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Take Action: Transition TVA to 100% Clean Energy
It’s crystal clear: To combat the climate emergency, we need to transition to a renewable, just energy future now. We’re already paying the price for the fossil fuel era — with skyrocketing power bills, disastrous storms, and toxic pollution.
Mega-polluting utilities like the Tennessee Valley Authority aren’t just blocking action but actively compounding the problem. TVA is planning a massive buildout of fossil fuel energy generation.
But its new board can immediately stop this and implement a plan for a clean and just energy future. That would put money in people's pockets, create thousands of new jobs every year, and improve public health — as well as tackling the climate crisis.
Urge TVA to deliver for communities and our climate by charting a path to 100% clean energy.
Will Harlan’s Quiet Corner on the Georgia Coast
Center scientist Will Harlan was a city dweller searching for a “quiet corner” of nature when he found a wild and beautiful southern island.
“I was living in Atlanta, working long hours, commuting through hellish traffic, and slowly dying inside,” said Will. Late one night he hopped in the car with his backpack and ended up on Cumberland Island, where he watched a 300-pound loggerhead sea turtle crawl ashore to lay her eggs on a starlit beach.
Cumberland Island is also home to windswept marshes, old-growth forests, and dozens of other rare species, from manatees to piping plovers.
Read Will’s new piece about protecting this place.
Thank You: Tiny Turtles Win Crab-Trap Protections
After a petition by the Center and allies — plus more than 10,000 letters from Center supporters — diamondback terrapins in Florida are finally protected from drowning in recreational blue crab traps.
With diamond-patterned shells and speckled skin, these stunning little turtles are a keystone species in their marsh and mangrove habitat. Too many suffer and die in crab traps that don’t include inexpensive, easy-to-use devices to keep turtles out. Florida now requires those devices for all recreational traps.
But this win isn’t the end — Florida needs to protect terrapins from commercial crabbers too. Stay tuned for your next chance to help.
Global Wildlife Agreement Turns 50 — Take Action
Wildlife groups around the world, including the Center, are calling for an ambitious response to the extinction crisis — just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. This international treaty regulates wildlife trade and is best known for its commercial ivory ban, instituted in 1990 in response to the elephant-poaching crisis.
Our letter stresses the escalating role of exploitation in driving species extinct and calls for protecting wildlife through listings, strong science-based decision-making, and increased funding.
Sadly, elephants are still being slaughtered for trophies. Help us celebrate CITES by taking action to help save them.
Sacred Species: The Art of Angela Manno
Artist and Center supporter Angela Manno was recently interviewed about her paintings of animals and plants threatened with extinction — including a pangolin, blue iguana, star cactus, chambered nautilus and horseshoe crab.
In her series of contemporary icons, Manno applies her training in Byzantine Russian iconography using gold leaf, painted archways, and traditional materials.
“My aim is to exalt each species as irreplaceable, having intrinsic value, and draw attention to the holocaust of nature unfolding before our eyes,” she said.
Manno magnifies the impact of her work by donating half of the proceeds from sales to the Center and other conservation organizations.
In Memoriam: Justin Schmidt, King of Sting
World-renowned entomologist and longtime Center ally Dr. Justin O. Schmidt recently passed away from Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Schmidt let himself be stung about 1,000 times in his life by some 150 insect species. He even created the Justin O. Schmidt Pain Index, comically rating and describing the intensity of insect stings. At Pain Level 1 is the sweat bee, whose sting he described as “light, ephemeral, almost fruity … a tiny spark.” And at Pain Level 4 is the bullet ant, whose sting he called “pure, intense, brilliant … like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.”
Dr. Schmidt inspired a love of creepy crawlies in many he met — including the child of Center staffer Russ McSpadden. Watch Schmidt introduce the kid to a gentle, giant hairy desert scorpion on YouTube or Twitter.
That’s Wild: The Mammalian Secret to a Longer Life
Move over, misanthropes, and make room for a few more friends. According to a new study, there may be big benefits to hanging out with others of our own kind.
Looking at the lifespans, social lives and genetics of about 1,000 mammal species, researchers figured out group living is closely linked to longevity.
Consider golden hamsters and naked mole rats: The hamsters, who are loners, only make it through a few years of life, while mole rats can live more than 30 years in their massive subterranean societies.
Living in groups comes with costs. But — for mammals, at least — it seems to last longer when we do it together.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
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Photo credits: Prostrate milkweed by Joey Santore/CalPhotos; solar panel installation by U.S. Army Environmental Command/Flickr; Cumberland Island courtesy NPS, Will Harlan courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; diamondback terrapin by George L. Heinrich; African savannah elephants by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity; star cactus, pangolin, and blue iguana illustrations by Angela Manno; bears by Rwarrin; Dr. Justin O. Schmidt courtesy of Schmidt, child with scorpion courtesy Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; naked mole rats by Benny Mazur/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702