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From Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Program Director
Grasslands in the United States are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world. These natural carbon sinks are home to incredible biodiversity, but they’ve been replaced by sprawl and pesticide-laden monocrops and degraded by cattle grazing. A study by NatureServe found that more than half of U.S. grasslands are at risk of collapse. And they’re not alone — the study found that 40% of forests and wetlands are also at risk, and that just 12% of land in the United States is currently protected. It also analyzed the grim reality of threatened plants and animals, putting the U.S. extinction crisis in focus.
The Center supports legislation like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, the Extinction Protection Act, and initiatives to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters. We also fight for individual species, from Tiehm’s buckwheat to gray wolves, and address the root causes of biodiversity loss — including human population pressure and consumption. Read on for the latest news.
Take Action for Climate-Friendly Food in Connecticut
A new bill was introduced to reduce Connecticut’s food-related carbon emissions by shifting state food purchases toward climate-friendly options. The Climate-Friendly Food Purchasing Plan would make plant-forward foods more available in state buildings, prisons, university dining halls, and other institutions and venues.
Here's one thing you can do: The bill is gaining momentum but needs more support. Tell your state legislators to cosponsor HB-6492 and call for a public hearing.
Global Youth on Living in a World of 8 Billion
The Center and Transition Earth just hosted a webinar featuring youth activists from across the globe talking about the challenges they face in an era of climate disruption, threats to reproductive rights, and the destruction of nature. We discussed solutions, too — the links between human health, sustainable livelihoods, and environmental protection, and how to support a better future for young people through sexual health, reproductive rights, and gender equity. Watch the panel discussion.
Here's one thing you can do: Show your support for reproductive justice by signing onto Sister Song’s Visioning New Futures for Reproductive Justice Declaration.
Plastic Production on the Rise
Planet-Friendly Ways to Love Your Pet
Americans spend about $27 billion on gifts for Valentine’s Day — another major holiday whose spirit gets lost under a pile of trinkets, fueling massive waste and an unsustainable consumption culture. More than 30 million people who got Valentine’s Day gifts last year said they didn’t even want them.
Animal lovers aren’t immune to the holiday consumerism. The $120 billion pet industry takes advantage by flooding stores with cheap heart-shaped toys at the expense of the planet. But you don’t need to spend your way into your pet’s heart. Check out my article for Earth911 on five ways you can show love for your dog or cat without buying into overconsumption.
Wildlife Spotlight: Texas Fatmucket
The Texas fatmucket is a freshwater mussel living only in Colorado River tributaries in Texas Hill Country. Female fatmuckets create a lure that looks like a minnow to attract host fish. When the fooled fish swims by, the mussels release their larvae to attach to the fish’s gills and fins. That’s where the larvae grow up. Once they’re developed, they drop off on their own patch of river bottom to start their adult lives, spent filtering water and keeping the ecosystem healthy.
Water pollution has made freshwater mussels the most endangered group of organisms in the United States. The Center recently took legal action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for 15 species, including Texas fatmuckets and six other freshwater mussels.