I have decided to come out of hiding.
First, because — at last — it is summertime in the Cariboo. Second, my weather watch phone app tells me it’s time to check the rising water level on my Fraser riverfront property.
And third, (there is always a third) I do have something to say about a very important and historic news event.
No, it is not about BC Premier John Horgan stepping down, or UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigning (after being snagged in a political stage hook).
My words are also not in response to jarring world news obout the assassination of Japan’s former leader, Shinzo Abe, the continuing brutal assault by Russia on Ukraine, the threat of a fall resurgence of COVID-19, or the ongoing travails of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
No. The Earth shattering event that has moved me from blissful boredom is the recent opining of eccentric billionaire Elon Musk. Now, only a Canadian would come up with this.
Musk tweeted on Thursday that he’s “doing his best” to help populate the planet.
“Doing my best to help the underpopulation,” he reportedly wrote, adding, “A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far.”
That would be witty and hilarious — if only it were not also apparently true because Musk is well on his way to widely distributing his DNA. Like a legendary Johnny Appleseed, who just can’t plant fast enough.
Perhaps Musk’s urgent mission also includes the desire to pass on his very high intelligence quotient. Who knows.
At first I thought it was a tongue in cheek thing. Then I took stock. Musk does have nine children with various wives and lovers (maybe more if you count the rumours about Amber Heard’s “mystery” baby daddy.)
But enough about the sex lives of baby making billionaires and titillating tweets. The takeaway from this, for me, is that there’s an important issue here that warrants discussion.
We are often told that we are not reproducing ourselves. Two for two. Like Noah’s ark. And so — like the proverbial albatross — we humans risk becoming extinct. There are perhaps good and valid reasons for this phenomenon.
Many young working people today say they are too busy building their careers to raise rug rats or they simply can’t afford the high cost to feed, clothe, shelter, nurture and educate children.
This despite the efforts by our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to reduce daycare costs and boost monthly child bonuses.(Now if he’ll just commit to offsetting inflation and high costs of housing, food, gas, heat and healthcare costs, we might break even. )
Forget savings for the future. Is there a future?
Anyway, some potential parents say that they don’t want to bring any offspring into a world of uncertainty, immorality, drastic climate change, virus variants, privacy invasion, diving drones, new pronouns, cyberattacks, political corruption, corporate greed, mass killings, natural disasters, homelessness etc. etc… And with endless global wars and bloody conflicts.
They don’t want the fruit of their loins to inherit a planet in peril. Or even this country, Canada, rife with racism, division, polluted waterways, child poverty, homelessness. And one dealing with social unrest, still unceded lands and a sordid cultural history.
I don’t see why not. I was born into it. And I’ve been around for decades… mostly unscathed.
But it is not my worry. Not only am I past the child bearing age, but I have a bunker to hide in when the going gets tough. And sandbags to bury my head in when I can’t stand it anymore.
Anyway, we have a clever anacronym for these anti-reproduction rebels and individuals…more correctly, couples. Those who don’t want to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet. They are aptly called DINKS. Double income, no kids.
While I cannot offer my own womb to help us out of this Doomsday scenario, I can offer Elon Musk some words of wisdom gleaned from my years of inhabiting this planet.
Be careful what you wish for.
By last count, (according to Google) there is about eight billion Earthlings, almost half of them, 49.58 percent, being women. So child support for four billion babies might be a little much, even for a multi billionaire like Musk.
But if it is true, as author John Gray suggests (metaphorically) in his book title: “Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus” that does explain Musk’s quest to conquer Mars. But it also begs the question, will these two planets ever collide?
If not, a conjugal meeting between the sexes, and therefore, a chance to make babies (unless genetically engineered in a laboratory petri dish), is unlikely.
And so, it is now back to the old drawing board and bunker for me. Another day, another world problem unsolved. Woe is me.
What do you think about this story?