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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Doin’ It Green: Literally, doin’ it.

Editor’s Note: The Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) is an ASUCD commission responsible for researching environmental issues affecting the campus and its surrounding area, and providing recommendations for improvement. Doin’ It Green is a new feature that provides tips and ideas for being green.

In terms of low-impact Valentine’s Day activities, EPPC endorses “getting it on” as an eco-friendly way to show your love (dimmed lights and increased body heat will surely lower your winter electricity bill!). However, since population growth is pretty resource-intensive, EPPC suggests using birth control to prevent unwanted, garbage-generating, carbon-emitting humans.  As an eco-warrior yourself, you might ask, “Which contraceptive is least harmful to the environment?” The simple answer is: ANY. Doing your part to keep the population down certainly receives my green stamp of approval.

However, there are several popular contraceptive options on the market, each with its own environmental consequences. The ubiquitous condom, while appearing to be a plastic nightmare, is overall a pretty decent environmental investment. Latex, the most popular condom material, can come in a biodegradable form (don’t worry, it won’t biodegrade while you’re doin’ the dirty). Polyurethane doesn’t break down at all, so unless you’re allergic to latex, avoid it. Either way, condoms should be disposed in the garbage can, not down the toilet; flushed condoms are more likely to find their way into waterways.

The birth control pill, while providing 99 percent effectiveness with perfect use, does so by the use of ingestible hormones (typically estrogen and progestin). These hormones, after presumably keeping you baby-free, pass through your system (via urine) and into rivers and streams. Synthetic estrogen (compounding with the estrogen that women naturally emit) has the freaky effect of turning boy fish into girl fish, which is a pretty severe environmental problem.

Ultimately, birth control choice is very personal, and you should choose a method that’s comfortable for you (abstinence can be green, unless your failure to get laid is a result of driving a Hummer H2).

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