This group says we need fewer humans. It’s giving out condoms featuring endangered animals.
Nothing quite says “Will you be my valentine?” like condoms with pictures of endangered species on them. But the Center for Biological Diversity says they should be right up there among the flowers and chocolates.
The national, nonprofit conservation group will give away more than 40,000 free endangered species condoms on Valentine’s Day in the top 10 most sexually satisfied cities — including Indianapolis.
The colorful condom packages — with slogans such as “Wrap with care, save the polar bear” and “Before it gets any hotter, remember the sea otter” — are meant to help couples consider the threat population growth poses to wildlife and the planet.
In additional to Indianapolis, the condoms will be distributed in Fort Wayne, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio — cities that a Men’s Health survey found to be the top in the U.S. for sexual satisfaction.
“You can bet a lot of couples in these cities will get lucky this Valentine’s Day,” said Sarah Baillie, Endangered Species Condoms coordinator at the Center, in a release. “But the more people we crowd onto the planet, the less room there is for animals and plants. We’re in the midst of a heartbreaking wildlife extinction crisis, and safe sex is one important way to turn things around.”
Center staff and volunteers will hand out the costumes at over-21 events at museums, concerts, sports games, community gatherings and on college campuses. Ballie said she did not have specific times or locations that the condoms would be handed out in Indianapolis.
The packages feature original artwork of nine different endangered species — such as the hellbender, monarch butterfly, and whooping crane — with rhyming slogans. Inside the package is information about the species, the impacts of population growth and solutions to the problem, including access to contraception and reproductive health care.
In the past 50 years, the human population has more than doubled. Wildlife population during that time, however, have been halved, according to the Center. There are more than 7.6 billion people across the globe, and the U.S. is the third-most populous country with more than 330 million.
Those numbers are only expected to grow: The United Nations predicts that the global population will reach nearly 10 billion by 2050.
“We wanted to figure out how to bring population back into the environmental conversation because all these other efforts won’t matter if population continues to grow,” Baillie told IndyStar.
“To do that, we wanted to figure out a way to make it approachable,” she added. “So by packaging with cute animals and funny sayings, that’s an icebreaker that makes it an easier conversation.”
While the condoms may be helping to address one environmental problem, this raises a question about another potential impact: What about all that packaging?
The condoms themselves are vegan and fair trade GLYDE brand condoms, and each package comes with two. They are made from latex that is grown and harvested sustainably, and packaged with 100% recycled paperboard and vegetable inks (and no cellophane or plastics).
The Center acknowledges that the condoms do cause some additional waste — but impact of a bit of latex and packaging in a landfill is much less than the impact of a new unplanned person, the group says.
Proper disposal is key, however. Baillie emphasizes that condoms should never be flushed because they can block sewers and pose a threat to wildlife in waterways. Instead, throw them in the trash.
The Center first started giving away Endangered Species condoms in 2009, and it has handed out more than a million since then. This is not the first time they’ve been in Indianapolis: They also handed out condoms for Valentine’s Day in 2017.
Call IndyStar reporter Sarah Bowman at 317-444-6129 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @IndyStarSarah. Connect with IndyStar’s environmental reporters: Join The Scrub on Facebook.
IndyStar’s environmental reporting project is made possible through the generous support of the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.
This content was originally published here.