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No. 8, June 24, 2011

In This Issue:

As 7 Billion Approaches, Speak Out on World Population Day
Dangerous Combination: Population Growth, Climate Change
World's Oceans Feeling Our Effects



As 7 Billion Approaches, Speak Out on World Population Day

World Population Day is July 11 -- a great time to raise your voice about one of the most critical issues facing our planet. Initiated by the United Nations in 1989, when human global population was just 5 billion, the day is designed to raise awareness about the impacts of population growth on people and the environment. This year, as the global population rapidly approaches 7 billion people, the event will be observed around the world with educational forums and other public events aimed at highlighting the importance of family planning, gender equality, maternal health and human rights in the effort to address unsustainable population growth.

Here in the United States, it's a great opportunity for people, governments and local groups to reach out to their communities and peers and start a dialogue about how these issues play out at home and around the world. It could be as easy as writing a letter to the editor or contacting your elected representatives to ask what they're doing to help stabilize population growth. You could even host a backyard BBQ and get the conversation going there.

Learn more about the overpopulation crisis and how it's affecting plants and animals around the world. Then find out more about World Population Day and check out some sample letters to the editor.


Dangerous Combination: Population Growth, Climate Change

The New York Times came out with a startling story recently about the difficulty of feeding the world in the face of climate change and a rapidly growing human population. The story noted that while demand grows for more food, climate change is actually curbing yields of several staple crops. It's a dangerous combination, according to the Times: "Farmers need to withstand whatever climate shocks come their way while roughly doubling the amount of food they produce to meet rising demand."

These kinds of complex problems are likely to increase as the world's human population skyrockets and the world's resources continue to shrink. Population growth drives consumption of our natural resources, which in turn competes with the needs of plants and animals around the globe, worsening the ongoing global extinction crisis. Our overpopulation campaign -- and your participation -- has helped kick-start the conversation, but, as the latest news reveals, there's urgent need for action on this crucial issue.

Read more in The New York Times.


World's Oceans Feeling Our Effects

Most of our planet is covered in water, so it comes as no surprise that booming human population growth is having a major impact on our oceans.

An international panel of experts released a study this week that sharpens the focus on the plight of the Earth's oceans, and the driving influence of unsustainable population growth is right in the thick of it. This International Program on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) study is the first ever to consider the cumulative impacts of all the stresses on the world's oceans, including overfishing, pollution, oxygen-depleted dead zones (hypoxia), acidification and warming resulting from climate change. IPSO's scientists found that the oceans are in deeper trouble than previously thought.

The science director at IPSO called the findings "shocking," saying: "As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean, the implications became far worse than we had individually realized. This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level." The study warns that entire marine ecosystems are at risk, and "unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean." All of the factors driving this crisis are generated and compounded by the pressure that 7 billion people (and growing) are exerting on our oceans.

Get more on the study from Reuters and IUCN.org. And check out the Center's campaign to save the world's oceans.


Until next month,

Randy Serraglio
Overpopulation Campaign Coordinator


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

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Fish in anemone photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/John Hanson.