Te Radar: Save the redheads!

By Andrew "Te Radar" Lumsden

The red-haired ones, or gingas, as they are colloquially known, are a species worth preserving for as long as possible, says a red-haired man.

Forget climate change-induced droughts, we need to save the redheads. Photo / Getty Images
Forget climate change-induced droughts, we need to save the redheads. Photo / Getty Images

I am in danger of becoming extinct. Naturally this is of concern to me. Some say that eventually all of humanity will perish, and this may well be true, but it is suggested that the ginger-haired will disappear long before the rest of you thanks to climate change.

To be honest this is not one of the repercussions I was expecting from a changing climate.

I was prepared to accept scientists' assertions that mountains might get taller without the immense weight of glaciers pressing them into the mantle.

I was okay with the American Urological Association warning that we would see an increase in the incidence of kidney stones due to rising temperatures causing more dehydration.

I even grimly accepted a potential rise in the cost of beer due to more drought in areas barley is grown, more shark attacks due to warming oceans increasing their territory, and an increase in turbulence for those still able to fly.

I was not prepared for the eradication of the redhead.

There have been alarmist scares in the past. Some feared that the mutation that produced redheads would be bred out by migration and intermarriage. This does not seem to be the case. Our genes are as strong as our opening conversational gambits. I do not foresee myself being forced to undergo captive breeding programmes like panda, more's the pity. For a recessive gene, we seem incredibly dominant.

However a new warning has been issued. Apparently the formerly benevolent genetic adaptation of the redhead that allows us to absorb extra vitamin D from the sun during long periods of inclement weather will be our downfall.

With a decrease in gloomy days, even in traditional safe havens like Scotland, Scandinavia and Invercargill, we gingers will see a rise in the incidence of skin cancer.

I am confident we can overcome this crisis. How? Long sleeves. And collars, and hats, and light cotton pants. That should ward off the worst of it, although it will mean more laundry.

Of course we may be thwarted by the predicted decrease in arable land available to grow cotton, but then we can simply resort to the time-tested manner of avoiding sunburn by lounging in the shade during the heat of the day and drinking a refreshing beverage.

However this may mean that we are outside at other times that could be even more perilous: dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

With climate conditions shifting we are already seeing an expanded area of habitation for those types of mosquitoes that are vectors for viruses such as West Nile Virus, or Ross River Virus or malaria or dengue fever or Japanese Encephalitis. Any one of those will make the now scientifically verified man-flu seem like a welcome relief.

If those illnesses don't get us we will probably die of neurological problems caused by too much insect repellant, or asphyxiation from burning too many mosquito coils. I don't know if either of those products can be fatal but there is every chance someone will suggest they are, and then the stress caused by the worrying will see us off.

In the meantime the thing most likely to do us harm is the brain damage associated with repeatedly slapping our foreheads in despair as we argue with people who continue to mockingly use the phrase "global warming" while pointing out that some places have had their coldest winters on record.

Regardless of whether you blame sunspots, volcanoes, human activity or naturally occurring climatic shifts, accepting that things are not as they used to be, and investing in long sleeve shirts and insect repellant seems a very good idea.

I'm going to.

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