Supply Chain Wake-Up Call
From Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Program Director
In the final days before Christmas, supply-chain issues continue to disrupt holiday shopping. But maybe this is the wake-up call we need. “Our supply-chain problems are only the tip of a melting iceberg if our consumption habits, and the systems that drive them, don’t change,” writes our Population and Sustainability Campaigner Kelley Dennings. So skip the last-minute gift rush and focus on meaningful holiday experiences instead.
Our Simplify the Holidays campaign isn’t just about what’s under the tree — it’s about how we think about consumerism, celebrations and creating a more sustainable economy. It will take more than individuals giving secondhand gifts to transform our culture of overconsumption; we’ll need to change policies to support alternative economic models like co-ops and prioritize caring for others, and for the planet, over endless growth. But it’s a start. Read on for more about the hidden cost of Christmas sweaters and the ongoing misconception about falling birth rates.
As we usher in 2022, we’ll also usher in a population milestone. By this time next year, it’s projected that there will be 8 billion people on the planet — just 11 years after we reached 7 billion.
Musk Misfires on Population
Tech billionaire and amateur astronaut Elon Musk recently gained attention for claiming that “civilization is going to crumble” if people don’t have more children. Birth rates have been declining due to advances in access to reproductive healthcare, education and gender equity — all of which are good for people and the planet. But for a capitalist like Musk, fewer people means fewer consumers. If Musk were truly concerned about the future of civilization, he’d join the fight for reproductive freedom, fund care support for our aging population, and consider how frivolous, profit-making schemes like space tourism contribute to the climate emergency.
Here’s one thing you can do: Urge your senators to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. With the right to abortion at risk and misdirected claims about the need to increase birth rates in the media, it’s a critical time for protecting reproductive rights.
The Ugly Truth Behind Christmas Sweaters
Ugly Christmas sweaters have become a staple of the holiday season, but behind those wooly knit snowflakes and reindeers there’s an even uglier truth.
Contrary to its green marketing, wool production is an industrial process responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, habitat destruction, pollution and other threats to wildlife and the environment. Since Christmas sweaters aren’t made to withstand daily wear, many are cheaply produced with a blend of wool and fossil fuel-based fibers, like acrylic or polyester, which further contribute to the climate emergency and ocean microplastic pollution.
Here’s one thing you can do: As you skip buying that new Christmas sweater, urge top eco-conscious clothing brands to phase out or reduce wool and invest in truly sustainable materials.
McDonald’s Methane Problem
Between 1% and 2% of all beef around the world is served by McDonald’s — more than by any other restaurant chain. The majority of its greenhouse gas emissions come from producing burgers for its beef-heavy menu, contributing significantly to methane pollution. While McDonald’s has made ambitious-sounding pledges around sustainability, Senior Food Campaigner Jennifer Molidor points out that its commitments are based on complex, greenwashed math that continues to ignore the real driver of the restaurant’s climate footprint.
“People don’t eat what’s not on the menu,” Molidor writes. “Companies could make it cool to eat a smaller burger, a salad without chicken or more wraps. They could redefine what American fast food looks like. Instead, they’re making a triple cheeseburger.”
Here’s one thing you can do: Tell McDonald’s to take meaningful climate action by reducing the beef on its menus and offering plant-based options.
Focus on Food Justice: Chilis on Wheels
Chilis on Wheels was founded seven years ago in New York City. Since then, the group has served thousands of plant-based meals to communities all around the city and expanded into a nationwide network of organizations. In addition to serving warm meals, Chilis on Wheels offers workshops to help people learn to prepare sustainable meals and understand why they’re important for health, justice, animals and the planet. They also support the community with clothing drives and other services to help those in need.
Eloisa Trinidad, the cofounder of the New York branch, works to improve access to delicious, culturally appropriate vegan food for Black, Indigenous and other children of color by advocating for better school meals and delivering meals directly to food-insecure families.
Here’s one thing you can do: Check out their work and their wish list.
Single and Ready to Mingle? Sign Up for Free Condoms
We need your help getting free Endangered Species Condoms to the top 10 U.S. cities that are single and ready to mingle in time for Valentine’s Day. If you’re in Rochester, Syracuse, or Buffalo, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Dayton, or Cincinnati, Ohio; or Baltimore, Maryland — and can help hand out our condoms in your community — sign up here.
Even if your city didn’t make the top 10 list, you can still make Valentine’s Day a little wilder in your hometown. If you know about events in your community that would be a good opportunity for our Pillow Talk program, such as adult-only cocktail parties at your local museum or zoo, please reach out.
Wildlife Spotlight: Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly
The Hine’s emerald dragonfly is known for its large, jewel-toned green eyes and aerobatic virtuosity. Like other dragonflies, it has four wings that can move independently of one another and beat up to 35 times a second. These beautiful and graceful insects live in freshwater habitats like wetlands, marshes and near slow-moving streams.
Unfortunately the Hine’s emerald is among 16% of known dragonfly and damselfly species that are at risk of extinction. In the United States, most streams — like those the Hine’s emerald relies on — are polluted by pesticides at levels harmful to aquatic life. Federal protection for these dragonflies, as well as regulating and restricting the use of commonly used toxic herbicides like glyphosate and atrazine, can help save the Hine’s emerald and dozens of other freshwater species.
Here's one thing you can do: Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take action on the dangerous poison atrazine.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702