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No. 25, November 23, 2012

In This Issue:

A New Face for the Campaign
United Nations: Family Planning a Universal Human Right
Hellbender Takes the Spotlight

A New Face for the Campaign

Greetings from Miami. My name is Jerry Karnas, and I'm the Center for Biological Diversity's new population campaign director. I hail from Florida, a place to which about 1,000 people move every day -- we know something about population pressure.

The number of people calling Florida home doubles about every 20 years. With 18 million people now and a projected 36 million in another generation, Florida's in many ways a perfect poster child for the effects of unfettered, unplanned growth on biodiversity. I've seen firsthand how this hurt some of the state's most extraordinary species, including panthers, sea turtles and manatees.

As a 12-year veteran of Florida's environmental movement I've fought for clean water, clean air, a healthy climate, manatees, panthers, clean energy, smart growth, land conservation and the Everglades. Each of these issues is directly connected to Florida's unsustainable economic model, rampant population growth and voracious consumption of natural resources. But population growth and its many impacts were never incorporated into these campaigns. It's time for that to change.

The Center for Biological Diversity has boldly identified population as a major driver of the species extinction crisis and a major threat to our country's ecological heritage. My job is to forge these fruitful beginnings into a full-fledged, national campaign.

I'm confident that with your help in the coming months and years, more people, more environmentalists, more environmental groups and ultimately policymakers will recognize population growth as a crucial environmental issue to tackle. Stay tuned, stay connected and keep active.

United Nations: Family Planning a Universal Human Right

Score one for the new world order! Black helicopter fans rejoice! The United Nations Population Fund just released its annual State of World Population 2012 report. The report declares for the first time in its history that family planning is an essential human right -- and details the benefits not just to women, families and communities but to natural resources.

"Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. "Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women's increased labour-force participation boosts nations' economies."

We couldn't agree more. Let's hope in 2013 U.S. policymakers heed the UN's clarion call -- family planning and access to contraception in the United States shouldn't be the political football they were in 2012.

Hellbender Takes the Spotlight

Cue a sad and lonely bluegrass banjo ditty. "When you’re feeling tender…think about the hellbender...."

Our friends at the Endangered Species Coalition highlighted the Ozark hellbender, of Endangered Species Condoms fame, in a groundbreaking new report examining the top 10 species in the country threatened by a lack of clean, fresh water.

The hellbender, capable of growing longer than 2 feet, is North America's largest amphibian. It's also declined by 75 percent since the 1980s. These critters are totally dependent on cold, clean water -- which is exactly what overdevelopment, climate change and pollution have threatened to take from them. The Center secured Endangered Species Act protections for the Ozark hellbender in 2011 and is currently fighting to gain protections for the eastern hellbender as well. You can check out our work to save hundreds of amphibians and reptiles here.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for news on how you can get a fresh batch of Endangered Species Condoms for the end of the year.

Hasta la victoria,

Jerry Karnas

Jerry Karnas
Population Campaign Director

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

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Hellbender condom packaging design by Lori Lieber, artwork by Roger Peet; (c) 2012.