COVID-19 is deeply affecting communities as schools are closed, local businesses are shuttered, and people practice social distancing to stem the outbreak. Amid the rapidly breaking news and uncertainty over what the immediate future will bring, I can't help thinking about the long-term effects on our work for a more sustainable world.

Although it's too early to fully understand how the coronavirus will affect our health and food systems, we're closely monitoring the situation. We've reached out to grocery companies, for example, to assess how food waste can be reduced despite shifting demands. The Guttmacher Institute published a thoughtful analysis on what the outbreak might mean for reproductive health and rights, particularly the toll on healthcare workers and the availability of contraceptives.

Even as we're taking care of our staff and loved ones, we won't stop fighting to protect the wild. Stay healthy, and thanks for your continued support in these challenging times.

For the wild,

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. Today's world population is: 7,773,337,558. We can still save room for wildlife — spread the word and share this email.


A javelina raced its way into internet fame this past month when a realtor captured a video of the frightened animal running past a Tucson apartment complex. The viral video was featured on SportsCenter, viewed thousands of times and set to dozens of soundtracks. While the notoriety may have brought awareness to less familiar wild animals in our midst, sprawling cities often leave wildlife feeling lost and scared in human-dominated habitats.


Looking Beyond the Obvious for Climate Solutions

Project Drawdown's groundbreaking framework of 100 climate solutions brought attention to the importance of reproductive rights, education for women and girls, plant-rich diets and reducing food waste as key components of the fight against climate disruption. In its newly released review, interventions that can ease population pressure and improve food systems are still key.

The new report encourages people to embrace solutions that don't get as much attention and to look "beyond technology, to natural and social systems." It cites the benefits of plant-rich diets and food-waste reduction for stopping deforestation and curbing food-related emissions, as well as the importance of reproductive healthcare and education.

Here's one thing you can do: Urge your local officials, universities and businesses to include reducing meat and dairy consumption, fighting food waste and ensuring access to reproductive healthcare in their climate-action plans.

International Women's Day

Honoring Women and #EachforEqual

When March was first established as Women's History Month in 1981, there were fewer than two dozen women in Congress and contraception wasn't as widely available. Today there are 127 women in Congress, including many who are leading voices. Yet access to family planning is still a political chess piece.

This year's theme for International Women's Day, which was March 8, was #EachforEqual. It highlighted how individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Population campaigner Kelley Dennings writes about the importance of recognizing how individual family planning can influence healthcare policies, which in turn can lessen the effect of our growing population on the planet.

Here's one thing you can do: Join Planned Parenthood in pledging to protect the Title X program that provides affordable reproductive healthcare and family planning services.


Study: Beef Driving Western Droughts

Beef requires more water to produce than any other food, largely due to the amount needed to grow feed crops. That water has to come from somewhere. And in much of the western United States that means the Colorado River, home to several threatened and endangered species. New research has found that a quarter of all water consumed in the United States goes to irrigating feed crops for cattle. But in the West, cattle feed uses one-third of the water consumed and more than half of that in the Colorado River Basin.

River depletion from irrigating feed crops puts more than 50 species at risk of extinction and has been linked to more than 700 instances of fish species disappearing from local watersheds. It's not just feed crops that pit beef production against riparian wildlife: A new Center report shows that cattle grazing is causing widespread and severe damage on Arizona's Verde River.

Here's one thing you can do: Most of the beef and milk produced in the West goes to cities like Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. But no matter where you live, reducing your beef consumption by 90% can help curb cattle production and ease pressure on wildlife habitat.

Power lines

575 Groups Call to Halt Utility Shutoffs

Hundreds of public-interest groups came together this week to urge state governors, mayors and utility regulators to stop electricity and water shutoffs in response to the coronavirus crisis and resulting job losses. With the closures of stores, restaurants and other businesses, many families will lose their source of income and likely face challenges in affording basic utility services. The fallout from this crisis will disproportionately hurt low-wealth households, communities of color and indigenous communities.

So far fewer than half of all states and only a handful of cities have paused various utility shutoffs. In addition to addressing the immediate need, the groups also urged leaders to tackle the underlying issues driving common shutoffs by increasing distributed clean energy and establishing payment plans to enhance energy and climate resilience for families.

Here's one thing you can do: While utilities are taking advantage of the people hit hardest by the pandemic, the fossil fuel industry is trying to cash in on government payouts. Tell your elected officials to 1) stop utilities from cutting off electricity and water to homes and 2) push for more equitable clean energy systems to address the issues leading to these shutoffs.


Seafood Ban Expanded to Save Vaquitas

Only about 10 vaquita porpoises remain on Earth, driven to the brink of extinction by entanglement in deadly fishing gear in their Gulf of California home. In an effort to save these critically endangered porpoises, the U.S. government has announced it will ban imports of Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught in the northern Gulf. The ban will put economic pressure on the Mexican government to finally crack down on the illegal fishing and dangerous nets that are entangling, drowning and killing vaquitas.

Here's one thing you can do: Tell Mexico's government to permanently remove all gillnets in vaquita habitat.

San Joaquin kit fox

Wildlife Spotlight: San Joaquin Kit Fox

The San Joaquin kit fox is the smallest member of the dog family in North America. These pups have relatively long legs and big ears and once romped throughout grassland, scrubland and wetland communities in California's San Joaquin Valley. But development of the valley led to extensive habitat loss.

San Joaquin kit foxes are also threatened by pesticides used in agriculture. Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency issued new rules for assessing pesticide risks that ignore many of the common ways that wildlife like the kit fox are harmed and killed by pesticides. As part of our work to transform the food system, the Center fights to save the San Joaquin kit fox and other vulnerable species from toxic pesticides.

Follow Us
 Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Instagram  Medium

Center for Biological Diversity   |   Saving Life on Earth

Donate now to support the Center's work.

Photo credits: Coronavirus illustration by mattthewafflecat/Pixabay; Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; javelina by ladouseur/Flickr; vegetables via Pixabay; International Women's Day by Pol Davila/Flickr; cattle by Bob Nichols/Flickr; power lines by Martin Kenny Flickr; vaquita by Barbara Taylor/NOAA; San Joaquin kit fox courtesy USFWS.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702
United States