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Florida panther

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No. 14, December 16, 2011

In This Issue:

More People Means Fewer Panthers
Insurance Coverage of Birth Control Under Attack
Family Planning Cuts Costs
Overpopulation Holiday E-card

More People Means Fewer Panthers

This past Thanksgiving I joined my family in Florida. While I was there, I took a drive to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in the heart of Florida's Big Cypress Swamp. When the refuge was established in 1989 only about 40 panthers still existed in Florida, long since hunted into obscurity and cut off by development.

These gorgeous creatures are very slowly, steadily increasing their number -- now around 100 -- but not nearly as fast as the human population, predicted to jump by another 50 percent by 2030.

But numbers don't speak to the feeling of being on the ground in Collier County. After exploring the refuge, I drove a few miles to a massive development that broke ground in 2006, passing through a pair of pretentious-nouveau gates and parking in the center of the artificially historic village. Clusters of generic houses extended for miles, surrounded by expansive golf courses -- a landscape sanitized for our protection. Inside the Welcome Center, a map of the development showed a mind-numbing multiplication of cookie-cutter homes, but no place for vanishing panthers.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been working to stop this kind of population growth from jeopardizing our only chance to save Florida's state animal from extinction. When I got back from the trip, I made a short video based on my visit -- check it out. I'll be sharing videos for the next few months as I go see for myself where endangered animals and plants are facing down the creep of overpopulation.

Insurance Coverage of Birth Control Under Attack

Back in August we mentioned a crystal-clear announcement by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius that birth control would be legally mandated for insurance coverage under President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare bill. Well, churches are exempt from the law. And Catholic leaders have used the policy to rally anti-choice activists and put major pressure on the Obama administration to include all hospitals, clinics or academic institutions with a religious affiliation in that exemption. The movement continues despite reports from the Guttmacher Institute showing that more than 99 percent of all sexually active women in the United States have used birth control in their lives regardless of religion.

To put this in real-world terms: This past month we learned that students at Fordham University recently found out that their Catholic-affiliated university would no longer be offering birth control to students enrolled in the school insurance plan. A group of law students decided to take action and are opening an off-campus clinic for students who choose to use birth control. We were so inspired by their tenacity that we shipped off a few hundred Endangered Species Condoms to add to their clinic stock.

To stay updated on our work to ensure equal access to family planning, check out our Facebook and Twitter feed.

Family Planning Cuts Costs

This past month, two major international meetings have taken place in Africa: the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, and the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. Although the merge of these two critical issues seems as far off right now as actually implementing an effective international climate treaty, several reports show the cost effectiveness of supporting family-planning initiatives is a key climate change solution. Only 1 percent of U.S. tax revenues goes to international aid, and just a small fraction of that actually goes to supporting family-planning and women's empowerment programs.

The Center's efforts to address the rate of species going extinct due to U.S. overpopulation have important implications abroad. The United States carries a heavy weight for the success of international negotiations and funding. You can explore these connections and others on our resource page.

Overpopulation Holiday Card for the People You Love and the People They Love

What gift keeps on giving all year round? A commitment to family planning.

So remind your friends and family this holiday season -- when it comes to birth control, it's the forethought that counts.

The Center for Biological Diversity created this festive holiday e-card especially for subscribers of Pop X. So please, show your friends you care about them and all of Earth's creatures. Click here to send a free overpopulation holiday card today.

Less is more,

Amy Harwood

Amy Harwood
Overpopulation Campaign Coordinator

Center for Biological Diversity | P.O. Box 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710

This is an unmonitored email address, please do not reply. To sign up for condoms, click here. If you'd like more information on the Center's overpopulation campaign, visit our website. To make a donation, click here. Specific population-related questions can be directed to population@biologicaldiversity.org. Please allow a few days for a response. To stop receiving Pop X, click here.

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Florida panther photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.