Save the planet: stop having children
The new head of the Science Museum [of London, it should be said] has an uncompromising view about how global warming should be dealt with: get rid of a few billion people. Chris Rapley, who takes up his post on September 1, is not afraid of offending. ‘I am not advocating genocide,’ said Rapley. ‘What I am saying is that if we invest in ways to reduce the birthrate – by improving contraception, education and healthcare – we will stop the world’s population reaching its current estimated limit of between eight and 10 billion.
‘That in turn will mean less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere because there will be fewer people to drive cars and use electricity. The crucial point is that to achieve this goal you would only have to spend a fraction of the money that will be needed to bring about technological fixes, new nuclear power plants or renewable energy plants. However, everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue.’
I have a colleague who will, I suspect, rather enjoy that story. Rapley is basically a rocket scientist, and is currently head of the British Antarctic Survey (give me a job?). Clearly the way forward for the Science Musuem has been declared. I can’t wait.
It isn’t all lofty brainy Philosophical Society talk, either:
Rapley is passionate about making displays and instruments far more accessible. ‘If you look at the Science Museum’s great engine hall, there are wonderful machines on display but the accompanying explanations are quite often above most people’s heads. Most children today probably don’t realise these machines run on heat and water, but that is never mentioned. We need different explanations for different levels of understanding: the six-year-old, the 60-year-old, the PhD student. At the same time, there is no point having a few touch-screens about the place. People can only use them one at a time. One idea would be to send free texts to visitors’ mobile phones, according to their needs, as they stand in front of displays. Just about everyone has a mobile phone, after all.’
For which I’m also quite excited.