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Science professor: Kill sperm, save the planet

A renowned University of California-Riverside professor recently advised students to save Mother Earth, eat vegetarian, only have 1.5 kids – two at the most – take up social justice causes, and “lower your standard of living.”

Biology Professor Richard Cardullo – recently tapped by several federal agencies to assist with redeveloping how college students across the nation study life science – offered the advice to a room full of middle school students as part of the university’s online science lecture series, recorded on the campus earlier this year. A video of his talk is posted on YouTube.

He began his 50-minute lecture, “Is Earth Overpopulated,” by painting a picture that the planet doesn’t have the room or resources for more and more humans, yet that’s the direction in which it’s headed.

“What is the carrying capacity of the planet?” Cardullo said. “As the population goes up we are using more and more resources at a faster rate. … Most people think (Earth’s carrying capacity is) in the range of nine to 13 billion. And remember – no matter what we do – we believe we are going to be at nine billion by 2030 anyway.”

Apparently famine, disease and war do not have the ability to effectively roll back the burgeoning human population and save the planet’s resources, the professor noted.

“If you want to minimize environmental impact, perhaps you should consider lowering your standard of living, for instance,” Cardullo told the students.

But that won’t cut it entirely, he said.

“Ultimately … the argument is, we have got to do something about population as well. The United States, we are very affluent. … We currently have a population of 313 million people. … Altogether we gain one person every 15 seconds. … If we want to take the population down to 150 million, all it would require in the next 100 years is to lower that birth rate – because we are not going to do it through any other method, right? That would be horrible.”

Cardullo ultimately advocates family planning for the task.

“That means your generation and the next generation, if they are committed to doing this, would mean having family sizes that on the average are 1-and-a-half children, or two,” he said. “Some would have one, some would have two. It would be 50/50.”

Cardullo’s lecture then morphed into somewhat of a sexual education seminar, explaining to the students on a cellular level how sperm fertilizes an egg, and how scientists study new ways to stop that from happening.

“Sperm is a vector … which leads to increased populations, so many scientists want to know, ‘Are there new ways we can control population or fertility rates?’ … so individuals can make the decisions to keep those rates low,” he said. “We are talking about controlling human fertility.”

He cited Gossypol, a cotton derivative that can cause sterility in males, as something under scrutiny by the scientific research community. Apparently in large doses it has the unfortunate effect of killing people, however.

“That’s one form of birth control, but probably not a good one,” Cardullo said, then chuckled. “So ultimately the World Health Organization argued against using it. But interestingly enough, there are countries in the world (such as China now investigating) using it as a permanent  method for controlling fertility in males, which is an option.”

Cardullo turned to some advice from renown conservationist and Professor Joel Cohen, who oversees the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, to conclude his speech to the kids.

“So what are we going to do? What are you going to do is the real question, because my generation is about done, we’ve left this for you,” Cardullo said. “We have talked about fertility control, we have talked about the environment, we clearly have to start making some smart choices, there are a few solutions.”

For one, continue to use technology and innovation to increase production of resources, he said. But there are some other ideas as well, he said, citing Cohen’s work.

“ ‘Put fewer forks on the table,’ meaning reduce the numbers and expectations of people  through such means as family planning,” Cardullo said.

He also suggested not eating meat.

“One of the things we know is the production of meat is incredibly expensive,” he said. “You are going to start hearing more and more about humans’ carbon footprint, and one of the biggest contributions to that carbon footprint is the production of meat. … We could do a lot simply by just becoming more vegetarian.”

Finally, change attitudes, he said.

“We could teach better manners … enhance social justice,”  he said. “What are we going to do about continents like Africa. Is it fair to say we are going to be affluent, but other parts of the world are not? These are all decisions you are going to be making.”

IMAGE: Bluedharma/Flickr

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

Add to the Discussion

  • John Campbell

    It would seem the learned professor didn’t see fit to mention that the world population is expected to PEAK at 9 billion, and drop afterward; in many countries such as Greece and Japan, the problem is too low a birthrate to maintain the culture in the relatively near future. It has been shown that the way to make the birthrate go down is to improve the living standard; once women don’t have to have a dozen children to ensure that one or two may live to reach adulthood, they find ways to have fewer kids even if birth control is illegal. And in urban cultures, children are a net economic cost instead of a net economic gain, so the incentive to have large families drops off. The problem is fixing itself, even without having to ask academics to fix it; a few years ago, the expectation was that the population was going to be 12 billion and still increasing by 2050, but reality made them recalculate. This is old news, people, and yet renowned professors apparently still haven’t gotten the memo.

