Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 68, July 22, 2016
Are We Pushing Biodiversity Off the Planet?

A new report offers some pretty chilling news: Our ballooning human population and rapidly growing appetite for meat may have pushed biodiversity loss past the breaking point across half the world. In other words, as we destroy natural habitats to make room for more farmland, we're crowding out wild plants and animals to the point where natural ecosystems may not be able to function right.

And that's bad news for everyone. Endangered species are disappearing at alarming rates, and putting important ecosystems in jeopardy could also spell disaster for sustainable development and food production.

So what can be done to stop our destructive ways before it's too late? Thankfully there are some common-sense solutions that can help us change course. By having safe sex and switching to a wildlife-friendly diet, we can make sure there's enough room for all of us -- humans and wildlife.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,443,737,946. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

We Stand With #BlackLivesMatter

Black Lives Matter rallyThe barrage of tragic news out of places from Orlando to St. Paul, from Baton Rouge to Dallas, has been brutal these past few weeks. At the Center we mourn the lives lost to senseless violence and racism. Words and thoughts can't bring the fallen back, but the lives of future victims hang in the balance. We must face the complex and dreadful realities of racial injustice and gun violence in our country.

The Center for Biological Diversity stands with Black Lives Matter in advocating "for dignity, justice and freedom, not murder." We believe racial justice is inextricably tied to environmental justice and reproductive justice. It is the communities disproportionately affected by racism and social injustice that also face the biggest environmental threats and have the most limited access to basics like reproductive resources, healthcare and education.

Our Population and Sustainability Program is committed to ensuring families have the tools needed to choose when, if, and how many children they will have. We're also committed to building sustainable communities that are resilient in the face of the threats of climate change and pollution and promoting justice to create the social change needed to protect the environment and all who depend on it.

Crowded Planet vlog still Kirtland's warbler
Earth Overshoot Day Is Coming

In our latest Crowded Planet vlog, the Center's Leigh Moyer is laying out a scary doomsday scenario. No, we haven't unearthed an ancient calendar, and the end of days isn't coming -- yet. But Earth Overshoot Day is almost upon us. Aug. 8 is the day when we'll have officially used up all the resources the planet can replenish in a year. After that we'll be in planetary debt -- and paying for it with interest. Check out our latest video to learn more about overshoot and what you can do to help get our account back in balance.

ESA: A Flying Success

From California condors to Puerto Rican parrots, 120 bird species have been protected by the Endangered Species Act. Recently the Center set out to discover how well the Act is working for these birds, and we found that 85 percent of the continental U.S. birds protected under the Act have increased or stabilized their population size since they were granted protection. The average population increase was 624 percent. The Endangered Species Act's extraordinary success isn't just for the birds -- 99 percent of species protected by the Act have avoided extinction. Read our latest study and learn more about these success stories on our interactive website.

End Coal Leasing on Public Lands -- Take Action
Coal mine Keep It in the Ground rally Yellowstone Park
A Dirty Job

More than 40 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands, fueling climate change and environmental devastation with public resources.

Keep It in the Ground

Approximately 95 percent of known U.S. coal reserves are unburnable and must stay in the ground to meet our climate commitments.

Urge President Obama to honor his commitment to fight climate change and support a clean energy future by ending coal leasing on public lands.

The Connection Between Population Growth and the Environment

Reproductive rights rallyIt's widely accepted -- at least in the context of conversations around runaway population growth -- that family planning and environmental sustainability are closely linked. But is this connection a scientific fact? The Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment, a project of the Worldwatch Institute, recently examined more than 900 peer-reviewed research papers published between 2005 and 2016 to find the answer.

In these hundreds of studies, the assessment found, researchers rarely examined the hypothesis that family planning benefits environmental sustainability -- so there's no clear scientific consensus. But the literature confirmed that access to, and the use of, family planning prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore slows population growth, and it asserted that population growth is an influential factor in environmental degradation.

Although the review fell short of revealing a conclusive scientific result, the consensus is that there's strong evidence connecting family planning and environmental sustainability, with almost no studies refuting the concept. More importantly, perhaps, is that the project showed that despite broad interest in the subject, there's little funding available specifically for researching these connections. And with the population hurtling toward 10 billion by mid-century, we need the scientific community to actively engage in the conversation about the effects of population growth on the environment as much as we need policymakers, educators and communities to engage.
Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; #BlackLivesMatter rally by Joe Brusky/Flickr; still from Crowded Planet video courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Kirtland's warbler by Zak Pohlen/Flickr; coal mine by Parolan Harahap/Flickr; Keep It in the Ground rally by urbanprose/Flickr; Yellowstone Park courtesy Paul Cross/USGS; reproductive rights rally by Adam Fagen/Flickr.

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