The Conversations We Need to Have

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George Floyd protest

A Call for Justice

From Stephanie Feldstein, Population & Sustainability Program Director

Earth

In the wake of George Floyd's murder, there's been a long-overdue call to end institutional racism. From police departments to Hollywood to public parks, those with white privilege are finally starting to recognize the countless ways Black people suffer threats to their equality, dignity, safety and lives.

The Center for Biological Diversity stands with the Movement for Black Lives and all others demanding an immediate end to police and racial violence. As we've joined protests and supported groups fighting to end white supremacy, we've also been looking at how social justice battles intersect deeply with our own work.
Read on to learn more.

Bird in Central Park

A viral video of a white woman threatening to call the cops on a Black birder in Central Park recently brought attention to how racism has excluded Black people from natural spaces, including activities like bird-watching. Earlier this month Black Birders Week started a conversation about making the outdoors more inclusive, and young #BlackInNature scientists are keeping the conversation going.

Population fact

Women's march

The Fight for Reproductive Justice

Reproductive healthcare is riddled with inequalities. According to a new study, Black women face greater harm than whites from pregnancy risks associated with climate change. They're already on the front lines of pollution and experiencing worse pregnancy outcomes, often related to inadequate healthcare access. It's also harder for Black women to get over-the-counter contraception.

The reproductive justice movement was founded by Black women calling for a new approach that recognizes the unique needs of women of color and understands reproductive freedom as a life-or-death issue. In the environmental movement, we must embrace those basic rights and support the struggle for Black people to have good healthcare and a safe environment.

Here's one thing you can do: Learn more about SisterSong's work for reproductive justice.

Food insecurity

Inequities in the Food System

The need to nourish our bodies with healthy food is basic, but a series of oppressive policies and systems has made it harder for Black people to meet that need. Food insecurity and food deserts — areas with limited access to affordable fresh, healthy food — disproportionately affect communities of color. Unhealthy food environments are worsened by structural racism, which brings low wages to Black communities and targets them with predatory junk-food marketing.

Inequalities also plague agricultural production. Polluting factory farms are more likely to be located near Black communities, and Black farmers have historically received less government support than their white counterparts. Yet agriculture has thrived in Black communities for more than 150 years as a way for people to break down these barriers and reclaim ownership.

Food systems can only be sustainable if they're equitable. As we tackle the environmental destruction caused by food production, we must ensure that healthy, plant-forward diets are accessible and affordable to everyone; factory farms stop polluting near vulnerable communities; and Black, Indigenous and other historically marginalized farmers are prioritized in the just transition to a better food system.

Here's one thing you can do: Support organizations working for Black food sovereignty.

Lemur leaf frog

Study: Extinction Crisis Is Accelerating

A new study finds that hundreds of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles have fewer than 1,000 individuals left and that the extinction crisis is speeding up. The sixth mass extinction is being caused by people, but people can also stop it.

"Extinction is a political choice," says Center scientist Tierra Curry. "Our own future is at stake if we don't move away from fossil fuels and end wildlife exploitation, and at the same time, necessarily, address poverty and injustice."

Here's one thing you can do: Sign our petition calling on 2020 candidates to support a plan to stop the global extinction crisis.

Coney Island Beach

World Population Day Goes Virtual

This year the Center will be honoring World Population Day, July 11, with a series of virtual events focused on human population pressure and the wildlife extinction crisis.

  • Endangered Species Condoms webinar (Tuesday, July 7, 5 p.m. ET): We'll discuss how to engage others in population conversations and have a successful condom distribution. Registration is required and capped at 100 participants. Sign up now.
  • Saving Life on Earth webinar (Thursday, July 9, 7 p.m. ET): Population campaigner Kelley Dennings and Endangered Species Condom coordinator Sarah Baillie will talk about the Center's population work. Mark your calendar and stay tuned — an email invite with signup info will arrive soon in your inbox.
  • Story of Plastic panel discussion (Tuesday, July 14, 1 p.m. ET): Learn why we can't recycle our way out of our waste issues and how to take action. Register here to get a link to watch the Story of Plastic movie before the panel.
  • Endangered species virtual trivia night (Tuesday, July 28, 5 p.m. ET): Test your wildlife knowledge at our free online trivia night. Registration is required and capped at 100 participants (6 players/team max; each participant needs to register to get the Zoom link). Sign up now.

Shopping during coronavirus

Shopping in the Global Pandemic

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have made grocery shopping a challenge. The Center's Kelley Dennings shares how the pandemic helped her rediscover local markets: From community-supported agriculture to bartering toilet paper, she's found a way of getting her food that's more sustainable and personal.

Face masks are part of the new normal. But before you plunk down cash for face-coverings that make dubious, high-tech claims, check out the new "Ask Dr. Donley" advice column, where Center scientist Nathan Donley tackles the question of whether antimicrobial fabrics can really help protect you or others.

Here's one thing you can do: Reconnect with your community by supporting locally owned businesses.

Sonoyta mud turtle

Wildlife Spotlight: Sonoyta Mud Turtle

Sonoyta mud turtles live in an unlikely home in one of the driest parts of the Sonoran Desert: Quitobaquito Springs, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

As if it weren't hard enough being a freshwater species in the middle of the desert, groundwater withdrawal and drought have been drying up these turtles' habitat for years. The turtles were a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing for 20 years before they received protection in 2017. And this week they finally got critical habitat protection — just in time for construction of the lawless border wall to threaten to make that protection meaningless.

Check out our footage of these amazing turtles on Facebook or Twitter.

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Photo credits: George Floyd protest by Life Matters/Pexels; bird in Central Park by Maria Eklind/Flickr; women's march by Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr; street scene by Ted Eytan/Flickr; endangered lemur leaf frog by Seanin Og/Flickr; Coney Island Beach by Howard Brier/Flickr; shopping during the coronavirus pandemic by Russ Allison Loar/Flickr; Sonoyta mud turtle footage by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity.

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