Pop X: Population, Sustainability and a Wilder Future for All.
Joshua Tree National Park

We've passed the one-month mark in what has become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The effects can be felt across the country. Government employees are being forced to work without pay, and important programs like food-safety inspections and federal loans have been halted.

The shutdown has also hit wildlife and wild places hard. Many national parks were left open but unstaffed, leading to a free-for-all of overflowing garbage, off-roading and destruction. Natural areas have been used as toilets as the facilities are closed. Agencies tasked with monitoring and responding to wildlife-disease outbreaks have been significantly understaffed and unable to do their job.

This shutdown could cause lasting damage to the environment and the economy, adding to the work piling up for federal employees who are furloughed. Read on to learn about the native bees threatened by the border wall at the center of the shutdown, as well as some of the work ahead for Congress.

For the wild,

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. Today's world population is: 7,677,767,977. We can still save room for wildlife — spread the word and share this email.

Pillow Talk event

Crowded Planet / Valentine's Day is the perfect time to show wildlife some love, which is why we're giving away Endangered Species Condoms at Pillow Talk events across the country.

We're also looking for volunteers to help distribute condoms in the 10 best cities to get married in. If you've got an idea for helping spread the word that safe sex saves wildlife in Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Portland, drop us a line.

U.S. Capitol

Population / New Hope for Reproductive Rights

The U.S. Census Bureau usually rings in the New Year with an announcement of how many people are currently living in the United States. But thanks to Trump and the government shutdown, that hasn't happened yet.

Even without the latest estimate, we know that nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. And as our population grows and reckless development accelerates, wildlife is feeling the squeeze.

Yet the newly seated Congress has the opportunity to increase funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights and remove barriers globally and domestically to improve access to contraception.

Read my latest article on Medium for how the new class of elected officials brings hope for real leadership.


Wild Energy / Solar for All?

One of the benefits of solar energy is its potential to overcome the injustices inflicted on communities of color by the fossil fuel economy. For now, a recent study by researchers from Tufts University and the University of California, Berkeley confirms what many have suspected: Everyone doesn't have equal access to the sun.

Even when factors such as income and home ownership are accounted for, there are significant racial and ethnic disparities among rooftop-solar adopters. And with 78 to 90 percent of management and executive positions at solar companies held by white people, there are key structural issues and inherent biases that will have to be addressed to ensure an equitable and just transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy.

Read more about the study and efforts to make solar more inclusive.

COP24 menu item

Earth-friendly Diet / Food Policy Is Climate Policy

The analysis of the meat-heavy menu at the latest United Nations climate talks — released last month by the Center, along with Brighter Green and Farm Forward — highlighted the lack of attention paid to food policy in climate negotiations.

The science is clear: We urgently need to reduce emissions across sectors to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and we can't meet global climate targets without addressing what we grow and eat.

Read more about why meat and dairy reduction must be on the table at climate talks and how governments can create a food system that supports the health of people, communities and the natural world.

Washington D.C. solar

Endangered Species / Bees vs. Border Wall

The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas is home to the greatest number and variety of wild butterflies in the country. Scientists recently found that it's also home to hundreds of native bee species, some of which exist nowhere else in the United States. These already-vulnerable pollinators are at risk of being devastated by Trump's proposed border wall.

If built, the wall would cut through sensitive habitat, making about two-thirds of it inaccessible to the sanctuary. Despite this being private property, crews have already begun cutting down trees. As the fight to stop the border wall continues, read more in The Revelator about the bees facing down Trump's bulldozers.

Applebee's protest

Take Action / Ask Applebee's for Plant-based Options

More people are eating out or buying prepared meals than eating at home. That means we need better, greener options everywhere we eat, including restaurants. While casual dining chains such as Chili's, TGI Fridays and Red Robin offer plant-based burgers, entrée salads and pastas, Applebee's remains the largest U.S. restaurant chain without a single plant-based entrée on the menu.

Last month we asked you to send Applebee's CEO a holiday card asking for the gift of plant-based options on the restaurant's menu. Now we need your help to keep the pressure on. This week, diners across the country are calling Applebee's to show that customers want choices that are better for their health and the planet. We've provided a script to help you make the call to tell Applebee's you'd like to see a plant-based entrée on the menu.


Five Wild Picks / Resolutions for the Planet

By the end of January, one-third of New Year's resolutions will have already been abandoned. But with the climate crisis at our doorstep, we owe it to ourselves and the planet to commit to taking action year-round. Here are five resolutions each of us can make that reduce our carbon footprints, shift markets and influence policymakers:

1) Eat less meat and dairy. Every time you sit down to eat, you can choose plant-based foods that are healthier for you and the planet.

2) Go solar. Even if you can't put solar panels on your roof, you can support the solar revolution by investing in community solar or urging your local utility to support rooftop-solar expansion.

3) Change up your commute. Cut down your daily tailpipe emissions by walking, biking, carpooling or choosing public transit whenever possible.

4) Practice safe sex. By using contraception, you can ensure that you only add to your family if and when you're ready.

5) Get politically involved. No matter how committed we are to our resolutions, our ability to stick with them is shaped by the policies that determine whether climate-friendly choices are available. Tell your representatives to make climate action a priority.

Read more and share your resolutions.

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Photo credits: Joshua Tree National Park by javi_velazquez/Flickr; Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; Pillow Talk event by ErickMarchello; U.S. Capitol by vgm8383/Flickr; sunflower by ronan_jouve/Flickr; COP24 menu item by rangmoon/Wikimedia; bee collage © 2018 Ross Eatman and Paula Sharp (used with permission); Applebee's protest courtesy One Meal A Day; bicyclist by danielfoster/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702
United States