Illustration by Ben Montero
Climate change is a huge concern for many, many reasons: the ice caps are melting, droughts are sweeping the world, and mega-hurricanes are striking cities that have never before had to weather such storms. But it’s only recently that climate change has threatened Australia’s hilarious but substantial kangaroo nutsack trade. The hopping marsupials’ scrotums, which are crafted into souvenir bottle-openers and key rings, have made manufacturer John Kreuger, hereby known (by me) as the King of Ballsacks, hundreds of thousands of dollars. These days, however, John’s trade is suffering due to a series of floods in Queensland—which some meteorologists believe to have been caused by climate change. The flooding has purportedly pushed kangaroos inland and away from the areas where they’re normally culled. John told me how it feels to have his balls literally on the line.
VICE: How have the floods affected the scrote business?
John Kreuger: The older animals tend to sense weather patterns. They know it’s going to rain. They then head to the desert country away from cull areas, especially the big guys. Consequently, I’ve found it harder and harder to get people to supply me with the bigger scrotums I need.
Scientists are blaming the floods on climate change and saying that this has caused kangaroos to flee to habitats that would normally be of no interest to them. Do you believe global warming is the cause of the Great Kangaroo-Scrotum Shortage?
You’d have to be pretty dumb to not notice the signs. I’m 72, and if you talk to the older people, they say, “Oh, everything is changing, we weren’t getting these cyclones as regular as we are now.” A cyclone might have hit the coast once every seven years, but now it’s once every few. So many things are pointing to a change—scientists have been saying this for years.
Where are all the kangaroos heading now?
They head inland away from the lower-lying areas. By instinct or whatever, I don’t know, they know they can get trapped in the lowlands. The ones left behind are the younger, which are not so smart, and of course their scrotums are not big enough for what I need.
What will you do if they don’t come back?
I am stockpiling a lot of scrotums; I’ve probably got about 50,000 in storage. We process about 1,000 a week, so we have a 12-month supply there. And we’re buying them as soon as they become available. The basis of my successful business is having all products. If I haven’t got them, I’m out of business.
So you’re prepared for an environmental scrotum crisis of immense proportions?
I’m well aware of climate change. I think we create heat and it’s affecting the world. I plan ahead, but I take things one day at a time. I can afford to at my age.
Read more from our The World Hates You Issue: