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New York Times Features Center's Overpopulation Campaign

With a teaser on its front page -- "One environmental group is daring to link population growth to climate change and dying species" -- The New York Times this week ran a major feature on the Center for Biological Diversity's wave-making overpopulation campaign.

According to the Times:

"Major American environmental groups have dodged the subject of population control for decades, wary of getting caught up in the bruising politics of reproductive health.

"Yet, virtually alone, the Center for Biological Diversity is breaking the taboo by directly tying population growth to environmental problems through efforts like giving away condoms in colorful packages depicting endangered animals. The idea is to start a debate about how overpopulation crowds out species and hastens climate change -- just when the world is welcoming Baby No. 7 Billion. . . .

"The Center for Biological Diversity's condom campaign, begun on college campuses last year, now includes video ads in Times Square and lobbying in Washington for more family planning services. It is an aggressive strategy even for the center, which is best known for barraging federal agencies with lawsuits intended to protect species and ecosystems."

The Center's not letting the thorniness of this critical issue stop us from tackling it, because without campaigns like our 7 Billion and Counting, we'll frankly be doomed to a future with no room left for endangered animals and plants, precious wild places, or human quality of life.

Read more in The New York Times.

Center Op-ed: 7 Billion Means More of Us, Fewer of Them

The day after the Center for Biological Diversity's 7 Billion and Counting campaign made a splash in The New York Times, The Huffington Post published an op–ed on overpopulation by Executive Director Kierán Suckling.

Suckling's piece stressed the urgent need to get people talking about the population crisis and how it affects species like the Florida panther, bluefin tuna and San Joaquin kit fox. "The conversation is deadly important," wrote Suckling. In October alone, 1,200 people from around the country handed out our Endangered Species Condoms -- a failsafe conversation starter.

The Center's campaign works to publicize the fact that population growth is driving the extinction crisis for plants and animals worldwide and foreclosing our options for preserving a diverse, livable planet. Stay tuned for more ways you can help, check out our 7 Billion and Counting Web page and read more in The Huffington Post.

Public to Obama: Save the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

According to a new White House petition, "we the people" overwhelmingly support Endangered Species Act protection for a tiny, embattled lizard in the Southwest. In contrast, a petition posted by oil and gas interests last month -- predictably opposing lizard protections -- failed laughably.

The dunes sagebrush lizard lives on the rolling sands of southeast New Mexico and west Texas, where its habitat is threatened by a small number of oil and gas wells. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a scientific petition in 2002 to earn the reptile federal protections -- which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now proposing to give it. But oil and gas industry–backed Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have launched a misinformation campaign claiming lizard protection will virtually shut down the economy in their states.

The White House's "We the People" website -- which hosts the Center's online petition -- shows the public isn't buying that misinformation. In just two weeks, more than 7,000 people signed on to support saving the lizard, while the oil and gas industry's petition, on the very same site, drew a paltry 1,700 signatures after a whole month -- so few that the petition was removed.

We need your help to reach 25,000 signatures on the "We the People" website. It takes a few minutes to register, but it's worth it to save this critter. Please -- sign the White House petition. In addition, you can take action with the Center to protect the lizard.

Young Wolf First in Western Oregon in 65 Years

For the first time since Harry Truman was president, there's a wild wolf in western Oregon. This fall, a two-year-old gray wolf strayed from his northeast Oregon pack, crossed the Cascade Mountains and set foot in western Oregon -- the first of his kind to do so since 1946, when the last wolf in the region was killed for a bounty. The young wolf, dubbed "OR-7," was already famous as part of the tiny Imnaha pack, two of whose primary members were ordered killed in October after livestock depredation.

Thanks to your swift outpouring of action and financial support, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed an emergency appeal of that kill order -- and within hours, an Oregon court issued a temporary reprieve for the wolves. We wish OR-7 luck in western Oregon and will continue our work to save the Imnaha pack and restore gray wolves to suitable habitat across the lower 48. We'll update you as the case moves forward.

Read more in southern Oregon's Mail Tribune.

Thousands Will Circle White House to Stop Keystone XL

Imagine what President Obama will see when he looks out the window Sunday afternoon: Thousands of people encircling the White House, chanting at him to stop the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline.

More than 5,600 Center for Biological Diversity supporters have signed up for this massive show of opposition to the XL and will be outside the White House Sunday with Center lawyer Bill Snape and Frostpaw the Polar Bear. If it's built, the massive, 1,700-mile pipeline would transport up to about 35 million gallons of oil every day from Canada's tar sands to refineries in Texas -- and then much of it would be exported. Not only would the pipeline deepen our dependence on global warming-inducing fuels; it would also jeopardize habitat for scores of imperiled species, including rare whooping cranes and the interior least tern.

