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Negotiating the Future of Life on Earth
From Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Program Director
Right now world leaders are meeting in Montreal to negotiate a framework to guide global conservation efforts. The negotiations for this “Paris agreement for nature” are taking place as the International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that 28% of wild plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Center for Biological Diversity campaigners are at the summit pushing for the bold, urgent action needed to stop the extinction crisis.
This biodiversity summit comes less than a month after human population surpassed 8 billion — yet the framework ignores population pressure. In an op-ed for the Montreal Gazette, I discuss how population pressure and the biodiversity crisis are intertwined and why we need to acknowledge their connection to create a world where people and wildlife can thrive.
Read on for the latest population news, tips for a less wasteful holiday, and a newly released report on the environmental cost of leather.
Americans generate 23% more waste in December than in other months. Read more about holiday waste at the table in this month’s Food X, our newsletter about the complex world of sustainable food.
Skip the Last-Minute Shopping
A national survey we conducted this year found that 90% of people in the United States agree that the holidays are too materialistic, and nearly 9 out of 10 think the holidays should be more about family and caring for others — not giving and getting gifts. But there’s a huge gap between these values and the pressure of holiday consumerism.
Center campaigner Kelley Dennings spoke to Sierra magazine about how we can choose to opt out of the excess of holiday shopping to reduce the season’s stress on ourselves and the planet. It’s not too late to reimagine your gift list and simplify your holidays.
Here’s one thing you can do: Help us shape the future of sustainable holidays by filling out this short survey.
New York Times Profiles Population Advocate
The New York Times recently published a profile of a fellow population advocate, Les Knight, founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Though the group has a provocative name, it works for many of the same solutions the Center does, including universal access to contraception. The first line of the story sets the tone: “For someone who wants his own species to go extinct, Les Knight is a remarkably happy-go-lucky human.”
The profile draws attention to the population issue in a major media outlet while humanizing those of us who work on it. In the piece I’m quoted discussing the enormous pressure that population growth puts on the plants and animals who share this planet and how population-related advocacy helps fight the extinction crisis.
Read and share the article.
We’re looking for a creative, well-organized associate to join our groundbreaking population and sustainability team. The population and sustainability associate will manage innovative campaigns like our Endangered Species Condoms to highlight the connections between human population pressure, reproductive freedom and the wildlife extinction crisis. They’ll also manage Simplify the Holidays, the SoKind alternative gift registry and other campaigns that challenge the U.S. culture of consumerism. Ideal candidates will have strong communication skills; a commitment to justice, advancing human rights and protecting biodiversity; and the sense of humor needed to oversee a project with condom-related puns.
Learn more, share the job posting, and apply online.
Family Planning Influenced by Climate Crisis
A new survey from ABC News found that nearly one-quarter of Americans are reconsidering having children due to the climate crisis. The sentiment is even more prevalent among people under 35. The survey also found that 1 in 10 people have considered adoption instead of having a biological child because of climate concerns. Other recent surveys have shown similar results, with some finding as many as one-third of respondents factoring the climate into their family-planning decisions. Research shows that people are concerned about both the future their potential children will face and those children’s impact on the planet.
Here’s one thing you can do: Watch our Contraception Conversation videos, featuring people who are childfree by choice, to learn more about what influenced their decisions.
Report Exposes Environmental Cost of Leather
Collective Fashion Justice has just released a report on how the leather industry harms the planet. It outlines everything from the ecological destruction caused by grazing cattle to the toxic chemicals used in tanning processes. It also dispels one of the greatest myths about leather: that it’s merely a byproduct of the beef industry. The reality is that leather is extremely profitable for slaughterhouses, accounting for as much as 26% of earnings. The report also found that rather than being an environmentally beneficial way to reduce carcass waste, leather production produces more greenhouse gas emissions than if skins were sent to the landfill.
Collective Fashion Justice makes it clear that fossil fuel-based alternatives aren’t the solution, and that the leather industry should shift toward truly sustainable materials. And it’s in their best interest to do that — demand for cow-based leather is predicted to drop by as much as 70% in the coming decade.
Here’s one thing you can do: Read more about the injustices of leather production and how you can help.
Wildlife Spotlight: Dugong
Dugongs, like manatees, are nicknamed “sea cows” for the way they graze seagrasses on the ocean floor. They live in warm coastal waters, and though they look like they may be cousins of whales, they’re actually more closely related to elephants. They can live for 70 years when they’re not threatened by human activity.
The dugong population in East Africa was just added to the IUCN Red List as critically endangered. In addition to facing threats from fishing-gear entanglement and boat strikes, now they’re losing the seagrasses they survive on — which are being destroyed by fossil fuel exploration, pollution and coastal development. The Center has fought for nearly 20 years to save dugongs further north, threatened by U.S. military operations in Japan’s Heneko Bay.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702