Family Planning in Uncertain Times
From Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Program Director
In the past 10 years, the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate since the 1930s. Overall that’s good news, as slower growth eases pressure on communities and the environment. But amid a global pandemic and climate crisis, fear is driving many people’s family planning decisions. Surveys show these fears have influenced about a third of respondents to delay or avoid pregnancy. In my newest Medium piece I write about why the baby bust needs to be by design, not disaster.
Even with falling birth rates, we continue to face serious challenges to a healthy, sustainable future. Read on to learn more about the latest attack on reproductive rights, how President Biden’s climate plans fail to address the cow in the room, and ways you can take action.
It’s not a completely unexpected correlation: As vaccination rates rise, condom sales are skyrocketing. People eager to get back to their social lives are stocking up for a “hot vax summer.” Here’s how you can sign up to get free Endangered Species Condoms.
When the president released his plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Fox News falsely reported that it included limiting Americans to one burger a month. The fake claim had been mined from a real analysis, supported by the Center for Biological Diversity, of the climate benefits of eating less meat. The fact that the analysis had been released a year before, when Biden wasn’t even in office, didn’t quench right-wing outrage over the very idea of reducing meat consumption.
In a Washington Post op-ed, I set the record straight, pointing out that Biden isn’t trying to cut meat consumption — but he should be. Several news outlets covered the call for meat reduction, including the streaming news network Cheddar, where I joined a panel to discuss the relationship between meat consumption and U.S. climate policy.
Here’s one thing you can do: Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to align food and nutrition programs with climate goals by including meat and dairy reduction in its climate-smart agriculture plans.
Supreme Court Weighs Abortion Challenge
The right to safe, legal abortion will soon face its greatest legal challenge in nearly 50 years. The Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, has agreed to hear a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the state law is upheld, it will overturn Roe v. Wade. Ten states, including Mississippi, have passed “trigger bans” that would immediately outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned.
This threat to abortion is a threat to reproductive freedom. At the Center we believe access to comprehensive, voluntary reproductive-health services, including abortion, is a basic human right. Read our statement on abortion.
Here’s one thing you can do: The case will be heard in the court’s next term, with a decision expected in spring or summer of 2022. In the meantime, reproductive-rights organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood are mobilizing to protect the right to abortion. Join their email lists to get the latest news and action alerts.
Next month our senior food campaigner, Jennifer Molidor, will launch a new monthly e-newsletter that takes a deeper dive into the complex world of sustainable food. She’ll explore the latest news and issues around how we grow food, what we buy, how we cook, and how food is wasted, as well as how we can rewild our plates and how traditional food practices can strengthen efforts to stop the extinction crisis.
By better understanding agriculture-industry greenwashing and how we can reduce food production’s harms to the natural world, we can sift through confusing, often conflicting messages and create a food system that’s better for people and the planet.
Sign up to start receiving Food X.
Catch Up on Our Population Film Series
The first two movies in our population film series explored questions around family planning and the choice to be child-free, bringing girls’ education and women’s empowerment into wildlife conservation and diving into the connection between reproductive rights and the environment. If you missed our discussions of To Kid or Not to Kid and Our Gorongosa, you can watch them on our YouTube channel. We’ve also created a resource page where you can learn more about the films and the issues and actions discussed during the webinars.
Here’s one thing you can do: Mark your calendar for Thursday, June 24, when we’ll discuss 8 Billion Angels with Terry Spahr, the film’s director, and Nandita Bajaj, executive director at World Population Balance. Look for an email from us next month about how to watch the film and join the webinar.
Study: Pesticides Harm Soil Health, Biodiversity
New research published in Frontiers in Environmental Science has found that agricultural pesticides harmed earthworms, ants, beetles, ground-nesting bees and other invertebrates critical to soil health in 71% of cases. This study by the Center, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the University of Maryland is the largest review of the impacts of pesticides on soil organisms ever conducted.
Pesticide companies often greenwash their products as beneficial in “regenerative” agriculture, but this research shows that pesticides are destroying soil ecosystems. Today’s most commonly used chemicals are increasingly toxic to insects and can linger in the soil for years after they’re applied.
Here’s one thing you can do: Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to protect our soil from dangerous chemicals by accounting for harm to soil organisms when reviewing pesticide risks.
Wildlife Spotlight: Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Birdwatchers may be more likely to hear the distinctive, knocking call of the yellow-billed cuckoo than to spot one. This rare bird’s song is often heard just before thunderstorms or summer showers, earning it the nickname “rain crow.” The yellow-billed cuckoo is one of only a few species of bird that will eat hairy caterpillars. And when males are feeling romantic, they’ll woo females with gifts of small sticks.
Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona, which contains a slice of the cuckoo’s remaining critical habitat, is being destroyed by cattle trampling streambanks, overgrazing vegetation and polluting streams with manure. The Center is urging the Bureau of Land Management to remove those cattle so that this important habitat for the cuckoo — and more than 25 other protected birds — can recover.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
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Photo credits: Paper dolls via Canva, essentials for “hot vax summer” by Sarah Baillie/Center for Biological Diversity; cattle by Oli/Flickr; Supreme Court building detail by Matt H. Wade/Wikimedia; “Food X” graphic courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; girls at Gorongosa National Park by Brett Kuxhausen; plants and soil by Lance Cheung/USDA; wildlife-friendly wedding by Ryan Diegelmann/Coastal Shots; yellow-billed cuckoo by Seabamirum/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702