Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 66, May 21, 2016
"Extinction Facts" Labels Reveal Hidden Cost of Meat Consumption

When we go to the grocery store, nutrition facts labels make it easier to understand the personal health cost of our food choices. What's harder to know is the real cost of our diets on the planet's health. For our new "Extinction Facts" labels, we've crunched the numbers on the most popular meat products in the American diet: hamburgers, chicken breasts and bacon.

The numbers are staggering. For example, annual American bacon consumption comes at a cost of enough pig manure to fill 60,667 Olympic-sized swimming pools. But of course that manure isn't going into swimming pools -- it winds up in our waterways and polluting wildlife habitat.

These numbers come just in time for grilling season. Memorial Day is one of the highest meat consumption days of the year. Extinction Facts labels not only show the distressing cost of our addiction to eating too much meat, but also the positive difference that you can make with each serving that you choose to replace with plant-based foods. Kick off your summer with an Earth-friendlier diet.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,428,228,452. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and forward this email.

Is Your State Throwing Shade at Rooftop Solar?

Throwing ShadeSolar power is quickly revolutionizing the way we get our energy across the country, but there are a number of sunny states that are letting private interests eclipse their solar potential -- some in pretty outrageous ways.

The Center's new report, Throwing Shade, shines a light on 10 of the worst offenders: sun-drenched states that should be leading the way in the solar revolution but are instead lagging through weak, nonexistent or, in some cases, counterproductive energy policies. Together these states have more than one-third of the rooftop solar potential in the lower 48 states but currently account for less than 6 percent of what's installed.

And you might be surprised by some of the states that made the list. Florida -- the Sunshine State -- is actively blocking rooftop solar development. The state has one of the most rapidly-growing populations and is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change like sea-level rise. Rooftop solar should be a key part of a plan to address growing power demands and protect what wild spaces it has left.

Check out our report to see the other states throwing shade, and share one of our social media images if your home state made the list.

Crowded Planet video Tadpoles
Which Weighs More, the Chicken or the Elephant? -- Watch Video

In our latest Crowded Planet vlog, the Center's Leigh Moyer takes on the weighty issue of how much humans -- and the livestock we raise for food -- tip the scales against wildlife. All 7.5 billion of us plus our cows, chickens and pigs add up to a heavy footprint on the planet. The numbers are shocking, but the steps we can take to lighten our load are surprisingly easy. Check out our latest video, share with your friends and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Scary: Common Pesticide Likely Harming Most Species

Atrazine, the second most widely used pesticide in the United States, is known for being such a potent hormone disruptor that it can turn male tadpoles into female frogs, and it's been linked to birth defects and cancer in humans. Now, an EPA assessment has found that the level of atrazine released into the environment is likely harming most species of plants and animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Learn more about why the Center is calling for a ban on atrazine.

Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Promote Sustainable Diets
Extinction Facts labels Secretary Tom Vilsack Portabello burger

Research shows that we can't meet international climate targets without reducing meat and dairy consumption.

Governments around the world are urging citizens to eat less meat, while USDA continues to leave sustainability off the table.

Tell USDA to acknowledge the environmental cost of meat production and encourage a more sustainable American diet.

Maryland Leading the Way on Access to Birth Control

High fiveIt seems like there's an ever-growing list of bad state-level policies seeking to block access to reproductive health and family planning resources across the country, but a new law in Maryland offers positive news.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill earlier this month requiring insurance companies to eliminate co-pays for birth control, emergency contraceptives like the morning-after pill, as well as vasectomies for men, Buzzfeed News reports. The new bill also makes access to long-term contraceptives like IUDs easier. That means Marylanders with insurance will soon have a lot more options when deciding if and when to have children -- and how many.

And the law couldn't come at a more important time: Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Political attacks on reproductive rights are an increasing problem even though better access to contraceptives is an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And longer-term options help to eliminate human error, making them even more effective.

Maryland isn't alone in working to make contraceptive access more widely available, but most other state policies don't include vasectomies and the morning-after pill. When it comes to reproductive rights and tackling population growth, the more options the merrier. Hopefully other states will soon follow Maryland's lead.
Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; report cover courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; "Crowded Planet" video still, Center for Biological Diversity; tadpoles by the witchery/Flickr; Extinction Facts labels courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack courtesy USDA/Flickr; portobello burger by Rachel Braun; women by Jenny Lee Silver/Flickr.

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