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For Immediate Release, February 26, 2009

Contact: Randy Serraglio, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 784-1504 (cell)

Center for Biological Diversity Announces Support for
Global Population Speak Out

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity today announced its support for the Global Population Speak Out, a collaborative effort by scientists, activists, and others worldwide to highlight the issue of overpopulation in efforts to restore the planet’s ecological health. February 2009 has been declared a month of action and communication on this crucial, but often ignored issue.

“For many years now the issue of human population size and growth has been the elephant in the room,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate at the Center. “But overpopulation is really at the root of virtually all of the ecological threats facing our planet, and it needs to be addressed. Species extinction, pollution, resource depletion, and — the biggest threat of all — climate change can all be traced back to unsustainable population growth.”

The Center has won protection for more than 350 species and hundreds of millions of acres of habitat over the past 20 years. But that work could be overwhelmed by the ongoing effects of unsustainable population growth, as too many people compete for too few resources and create too many burdens for already stressed ecosystems. The correlation between human population growth and species extinction has been clearly documented.

Humans now use up to 40 percent of the world’s Net Primary Productivity, a measure of energy from the sun that is converted into life-sustaining resources by photosynthesis. “With one species commanding so much of the available sustenance, it is no wonder so many other species are disappearing,” said Serraglio.

“A whole range of extinctions can be tied directly to the energy, housing, food, and other resource demands of our burgeoning population,” said Serraglio. “The Yangtze River dolphin, Atlantic gray whale, West African black rhino, Merriam’s elk, California grizzly bear, silver trout, blue pike, dusky seaside sparrow, and many others have succumbed to unsustainable human population growth.”

The extinction crisis threatens to grow exponentially with the onset of climate change, exacerbated by the skyrocketing energy demands of a rapidly growing global populace. “Many of us are working hard to reduce our carbon footprints,” said Serraglio. “But in the end, unless we get a handle on runaway population growth, it may simply become a case of too many feet.”

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