Shrinking Penises, Apple, Samsung & Plastic Garbage
Even if you do not follow international business news it was hard to miss the bulletin last month; “Apple reports record first quarter results”. The broadcasts went on to report that Apple made $18 billion dollars of profit in last three months of 2014 and now sits on $142 billion of cash.
Hearing this story on my local newscast, my mind wandered to an idea I had when cycling across South East Asia on the Bamboo Road in the fall of 2013. It is a beautiful place to bike – see 12 reasons to cycle South East Asia – but as with everywhere else in the world, it suffers from environmental degradation, pollution and the inevitable discarded plastic bags, bottles, wrappers and all sorts of other junk. Though solving some of those urgent problems requires a major shift in behavior and societal changes, getting rid of the garbage and stopping it from ending in the oceans can be accomplished relatively easily with the help of some of the most profitable companies in the world- such as Apple, Samsung and local telecommunications companies. Everyone ends up a winner. How so?
Wherever you travel nowadays, one sees that the youth of the world – just about every one of them – has a smartphone (or wants one badly) and uses it endlessly. Or would love to, if they could afford it, which in most developing countries is a problem. So here is the crux of the issue – just how these countries can be cleaned up using the vigor and resourcefulness of the young, with the cooperation of the above mentioned international companies, in partnership with local companies, NGOs and governments.
A simple system can be set up for the collection of plastic and the rest of the detritus, bringing it to central collection points from which it will be picked up and transported for reprocessing and proper treatment. This is where the large corporations can be the catalyst. For example, for every 10 KG of garbage brought to a central collection site, 100 of free minutes of phone use will be given to the garbage collector. The larger the amount of garbage collected, the bigger the rewards – eventually reaching such valuable items as smartphones, tablets and computers.
This would act as an incentive to thousands of youngsters who do not have jobs and are dreaming of the next iPhone, iPad or any other techie device. Of course, this would require the co-operation of governmental agencies and private entities that know how to make money from garbage. Given human nature, there is no doubt that some enterprising individuals would try to cheat, but I think that a large corporation could figure out a system which would be honest and transparent.
This concept would be a ‘win–win’ for all involved: the high-tech corporations will get an immense amount of free publicity and goodwill, the poor youngsters will get access to communications, governments will get assistance with one of their most pervasive problems, local inhabitants will be living in cleaner, healthier environments and, of course, cycle tourists will have a much more enjoyable visit. What is even more important, this would act as quick and simple educational tool, increasing awareness of the important issues involved.
But there is more to this than aesthetics and education. An article “The Terrifying True Story of the Garbage that Could Kill the Whole Human Race” by Bucky McMahon published last August in Matter magazine, describes how millions, perhaps billions, of pounds of plastic garbage ends up in the ocean. The article states that a “Greenpeace study estimated that it would take 68 ships trawling 24 hours a day an entire year to cover 1 percent of the Pacific. They would burn up a tremendous amount of fuel and do more harm than good.”
The plastics in the oceans eventually break up into small, candy-coloured dust that becomes food for marine life. The dust kills millions of birds and 100,000 mammals each year. The dust also leaches toxic substances that are eaten by fish. It is estimated that 50% of sea fish have been exposed to these toxins. Much of these fish end up as food for humans. What happens to people that eat these fish is still a mystery but one theory is that it may actually affect the size of man’s penis – and not in the way many men would prefer.
Here is the thesis: plastic leaches synthetic estrogen. Estrogen plays a key role in human development from bone growth to heart function. And if estrogen levels are not right, weird things start happening. The puberty level in woman has gone down significantly over last 50 years. So has the size of man’s penis – by 2 centimeters or almost an inch! Mens’ sperm output has gone down by 50%. If this theory is correct, then in another 50 years the garbage that we are currently seeing everywhere will, by then, have caused many more serious problems than just disfiguring the scenic landscape.
So if you know anyone who can get this idea to the management of Apple, Samsung, Microsoft or any other high-tech company, please do not hesitate to pass this on. You may end up being instrumental in insuring that humankind continues on this planet. Remember, where there is a will, there is always a way.