The manmade global warming alarmists now suspect that all our efforts to reverse imminent planetary disaster may be inadequate and ultimately futile. Always thinking outside the box, they’re suggesting more radical sacrifices than simply upgrading light blubs and trading in gas-guzzlers for Priuses. Forget badgering people to be more energy-efficient, some global warming strategists are asking; why not genetically alter them to be so? “Let’s get small” doesn’t refer just to Steve Martin’s old comedy routine anymore; now it’s a call to bio-engineer smaller humans for a reduced carbon footprint.
In an online interview for The Atlantic, S. Matthew Liao, professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University, expresses skepticism about the efficacy of our current attempts to mitigate climate change, and theorizes that “voluntary” human engineering is one possible solution. He is the principal author of the new paper “Human Engineering and Climate Change,” in the scholarly journal Ethics, Policy & Environment. In it, he and his co-authors propose possible bio-medical modifications to ensure that humans tread less heavily on Mother Gaia.
For example, Liao says, reducing our consumption of meat could have significant environmental benefits. One solution could be a pill that triggers mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat and ultimately creates in us an aversion to meat altogether. Other techniques are more complicated both medically and ethically; Liao and his cohorts even considered the possibility, for example, of giving humans “cat eyes”:
The reason is, cat eyes see nearly as well as human eyes during the day, but much better at night. We figured that if everyone had cat eyes, you wouldn’t need so much lighting, and so you could reduce global energy usage considerably.
Then there is the issue of our inconvenient physical size:
[The] larger a person is the more food and energy they are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime. There are also other, less obvious ways in which larger people consume more energy than smaller people – for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people, and so on.
In order to reduce a person’s environmental footprint substantially, then, Liao and his partners theorize that parents might submit to genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to give birth to smaller, “less resource-intensive” children. The authors believe that such human engineering solutions may actually be “liberty enhancing,” especially in contrast to “crude prescriptions” like China’s “one child” policy:
What we really care about is some kind of fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions per family. If that’s the case… human engineering could give families the choice between two medium sized children, or three small sized children. From our perspective that would be more liberty enhancing than a policy that says “you can only have one or two children.” A family might want a really good basketball player, and so they could use human engineering to have one really large child.
That’s the global warming community’s concept of “liberty-enhancing” – a population control policy that gives people the magnanimous option of three undersized children, two mediums, or one basketball player.
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