08:30 GMT11 April 2021
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    After nearly a century of widespread use of plastics, which do not biodegrade, some scientists estimate that humans consume a credit card’s worth of microscopic plastic pieces every week, raising questions about the long-term health effects of exposure.

    On Wednesday, Sky News reported on a new book by Dr. Shanna Swan warning that humanity faces an “existential crisis” in fertility rates due to phthalates, a chemical used in plastics manufacturing that affects the human endocrine system when it’s consumed. According to her research, the phthalates imitate estrogen, confusing the hormone production in developing fetuses and resulting in small penises.

    Sky’s headline was simply “Human penises are shrinking because of pollution, warns scientist.” An eye-catching title, to be sure, and one that grabbed the attention of one notoriously cheeky 18-year-old Swedish climate activist. That’s right, this is a Greta Thunberg story.

    ​“See you all at the next climate strike,” she tweeted in response on Thursday afternoon, adding a little smile emoticon at the end.

    As you can guess, Twitter went wild with jokes.

    ​A couple of people drew connections to gun sales in the United States, which, as they say, could be motivated by this phenomenon.

    ​The pint-sized autistic teen drew global attention in 2019 when she angrily confronted world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, suggesting they had sold out the younger generation by failing to adequately respond to the telltale signs of climate change. She has since become a cultural icon, and her cheeky replies to critics have garnered her additional acclaim, although some have raised eyebrows at some of the choices to celebrate her, such as a statue at England’s University of Winchester.


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