  • Tanuki Man

    Did this guy just watch “Zardoz?” Maybe we can get him to re-do the voiceover about how guns are better than penises because guns shoot death and penises shoot life.

  • Iron Maiden

    Ask any Leftist what they believe and keep this checklist handy – they’ll tell you in some way or another they are against: God, guns, American oil, the military, the unborn, humanity, America, Western civilization, Democracy, Capitalism, religion, the family structure, Jews, Catholics, Christians, low taxes, and less government. This guy is just another one of the Environmentalist Wacko Leftists of today’s society. It would also be interesting to follow him around with a camera and see how HE lives.

    • Okay. Here I am. a leftist liberal. Ask away. God? He guides my life every day. That is why I give to those less fortunate than me, I smile and bring joy to those I can, and bring His Word to those ready to receive it. Guns? I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, but my daughter is a crack shot. American Oil? Keeps my stock portfolio on the healthy side. The military? Is the reason we all don’t NEED to have guns. The unborn? How can you SAY that! I had two children, and loved every minute of being pregnant! Western Civ? Well, you have me there. I thought it was one of the most boring classes I ever took. Democracy? I would love it. I think we are just about ready for it, as soon as everyone is computer literate, and we get rid of hackers, we could try it, don’t you think? (Our government is not a Democracy. Never was. Look it up, smart guy.) Capitalism? Now why wouldn’t I like capitalism? Do you think I am going to work all day, then come home and find out they gave half my house to you, like the Soviets did to people in Hungary in the 1950’s? Religion? Answered already. The family structure. I love families to have structure. If they don’t, the kids don’t learn how to take responsibility for their… oh, you meant, only straight people getting married. Sorry. No. I am not homophobic. Jews? HA! I am so uncomfortable without Jewish people around be, I actually moved out of a town that had no Jews in it. Seriously. Catholics? Mom, Dad, you want to answer this one for me? Christians? Wait, you don’t think Catholics are Christians? What about Mormons? Do you think they are Christians, or has that become something we don’t discuss anymore? Low taxes….. low taxes. Got me there, pal. You see, back when my husband was still alive, our income bracket put us into a group where our tax rate went down. Yes, make over a certain amount of money, and contrary to what they want you to believe, your tax rate goes down. Now, that is fine if you are at the upper end of that bracket. Because then, you really are paying your fair share, but when you are where we were, at the low end of that bracket, it was like taking candy from a baby. And, we knew it wasn’t fair. We didn’t think it was fair, and we said so. Loudly. “Tax us more. We can afford it.”
      Now, my husband is dead, and I pay no taxes, because I have no income. Living on what is left of the life insurance.
      Lets see, what’s left. Oh, the old less government thing. Here is how I feel about that. Yes, things have gotten out of control, but you cannot have less government only in one direction. In other words it can’t be a case of all laws passed by the Democrats are out, and all the laws by our side stay. and I am hearing a lot of that. Another thing is, we have to remember the social contract. We expect a lot from our government, we expect safe roads, buildings, food, etc. We expect that when we call 911 help will come. We expect that when we send out children off to school each day they will get their safely, and they will be taught things that have value in their future as human beings and Americans. In return, we do give up certain freedoms, and we do so willingly, or we used to. For instance, in wartime, we used to accept rationing of food, gas, rubber etc. willingly, and as our duty as patriots. Now, we don’t even think we should bear any of the cost of war at all. That is just one example. There are more. Look on the internet about the social contract we have with our government.
      I have one question, though. The lowering your standard of living thing. He means, pretty much, don’t live as if you have to have everything you see. You don’t need to fill your life up with stuff. Simplify. Less can be more. What do you see wrong with that? Is it our duty as Americans to end up on “Hoarders?”

  • Iron Maiden

    Another humanity-hating Leftist who wants population control but refuses to put his money where his mouth is and kill himself. HE is important. YOU are not.

    • Guest

      “We could teach better manners … enhance social justice.” Oh, no. We can’t have that, can we! Notice he isn’t advocating mandating his suggestions. He is saying these are personal choices the generation in question may want to make. Unlike, say, requiring a woman who is raped to go through the trauma of proving the rape was “forcible” in order to get aid to raise the child the rape produced. This is not a choice. This is a mandate by conservatives.
      Once again, the Tea Party battle cry is heard, “Less government interference in MY life. More government interference in yours to make you live the way I want you to.”
      Have fun kids, your candidate just alienated half the people in the U.S. and then refused to back down. By the way, how many of you earn more than $250,000 per year? None of you? Really? Guess what! He doesn’t care about YOU either!

    • It’s a huge difference between lowering birth rates and starting killing people that are already alive.