The Center and allies filed suit last month challenging work on the pipeline and bogus claims that a spill is unlikely; now direct action is needed. Sunday's protest comes at a critical moment: Just this week, Obama confirmed for the first time that he'll be the one making the pipeline decision. Deepest thanks to all of you traveling to the White House for lending your powerful voices to this movement.

Learn more about the D.C. event -- plus a similar special event in the Bay Area -- and sign up to join us in D.C. this weekend.

Pesticide Safeguards Under Fire

The Environmental Protection Agency has finally started controlling pesticides sprayed in U.S. lakes, rivers and streams, but that doesn't sit well with at least one congressman. In a last-ditch effort to protect pesticide and chemical companies instead of wildlife, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) wants to roll back the Clean Water Act's restrictions on pesticides in our waters -- without so much as a study of their effects. Instead of handing out favors to the pesticide industry, we need greater protection from toxic pesticides for our waterways, wildlife and drinking water.

With your ongoing support and generous gifts this fall, the Center for Biological Diversity is ramping up our longstanding fight against toxic pesticides. We've scored major wins already this year, including requiring the EPA to restrict the use of 66 pesticides throughout California and halting herbicide spraying on 1.5 million acres of land in New Mexico. We're now fighting specifically for the California red-legged frog -- which, in 2011, we defended in court from more than 60 harmful pesticides. We'll keep up the fight in Congress to protect both people and wildlife from toxics, and let you know when your action is needed.

Read more in the E & E News.

Obama Again Opens Arctic to Dangerous Drilling

The prospect of oil drilling in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas has long brought hard opposition from the Center for Biological Diversity -- and for years we've won, keeping drilling out of those sensitive seas. But the Arctic is in renewed danger: The Obama administration recently OK'd Shell's Discoverer fleet to start drilling operations in July 2012.

We're fighting back, of course; last week the Center and allies appealed the EPA's approval of Clean Air Act permits for Shell's plans -- permits that would allow illegally high emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant harmful to human health and wildlife.

We overturned illegal Clean Air Act permits for the very same drilling fleet in 2010, and we'll do all we can now to stop shortsighted profiteers from sacrificing the fate of polar bears, whales, walruses and other Arctic animals. Not only would Shell's drilling pollute the air and exacerbate global warming with greenhouse gas emissions, it would also put the Arctic at grave risk from an oil spill that would be impossible to clean up.

Check out our press release and learn more about Arctic oil development.

New Mexico Logging Project Halted

This fall, the Forest Service nearly ran afoul of its own rules to protect imperiled species. But following an appeal by the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency withdrew approval of a logging project that would have harmed habitat for the northern goshawk, the Mexican spotted owl and other species that depend on old-growth trees.

By the Service's own findings, the "Bonito" logging project -- slated for New Mexico's Lincoln National Forest -- would destroy more canopy, fell more old trees and erode more soil than is allowed under the National Forest Management Act. The agency's about-face means the project will now be the focus of a new analysis to make sure any logging complies with laws to protect endangered species and habitat.

Read more in the Albuquerque Journal.

"Pipeline of Death" Challenged for Puerto Rico Species

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies have filed a notice of intent to sue over yet another destructive pipeline project, a 92-mile liquefied natural gas pipeline planned for Puerto Rico. The project threatens to harm dozens of imperiled species and ruin 1,000 acres of habitat (more than one-third wetlands). In contrast to its misleading official name -- Vía Verde, or "green way" -- locals call the pipeline el gasoducto del muerte, or "pipeline of death," believing a deadly explosion is inevitable.

Our notice of intent to sue, filed by the Vermont Law School, says the pipeline project must not go forward till it complies with the Endangered Species Act that protects the coquí llanero frog, leatherback sea turtle, elkhorn and staghorn corals, Puerto Rican parrot, elfin tree fern and many more species.

Learn more about Vía Verde.

Wild & Weird: Piranhas "Bark" Bad Language

What would piranhas say if they could talk? "Hey, you [censored], get out of my [censored] eddy"? Scientists recently discovered that piranhas can "talk" to each other, but it comes out more like barks. In experiments, the toothy fish "barked" with displeasure when they got into confrontations. While scientists already knew piranhas made some noise, they didn't know the extent of the animals' range of sounds -- and they also discovered the barks came from an unexpected place: the muscles attached to the critters' swim bladders.

Piranhas also barked when picked up by the scientists -- several of whom had to make trips to the hospital with bloody fingers.

Read more in Science Daily.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: dunes sagebrush lizard courtesy USFWS; 7 Billion and Counting logo; Florida panther courtesy USFWS; dunes sagebrush lizard courtesy USFWS; gray wolf courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Martin Mecnarowski; whooping crane courtesy Wikimedia Commons/szatmar666; California red-legged frog; polar bear courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ansgar Walk; Mexican spotted owl (c) Robin Silver; coqui llanero courtesy USFWS; piranha courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tino Strauss.

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