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A Year After the Fall of Roe
From Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Program Director
Today marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, creating a fragmented patchwork of abortion policies across the country. The Guttmacher Institute has created an interactive map showing which states have restrictive policies, which have protected the right to abortion, and how these policies affect people in each state.
The Center believes that reproductive justice is environmental justice, and everyone should have agency over their bodies and their decisions about whether and when to have children. We recently supported the development and release of the newest vision statement for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. The statement outlines 10 principles that policymakers at all levels of government can use to strengthen reproductive freedom.
Check out our statement on abortion and read on for more ways you can join the fight for reproductive rights, a sustainable food system, and a world where people and the wild can thrive.
Researchers continue to examine how the widespread 2020 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions affected wildlife behavior. A new study looking at data on more than 2,300 individual animals — including giraffes, bears and cougars — found that wild mammals roamed 73% farther than they had before lockdowns, often taking advantage of reduced traffic to venture closer to roads and other built-up areas.
Take Action for Reproductive Rights
Attacks on reproductive rights have only escalated since Roe was overturned. But there have also been numerous bills introduced to defend and expand those rights. These bills aim to restore the right to safe and legal abortion, ensure access to contraception, increase young people’s access to reproductive health services and comprehensive sex education, and protect pregnant people from climate-related threats.
Population and Sustainability Campaigner Kelley Dennings has compiled the latest updates on federal reproductive rights legislation and how you can help support these bills.
Here’s one thing you can do: If you’re a U.S. resident, take action to support the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act. In honor of Sex Ed for All Month in May and Pride Month in June, you can ask lawmakers to make sure young people get the medically accurate, inclusive sex ed and healthcare they need to make informed decisions about their health and future.
The Fight for Fair Milk Labeling
Plant-based milks are far better for wildlife and the environment than dairy. And many people — especially those in Black, Indigenous and Asian communities — can’t digest cow’s milk. Despite the U.S. government propping up the dairy industry for years, demand for plant-based milks has skyrocketed. As a result, the dairy industry has been pushing for regulations that would prevent plant-based products from being labeled “milk” to deter people from choosing these alternatives.
The Food and Drug Administration recently issued draft guidance saying that plant-based products could use the term “milk” — but only if their labels specify how they differ from cow’s milk. That would keep holding up dairy as the gold standard, giving plant-based products a big disadvantage.
Here’s one thing you can do: The FDA is accepting comments on this proposal. Tell the agency to support fair labeling for plant-based milks.
Mountains of Fast Fashion
Each year, around 59,000 tons of unused clothing from Europe, Asia and the United States arrives at a port in Chile. From there, about 39,000 tons of it get dumped in the Atacama Desert. This unique landscape is the driest desert in the world. And it’s now home to mountains of fast fashion so massive they can be seen from space.
Fast fashion churns out cheap clothing at the expense of workers and the planet. The industry is responsible for as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as air and water pollution, land degradation, and enormous piles of waste. And since so much of the clothing is made from synthetic fibers and processed with chemicals, it creates a hazard that won’t biodegrade. The Atacama Desert landfill is a visual reminder of how bad the problem has become — and how urgently the fashion industry needs to change.
Here’s one thing you can do: Read our report about the harms of fast fashion and how we can start to fix them.
Climate Science vs. the Meat Industry
Wildlife Spotlight: Southern Hognose Snake
Southern hognose snakes earned their name from their distinctive upturned snouts. When threatened, they’ll almost never bite. But they put on an impressive show of hissing, fanning out the skin around their head like a cobra, feigning strikes, and eventually playing dead.
These dramatic snakes live in longleaf pine forests, 97% of which have been lost to forest clearing and fire suppression. The species has suffered population declines of at least 60%. In addition to habitat loss, threats include urbanization, vehicle collisions, climate change, invasive species, disease, human persecution, and collection for the pet trade.
The Center first petitioned to protect southern hognose snakes under the Endangered Species Act in 2012. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly denied them protection in 2019. But thanks to a Center lawsuit earlier this year, the agency just agreed to reconsider safeguarding these amazing reptiles.