      The problem is that you don’t realize the impact of the problem. Scientific data from all kinds of fields shows that the current world population is over using natural resources at an alarming rate and has been doing this in some way for at least 200 years. Higher fuel prices, higher metal prices, higher food prices, depleting fish stocks, degraded soil, depleting freshwater, etc are in most ways caused by the size of the current human population. When more people and more have to share the earth’s limited resources prices will rise, mother nature will take damage.

      Unless we lower the birth rates nature will eventually take it’s toll. This means that people will be forces to lower their standards of living and it will most likely mean increased starvation – even in the US. Increased risks of conflicts, riots, diseases, poverty, etc.

      It’s basic math that if you have a cake the more people that wants a share the less it will be for everyone. Mother earth is like one huge cake, but compared to the human population it’s not huge any more.

  • evianalmighty

    Go to Africa and teach them to build power plants and have clean water. Let them burn coal and catch up with China. This will decrease the birth rate.

    • John Campbell

      Africa’s problems are largely self-inflicted. Colonialism was not a Good Thing, but most of the destitute former colonies were a lot more prosperous when they were colonies; Zimbabwe, when it was known as Rhodesia, was the breadbasket of Africa. Now its people are starving. It boils down to predictability; the colonial powers didn’t care about centuries worth of tribal strife: they wanted to conduct business for a profit. It didn’t matter if the legal system was just or not, so long as it was predictable (if you know that the judges in this colony are incorruptible, you can work with that; if you know that the judges in this other colony will require this type of bribe for that type of judgement, you can work with that too). But with independence, many of the former colonies are being run as family businesses, and those tribal rivalries take center stage. And potential investors stay away in droves, because they can’t know if they are going to be able to make a profit with the factory they want to build, or if it is likely to be nationalized and given to the President’s brother-in-law at any moment. What is happening to the people of Africa is a sin and a shame, but they are going to have to fix their political and legal structural problems themselves before there is going to be any improvement.

      • evianalmighty

        What a pleasent response. These type of comments are getting hard to come by on the web Thanks.

      • Sloppo

        Your description of black politicians in Africa doesn’t seem very different than an accurate description of African politicians in the US.

  • Yabba_Dabba

    “Sperm is a vector…”

    Vector [vek•ter] biol. 1. An insect, organism, or other vehicle that transmists a virus, pathogen, etc.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    I agree with all the comments calling this guy the Bozo that he is, but what are we doing about it?

    Who is pulling their kid out of the awful public schools that preach this drivel all day?

    Who is fighting for money following the child to a better set of education options instead of supporting the expensive and corrupt “district-based” education system?

    If you don’t at least pull your kid out of schools, you aren’t fixing the problem posed by this Bozo.

    • I live in the South, my kid is getting a decent education, of course a lot of teachers here lean right.

  • Guest

    Meat is NOT expensive to produce – not unless we are cherry-picking which inputs and outputs to include in our calculations.

    we remember to count the fertilizers and byproducts produced or
    consumed, acre for acre, a ruminant raised all or mostly on grass is a
    far more sustainable proposition than that same land put into any crop,
    unless the land is unusually suited to the crop in question or animals
    are for some reason impractical.

    In most cases, animals are raised in places that are substandard for crop production anyway.

    you want to be more sustainable, wailing about how other people should
    just live differently is not a solution. Try something that might
    actually lead to a solution – invest in earth sheltered housing and put
    vegetables on your green roof, maybe (or let sheep graze there, because
    ruminants are able to coexist with biodiversity-granting insects and
    butterflies while tomatoes are not).

    • I’m a meat lover but I also know that most meat produced today require huge amounts of resources compared to vegetables. Livestock that are fed up on grass are much better than those fed up on corn. But meat production also require more water and more land. In areas with risk of draughts meat production is not very sustainable. On the other hand in colder parts of the world, like northern Europe or Canada growing vegetables or grain is not always an option – In those cases meat production is important.

      Sorry to say this but most animals are not raised in places that are substandard for crop production.

  • Hucbald

    I hope all the lefties take his advice.

  • teapartydoc

    Malthus wasn’t right when he was alive and has remained wrong ever since. This clown will still be wrong in two hundred years, too.

  • Hedge

    The Neo-Malthusians have been wrong about everything since they crawled out of the back-water in the 1960’s. Paul Erlich has never been correct with any of his predictions…yet for some reason he is lauded as a genius. Sounds like this moron Cardullo has studied at the side of the fraud Erlich. Subjecting middle-school students to this world view amounts to child abuse.

