Climate Change Can Result In Low Sperm Count, Mass Extinction. Will We Care Now?

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

If you don’t believe in ghosts, then you must start believing in at least one from now—the environmental ghost! This ghost is born out of a single parent i.e. climate change. This is of recent origin, and you know what the best part is? Every single one of us has contributed to its birth in one way or the other! Also, it is not just restricted to our country but exists worldwide! Guys, this is not superficial or hypothetical but real and can be felt and sensed everywhere, and its impact can be witnessed in each and every sector.

Recently, We have come to know of its most recent invasion—its effect on sperm! Yes, sperm! Can you believe its omnipresence? It’s unfortunate that whenever we talk about the gendered impact of climate change, we tend to overlook the nuances of how it would affect men.

Relevant Studies On the Link Between Climate Change And Sperm Count

Male infertility can be caused due to various factors like genes, extended exposure to industrial chemicals, radiation, etc. But have you ever heard of male infertility due to climate change?

A recent study published in Nature Communications titled “Experimental Heatwaves Compromise Sperm Function And Cause Transgenerational Damage In A Model Insect”, which was conducted on beetles, revealed that climate change, and to be more specific the rise in temperature, causes male infertility. It decreased their sperm count, its life span, quality, and also viability. Not only that, but it also revealed that as a result of it, offsprings born from them were also adversely affected. And prolonged exposure to heatwaves even leads to sterility!

Though this study was conducted on cold-blooded animals, it hinted that it can be applied to warm-blooded animals too. In addition to this, A conference paper presented by B.P. Setchell titledThe Effects Of Heat On The Testes Of Mammalsrevealed that male infertility happens during heat stress in warm-blooded animals also, which includes human beings! Not only that, a recent review of more than 100 studies by Mark C. Urban found that 8-50% of all species will be threatened by climate change as a result.

It is so unfortunate that not only them but their children will unnecessarily suffer because of us. We won’t get the best quality of future generations! This is not good for a country keeping in mind the Human Development Index (HDI) competition at the global level, and various other factors.

Now, let’s dive deeper into this: we may even experience mass extinction in the future! Obviously, if sperm is non-functional how can we expect the continuance or origins of our species?

Stigma Faced By Men

For representation only.

 We all know that our society overrates sperm. If a man faces sexual problems, he is humiliated and stigmatised like he has committed a crime! Even his family members torture him by saying, “Khandaan ka naam duba diya”! (You have dishonoured the family name). Men suffer so much, and if because of our deeds (climate change) they are suffering then we should feel ashamed of ourselves! We have no right to snatch the happiness of anyone.

Not only this but low sperm count also causes a decrease in facial and body hair, do you even realise how painful it would be for a boy when people call him “chikne” or “yeh toh bada meetha hai” or “tu mard nahi hai” (You’re not a man) and what not! Who will take responsibility for their mental health?

Remember, both sperm and womb are equally important. Just like both seed (sperm) and land (womb) are equally required to plant a tree. Though, this is not the case in Asexual Reproduction and Parthenogenesis (where fertilisation by sperm is not required and egg can develop into an embryo by itself). But, this happens with simple life forms and higher life forms observe sexual reproduction. And for us, both simple as well as higher life forms are equally important. And if you think we have modern techniques like sperm donation, IVF, etc., then how can you tell if you would get quality sperm in the future too? What’s the guarantee that sperm donors will have healthy sperm? Climate change will affect everyone and not a select few, isn’t it!

Think about the seriousness of this matter. If not about the world, think about yourself! But please, for god’s sake start caring for the environment, our burden must not shift towards others. We don’t want mass extinction, infertility, sub-standard progenies and a complete stoppage to life forms!

Nobody is expecting you to jump into activism but everyone, including the flora and fauna around us, are expecting us to show compassion towards the environment and start taking small steps. Come on guys, switching off lights or fans or not using air conditioners unnecessarily or planting trees or not wasting water, etc., are not that hard! Together we can make a huge difference.

To all the neglected, backward, marginalised communities and sections of the society, including women, I just want to say that it is a great opportunity to show your worth to the world, especially those who think only men are worthy. Start acting against climate change and make people realise that even you can contribute a lot to society and if you won’t then it will be dangerous for everyone.

This post has been written by a YKA Climate Correspondent as part of #WhyOnEarth. Join the conversation by adding a post here.
Featured Image For Representation Only.
Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below