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Sharing a Crowded Planet

More than 7.2 billion people live on the planet today. As that number grows, at a rate of 227,000 people every day, animals from bees to black bears are feeling the crunch. Everywhere we live – from megacities to sprawling suburbs to rural communities – wildlife struggles to survive amidst our ever-expanding demands for space, food and resources. We want to see what sharing a crowded planet with wildlife looks like in your neighborhood.

Join the #CrowdedPlanet campaign to help us show why it’s critical to address population growth for the planet and the wildlife we share it with. Here’s how:

  1. Snap a photo.
  2. Use the #CrowdedPlanet hashtag.
  3. Post and share on your favorite social media site.




Don’t use social media? No worries. You can email us your best shots at crowdedplanet@biologicaldiversity.org.





We want to see what our crowded planet looks like through your eyes — your furry, scaly or feathered neighbors, sprawling cities and disappearing wild spaces, and snapshots of our runaway growth and overconsumption.

Let people know where you are and don’t forget to use the #CrowdedPlanet hashtag. For this campaign horizontal photos are best. See below for examples. For more examples and ideas, check out our Instagram where we repost many #CrowdedPlanet images!

Development in Orlando, FL, photographed by Nancy Hawker. #CrowdedPlanet #nature

A photo posted by @crowdedplanet on

By submitting each of your photos and/or videos (as a "Submission"), you grant the Center for Biological Diversity a nonexclusive license and permission to use the Submission on our website, on social media sites and in other communications, as well as for media purposes. In addition, you warrant that you are the creator of the Submission or the parent/legal guardian of the creator if this person is younger than 18 years of age.

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Fifty years ago, there were 3.3 billion people on the planet. Today, there are more than 7.2 billion of us, and every day we add 227,000 more. As the world’s population grows, so do its demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for the plants and animals that share the planet and its finite resources with us.

Human population growth and wildlife extinction

Our rapid population growth and the toll it takes on the planet is a serious problem, yet it’s often left out of the conversation. By sharing your images and experiences of life on a crowded planet, you bring your friends and family into that conversation, and that’s the critical first step in solving the population problem — through our individual choices, in our communities and around the world.

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Population may seem like a complicated issue, and in some ways, it is. But the solutions to the population problem are grounded in basic human rights, equality and justice. We may live on a crowded planet, but the choices we make today can create a better future for wildlife, for the planet and for us.

1) Post your #CrowdedPlanet photos.

Be a part of the conversation. When you see wildlife in your neighborhood or city, snap a picture of it and post it. Don’t forget to use the the #CrowdedPlanet hashtag.

See something else that illustrates the link between human population growth and the extinction crisis? Are wild places disappearing around you? Plastics and pollution ruining natural areas? Whatever you see or experience that illustrates the link between human population growth and the extinction crisis, share that picture, too. Again, don’t forget to add #CrowdedPlanet to your post.

2) Support universal access to family planning and reproductive health care, and education for women and girls.

When women are empowered and have educational and economic opportunity, they overwhelmingly choose to have smaller families. Around the world, 222 million women want access to modern contraception and can’t get it. Even in the United States, nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, while access to contraception and reproductive healthcare has faced an unprecedented wave of attacks in recent years. By supporting policies and representatives that protect women’s rights, increase access to family planning and reproductive health services, increase funding for family planning programs and advance educational opportunities, you can help turn the tide for a more just, sustainable world.

3) Practice safe sex.

Protect yourself and the planet. The United States has the highest fertility rate of any industrialized country and more than half of United States pregnancies are unplanned. But by practicing family planning and using contraceptives, we can take responsibility for our reproductive decisions.

Everyone in the world should have access to the tools and information to choose if, when and how many children they want to have. There’s still a lot of work to do to achieve that, but if you do have the resources available to you, hump smarter for the sake of families and wildlife. Let’s make family size a conscious choice.

4) Live sustainably.

Compounding the problem of our sheer numbers is the fact that the United States is responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, consumption and waste. If everyone in the world lived the way Americans do today, it would take more than four Earths to sustain the planet. If everyone adopted the average American diet, we would need double the amount of global cropland to meet the demand for animal products, which would take up about 60 percent of the planet’s ice-free land.

From what we put on our plates to how we shop, every day we make choices that affect the environment, the climate and other species. By “choosing wild,” choosing food and a lifestyle that limit the negative effect on wildlife and the planet, you can reduce your environmental footprint to leave more room for wild animals and plants.

12 ways to be more sustainable

5) Become an Endangered Species Condoms volunteer.

The Center’s Endangered Species Condoms project is a fun, unique way to get people talking face-to-face about how human population affects wildlife.

sign up

Sign up to join our Endangered Species Condoms volunteer network.

Through our volunteer network, we’ve given away more than 600,000 free condoms in beautifully designed packages—each featuring a different species that’s threatened by the pressure of our growing population. The condoms are handed out at concerts, bars, universities, spiritual group meetings, farmers’ markets and other many other types of local events, starting countless conversations about unsustainable human population growth, its link to the extinction crisis and how we can protect ourselves and the planet.

6) Donate to the Center’s Population and Sustainability Program.

The Center for Biological Diversity is the only environmental group with a full-time program highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth, overconsumption and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world. Too many people means not enough room and resources for the birds, plants, panthers, wolves, butterflies and whales we're striving to protect.

This is an issue we can’t afford to ignore. Please make a generous gift today to support the Center's Population and Sustainability Program and help us continue leading the charge to tackle these critical issues and protect wildlife.

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The Crowded Planet campaign began in recognition of World Population Day 2014 as a way for people to show what it looks and feels to live in a world of 7.5 billion people, where our growing human population and overconsumption are crowding out wildlife and wildlands.

The result was a powerful and personal conversation about how population growth affects our daily lives and the planet, driven by incredible visuals from around the world. People posted photos of traffic and crowds and of the destructive byproducts of human activity, such as construction and pollution. We also received photos of beautiful vistas, scenic parks and the wildlife that are becoming harder to find, but which have a profound impact on people’s lives.

Crowded Planet started as a campaign to raise awareness about the links between human population growth, overconsumption and the threats all around us to the amazing creatures fighting for survival in the last remaining strongholds of wilderness — and in our own backyards. But #CrowdedPlanet became more than a hashtag — it became a story of hope, one where people shared their concern for the wildlife and wild places they love, understood the urgency to take action, and showed the will to protect the planet for future generations.

Help us keep the conversation going. Post your #CrowdedPlanet photos today.


Photo credits: Banner courtesy Oborseth/Wikimedia Commons; Endangered Species Condoms packages designed by Lori Lieber with artwork by Shawn DiCriscio.