect. The direct risks are heart attacks or strokes (mainly in older men!) and STIs (both genders). Other direct risks apply only to uncontracepted sex — which nature has applied unfairly to women alone, and which can be minimised by voluntary family planning – notably maternal mortality: 1000 deaths each day, 99% in resource-poor settings, including almost 1,000 a week from 20 million unsafe abortions.
But un-contracepted sex has a danger that is no less serious for being indirect, namely too many humans (up to 7000 million, rising annually by the population of Germany) for sustainability on our finite planet. Humankind’s mean environmental footprint is too large but there is also a need to address the number of feet, making the footprints. And we could do it!