Indianapolis Star, March 21, 2013
Saving Earth: Costumed Purdue students to hand out condoms
If you happen to visit Purdue University on April 22, don’t be surprised if someone dressed as a polar bear walks up and hands you a condom.
The planned prophylactic giveaway is one way a group of students and professors hopes to raise awareness of overpopulation and otherenvironmental issues on Earth Day. Volunteers will dress up as endangered animal species for the event.
“It’s a way of highlighting population growth and the strain it’s putting on our finite natural resources,” said Purdue student Wes Homoya, 28. “We’re looking to do a couple different things to draw attention to the cause.”
The condom handout is a project nationally of the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity. Purdue is one of three or four universities nationwide where the organization is staging events.
“We’ll also be at Syracuse, University of Miami and maybe one other,” said Jerry Karnas, the national organization’s population campaign director.
If people had fewer children — even just curtailing unwanted pregnancies — the environment would benefit, Karnas said.
“Our hope is that this next generation of Americans really plans their families and recognizes the impact every American has on the overall environment,” Karnas said. “We hope people are attentive to the impact we have on our local ecosystems and even animals and plants worldwide.”
Beyond hammering any particular issue, Homoya said, students are interested in discussing the overall subject of conservation.
“It’s more about the message and the outreach,” he said. “It’s not about telling people how many children they should have, but it’s just asking people to be mindful of the impact.”
Organizers this week were still working to obtain necessary permits, he said. He was unsure what particular time of day the volunteers would stage the event.
The condoms come in customized packaging, he added, emblazoned with images of certain endangered species and witty sayings. Besides the polar bear, species to be spotlighted include the Eastern hellbender (a salamander), snowy plover, leatherback sea turtle, Florida panther and dwarf seahorse.
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