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Endangered Species Condoms

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No. 38, Jan. 17, 2014

In This Issue:

BBC Asks Center Director: Are There Too Many People on Earth?
New Op-ed: The Future Is Thirsty
Scientists Propose Cut of Meat Sales for Uncle Sam
Throw Bluefin Tuna a Lifeline -- Take Action
A Wild Start to 2014

BBC Asks Center Director: Are There Too Many People on Earth?

The world's first, and still most respected, broadcasting company recently flew Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling across the pond for a special edition of the program Shared Planet. The topic for discussion: Are there too many people for wildlife to thrive?

In front of a live audience in the Great Hall of the University of Bristol, Kierán sparred with overpopulation denier Fred Pearce over whether our growing population and consumption are crushing wildlife populations and driving plants and animals extinct at a catastrophic rate.

Earth"We cannot bring back the thousands of plants and animals we've already driven extinct," Kierán said during his opening comments. "But we can ensure that those still alive today will survive. Indeed we have an ethical responsibility to do so. The good news is this will also produce a more fair, more just, more sustainable human society, and one more connected to wildlife and the natural world."

In the course of the conversation, the debaters fielded questions on cows, contraception and climate change -- some our favorite topics here in the Population and Sustainability program.

Listen to the population debate on the BBC.

New Op-ed: The Future Is Thirsty

Drinking waterThe same global warming that sent Arctic weather wandering south in that crazy polar vortex earlier this month is making it hard for rivers in other parts of the country to keep up with the demand of growing populations. The Colorado River, for instance, already supplies 40 million people in seven states -- a population that's expected to nearly double at the same time temperatures keep rising.

The stressed rivers in the United States aren't alone. A new report predicts that a small increase in global temperatures could leave one-fifth of the world's population without enough water. Officials admit this is a problem, and their solutions range from the reasonable "we're all going to have to use less water" to the absurd, involving icebergs wrapped in bags and tugged down the coast from Alaska to California.

As usual, there's a key factor missing from the conversation: the need to curb population growth.

Check out my Huffington Post op-ed to read more about our thirsty future and real, common-sense solutions for a planet where people and wildlife thrive.

Scientists Propose Cut of Meat Sales for Uncle Sam

CowLivestock are a notorious source of environmental destruction, from greenhouse gas emissions to land and water use. The only real way to reduce the industry's impact on the environment and other species is to reduce the demand for meat.

A group of scientists who recently published a paper on meat production and climate change agree. They suggest that one way to make that happen is a tax on meat: Giving a cut of meat sales to Uncle Sam would drive up their price, making more consumers reconsider how much meat they really need. Unsurprisingly, industry representatives were less than thrilled by the idea.

Whether or not a tax scheme is the answer, we need to reduce meat consumption if we're going to address global warming and other urgent problems facing our planet. Stay tuned in the next few months as we roll out our Earth-friendly diet campaign, with more information on why this is such a critical issue and how to reduce your diet's environmental footprint.

Read more about the proposal to fight climate change with a meat tax.

Throw Bluefin Tuna a Lifeline -- Take Action

Bluefin tunaBluefin tuna made world headlines again with the annual auction in Tokyo of the year's first bluefin tuna. The price? $70,000 U.S. It's far less than last year's pricetag, but it's still a blatant case of conspicuous consumption.

What these fish need is a lifeline. Instead Atlantic bluefin tuna continue to face overfishing, while populations of Pacific bluefin tuna have dropped by 96.4 percent compared to unfished levels.

Not every bluefin tuna sale makes headlines. In fact, some of them happen right on Amazon.com, where bluefin tuna is sold frozen and in cans right alongside the latest bestsellers.

It's time for consumers to take matters into our own hands. Take action now to ask Amazon and its wholesalers to stop selling bluefin tuna.

A Wild Start to 2014

Seahorse Endangered Species CondomsFrom Alabama to Alaska, our Endangered Species Condoms were a hit over the holidays at events and in the media, starting thousands of conversations across the country about the link between human population growth and the species extinction crisis.

After starting the New Year with the milestone of half a million condoms given away for free since 2009, we're not slowing down. This year will bring new campaigns and more opportunities to get involved with the Endangered Species Condoms project. And we want your ideas. Want to make a video or stage a photo shoot featuring the condoms? Have another creative, off-the-wall concept to get people talking about Endangered Species Condoms and population? Email us at condoms@biologicaldiversity.org.

We'd also like to send out a big thanks to everyone who joined us in taking the New Year's pledge to ease the pressure on the planet by buying less, driving less, eating less meat, practicing safer sex, and having more discussions of the impact of humans on the environment and other species. We'll help you keep these resolutions long after everyone else has given up on their new gym memberships.

If you're late to the resolution party, there's still time to pledge to protect the planet.

Check out some of the past Endangered Species Condoms events for ideas on how you can start the conversation.

Until next time,

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director

P.S. For more population and sustainability news, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

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

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Photo credits: Endangered Species Condoms design (c) Lori Lieber and artwork (c) Roger Peet; burrowing owl by Alan Vernon; earth courtesy Wikimedia Commons/NASA; drinking fountain courtesy Flickr/Darwin Bell; cow courtesy Flickr/Nan Palmero; bluefin tuna courtesy Flickr/ Aziz T. Saltik; seahorse Endangered Species Condoms courtesy Flickr/AIDS/SIDA NB.