THE FUTURE—Most people probably don't think about it a lot, but by Halloween this year, Earth will be host to 7 billion humans—double what it was in 1970—and by the end of the century, barring The Rapture or some similar cataclysm, it'll be 10 billion. That's a lot.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CDB) does think about such things, in part because that mass of people consume—some would say "overconsume"—an awful lot of stuff, in the process causing not only environmental destruction but driving certain species into extinction, destroying wildlife habitats and making pretty much everyone's standard of living that much worse—and considering what that standard is for some populations already, they really can't afford for that to deteriorate further.
"The human race is not only the most populous large mammal on Earth but the most populous large mammal that has ever existed," a CDB press release states. "Providing for the needs and wants of this many people—especially those in high-consumption, developed countries—has pushed homo sapiens to absorb 50 percent of the planet's freshwater and develop 50 percent of its landmass. As a result, other species are running out of places to live."
"Our planet is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. Hundreds of plant and animal species are disappearing from our planet every day, never to return," the CDB continues. "In fact, scientists say species today are going extinct 100 to 1,000 times faster than normal. They're going extinct because of us—people."
So what's the answer? Well, aside from CDB's anti-overpopulation ad that's currently running in Times Square, and the inauguration of their "7 Billion and Counting" campaign with its Pop-X newsletter, the organization is also distributing Endangered Species Condoms—hundreds of thousands of them.
Each Endangered Species Condom package has a photo of one endangered species on its cover. The current crop includes the polar bear, the snail darter, the spotted owl, the American burying beetle, the jaguar and the Puerto Rican (coquí guajón) rock frog, with more endangered species likely to come.
The CDB expects to give out over 100,000 Endangered Species Condoms in 2011, so as the U.S. Department of Health used to say in public service ads back in the '80s, "Wrap That Rascal!"