No. 36, Nov. 15, 2013
In This Issue:
Introducing the Second Half of Team Pop X
A lot has happened in the month since I introduced myself to you. The 7 billionth baby turned 2 years old (check out my blog about it at The Huffington Post), we added about 6.5 million more people to the planet, and the Center welcomed another new member to our Population and Sustainability team.
I'm pleased to introduce Taralynn Reynolds, our new population and sustainability organizer. Here are a few words from her:
It's estimated that every 24 hours, 150 to 200 species become extinct. Half of the Earth's forest cover has already disappeared. As the human population hurtles toward 10 billion, more people need more space, more housing, more water and more land for food and recreation. I wonder if there will be any room left for the wild animals, plants and places we love.
That's why I'm excited to be joining the Center's Population and Sustainability program. Now's the time for a real conversation on human population growth and its impact on the environment. As a conservationist and animal advocate, I can't wait to work with allies from the environmental, animal welfare, social and reproductive justice movements -- and YOU -- to bring these issues front and center.
So as we launch new projects and materials, we'll be calling on you for help -- to share the message with your friends and family on social media, at home, at work and wherever you are in the world.
The Lost Frogs
Here's the good news: More than 441 new species of animals and plants were discovered in the Amazon rainforest over the past four years. These fascinating new additions include a vegetarian piranha and a "titi" monkey who purrs like a cat.
The bad news: Many of these "new" species are already in danger. The peaceful veggie piranha's river faces a dim future because of dams and mining; the critically endangered purring monkey doesn't have much to purr about with its home being razed for agriculture. And then there's a newly discovered tiny poison dart frog whose Latin name, Allobates amissibilis, partly translates as "may be lost." This forlorn frog, no sooner found than possibly lost, lives in an area targeted for tourism.
It's a reminder that humans need to leave room on the planet not only for the species we know, but for all the amazing animals and plants we don't even yet know exist. Instead of just adding these discoveries to the list of endangered species, what if we added them to the list of reasons to talk about common-sense solutions to runaway population growth?
Check out this slideshow of some of the newly discovered -- and newly endangered -- species.
Wildflower vs. U.S. Military
Near the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a small yellow wildflower is fighting for its life. The Vandenberg monkeyflower, only found in Santa Barbara County, faces threats from the military base, as well as development, fire and climate change. All that human activity has also brought invasive plants to the monkeyflower's battlefield.
After waiting for reinforcements since 2010, the Vandenberg monkeyflower finally has help coming. A couple weeks ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the rare plant, which includes 5,785 acres of protected habitat. This proposal results from a 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed up decisions on 757 imperiled plants and animals across the country, many of which -- like the monkeyflower -- face threats from human population growth.
Read more about the proposal.
How Many People Can One State Hold?
Vermont is known for its beautiful fall colors, local maple syrup and delicious ice cream. And here's the latest notable fact: It just became the first state in the union to determine its sustainable population size.
Vermonters for a Sustainable Population recently analyzed 15 different indicators to define what a sustainable population means for their state, including the impact of human population size on biodiversity. The resulting landmark report is becoming an important tool in the national conversation about how population pressure affects both humans and wildlife in a given area. The Utah Population and Environment Coalition is already considering following in Vermont's footsteps with its own report.
So what's Vermont's magic number? Well, it varies depending on the indicator, but the state's current population of approximately 626,000 people falls wide of the 500,000 sustainable average in the report, and even wider of the 310,000 projected to sustain other species.
Download the full report on VSP's website.
The Carbon Hoofprint on Your Dinner Plate
In the fight against climate change, one culprit keeps sneaking under the radar: cows. They may look innocent with those big, doleful eyes and lazy grazing, but they're responsible for huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Adding up the acres of land razed for pastures and growing feed, plus the massive amounts of methane bovines emit from both ends, cows leave enormous carbon hoofprints.
As population grows, so does the demand for meat. But it doesn't have to be that way. Robert Goodland, author of a new peer-reviewed article called "A fresh look at livestock greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential in Europe," says that replacing just 25 percent of livestock production with alternatives would meet Europe's international climate goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We can start changing the system right now, right on our own dinner plates. Reducing meat consumption not only lowers that carbon hoofprint, but also frees up land that can be reverted to grasslands and forests to give wild species back their homes.
Download the article.
Hang in There, Polar Bear... More Endangered Species Condoms Coming Soon!
'Tis the season for a lot of things, including getting cozy. About nine months from now, the United States will hit its peak birth month -- making this an opportune moment to start spreading the word about the impact of human population growth on other species.
How do you get people at holiday parties talking about human population and the extinction crisis? Try handing them a couple of condoms wrapped in colorful endangered species images. Our Endangered Species Condoms help people make the connection between their holiday cheer and the survival of other species.
Stay tuned for details on how you can help share the joy of Endangered Species Condoms this season. Because polar bears shouldn't have to be afraid of mistletoe.
Until next time,
Population and Sustainability Director
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 Endangered Species Condoms, click here. If you'd like more information on the Center's human population campaign, visit our website. To make a donation, click here. Specific population-related questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow a few days for a response. To stop receiving Pop X, click here.
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Photo credits: cow courtesy Flickr/Massimo Regonati; Taralynn Reynolds staff photo; dusky titi monkey courtesy Flickr/cliff1066; Vandenberg monkeyflower courtesy USFWS; Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont courtesy Wikimedia Commons/USDA; cows courtesy Flickr/Scoobymoo; Endangered Species Condoms design (c) Lori Lieber and artwork (c) Roger Peet.