    • Tell me why many many poor nations desperately are trying to lower their birth rates. Why do the have agencies that only focus on getting down the birth rates? There are numerous of studies, from others than neo-mathusians, that shows that many nations have unstustainable populations. China saw this in the 70’s and that’s why they started the one child policy. The earth is a limited cake and more people means less for everyone.

      • TMott

        Just curious if you also approve of China’s methods for enforcing their one child policy (forced abortions and sterilizations) and the Chinese population’s reaction to it (i.e. abandoning or aborting their girls).

  • Well, it is an interesting academic topic. But then he veers into Social Engineering and Advocacy which is filled with unintended consequences that you would think he’s unaware of from this. Is he unaware of, or purposely ignoring, what’s happened with “family planning” programs in China or India? Or Japan? Or the cultural & societal impacts on demographics in Europe resulting from fertility variances in ethnic populations? He seems to believe that humanity will subjugate itself to the rule of really smart scientists like himself, and will be somehow different when they do. Hubris? All of his “solutions” to a “problem” that currently only exists as a hypothetical projection of statistics (topic of panic mongering for nearly a century) puts him in an Ehrlich category of doom prognosticators who’ve been roundly discredited by time and reality. Discussion and study are one thing, Advocacy is quite another. It should be expected that a scientist would be self-aware enough to keep these separate and clearly defined in the course of teaching.

  • Too bad his mother didn’t control HER urges….back…when …. he was just an egg waiting around to be fertilized.

    Sheesh…imagine the great shape the world would be in today, if we just could abort THIS kind of moron.

  • edsmssi

    I am no liberal, and I found nothing offensive about what this professor said to the middle school students. He spoke the truth when he said the earth has a limited ability to support human life. He pointed out several areas of thought that have been put forth, and encouraged the students to start thinking themselves about what might be done during their lifetimes. He DID NOT show any favoritism toward any of the proposals he discussed. He certainly DID NOT say he favored “killing sperm” as a solution to this potential problem. He DID NOT try to force his ideas on these “young minds full of mush”. He DID speak the truth and encourage them to pay attention and think about the issue. He did make a half-hearted recommendation of vegetarianism, but I don’t find is all that offensive.

  • I guess only the elites should have children and rest of us….well we don’t count. They have been saying this for decades and humans disregard it because they like sex and wonderful things happen such as a new life is born. So what are they going to do with all those cows abort them as well? Same thing for sheep, goats, chickens. This professor and others never seem to understand the chain of reaction. Anyway, I don’t life veggies to well and I love my steak or hamburger and my chicken marsala once in while. Wonder how this professor actually lives and if he has children that will carry on his cause or name?

    • It’s basic ecology that we are consuming too much resources today, the effects of this will eventually be poverty, starvating, etc. Remember that 1 billion people are still malnourished today, without the population growth of the last decades this could have been avoided and it won’t be easier with even more people.

      The earth might be wast but it’s still has its boundaries. Earth is like a cake, if more people wants a piece everyone will get less. More people will force people to consume less meat. More people and eating meat is not an option, you will have to choose.

      Also the cow/sheep/goat/chicken problem that you describe is not a problem, these are slaughtered all the time it’s just to stop breeding more and the problem will be solved.

      I love meat and because of that I know we have to become fewer people on this planet.

  • Pingback: Video: Biology Professor hired by several Fed. Agencies advising young students to save Earth having only 1.5 kids - Stormfront()

  • Right. They encourage white people to have fewer kids then they invite the fertile third world to invade and take over.

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  • scrubjay

    Oh come on, no remakes. I already saw Zardoz.
    Zardoz speaks to you

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  • jeanniestanley

    fool-americans ARE having less children-otherwise we wouldn’t need to encourage immigrants to come here illegal so they can work for us to support our elderly and social justice programs–also china has a one child policy-see how well that is doing–and if you are soo worried about africa then go there and push your agenda to themand the mulims who are having more then 6 kids to a family

  • marcthepig

    The argument for his mother should have chosen abortion is made whenever an idiot like this opens his mouth.

  • Coldsteel1983

    “We could teach better manners … enhance social justice,”
    Manners, eh? Enhance social justice? Sounds like the old “spread it around” idea that someone spouted off about.
    This clown is being consulted (read, paid) by several Federal Agencies? I protest. I’m being taxed to death as it is and I don’t want to support leftist toads like this.
    Social justice, my butt. Right next to the imaginary “Social Contract” that we hear about from time to time from the head golf pro.

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  • justlooking

    can abortion be retroactive? In his case it would solve a lot of problems.

  • Well, if we could stop the Blacks, Mexicans and Muslims from breeding like rabbits we might have a chance.

  • silvereagle

    Cardullo e ciulpaveznikas.

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  • vivek sinha

    the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    life sciences