UK Guardian: In the forthcoming Downsizing, Oscar-winning writer-director Alexander Payne imagines a near future where eco-conscious Norwegians have developed a sci-fi shrink-ray that can zap people, such as stressed everyman Matt Damon, down to just five inches in height. Everything about this growing community of nu-Lilliputians is smaller – particularly their carbon footprint. In the film, the procedure is marketed as a quasi-altruistic lifestyle choice that doubles as a lottery win, suggesting participants will improve the planet’s sustainability as well as artificially extending their savings.
This sounds eerily similar to other calls to reduce the size of people.
NYU Professor Center for Bioethics Matthew Liao proposes shrinking humans to fight climate change! 'Breeding people to be shorter, something Liao says could reduce our carbon footprint' to fight global warming.
'The last modification that Liao talks about: empathy. Liao’s idea is to give hormones like oxytocin and serotonin to people, and to perhaps decrease someone’s testosterone.'
As his peer-reviewed study puts it, “Pharmacologically induced altruism and empathy could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral and market solutions for curbing climate change.” He emphasises there would be no coercion. The drugs would merely help those who want to be climate-friendly behaviour but lack the willpower.
There are too many tall people, Liao says. Solution? Reduce height via “preimplantation genetic diagnosis.” How? “It would simply involve rethinking the criteria for selecting which embryos to implant.” Implanting embryos? Say, isn’t that the brave new idea Aldous Huxley had? I wonder which government bureaucracy would certify embryos.
'What if we put aside the ethical issues and looked at the genetic engineering of our species not as a tool to make us better, but a necessity for our species to survive? Although there is much debate about who is to blame for climate change, the real issue is our very survival as a species...what if instead of focusing on making us stronger, faster and smarter, genetic researchers tried to make us more resistant to the effects of climate change?' -- 'Instead of trying to tweak us humans to be smarter, perhaps science could re-engineer us to resist these temperature extremes?'
Climate Depot Note: This is not the first time global warming has prompted calls for 'genetically altering' humans: See:
Liao: 'The stuff that we looked at are things we currently already can do. So they are not meant to be very farfetched scenarios. They are meant to be realistic. -- 'Screen for embryos that are expected to be shorter. Another possibility is you can get hormone treatments...We can use that technology to have smaller children'