Too Hot for Humans

Pop X: The newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity's Population and Sustainability program.
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Climate change

Study: Global Warming Could Soon Make Cities Unlivable

From Stephanie Feldstein, Population & Sustainability Program Director

Earth

Some parts of the country have had warmer-than-usual temperatures this spring. But this heat wave is small potatoes: According to a new study, if we don't stop global warming, many places will get too hot for humans to handle.

If climate change continues unchecked, within 50 years some of the most populous areas in the world could experience deadly heat waves. Cities from Los Angeles to Paris may become unlivable. People will be forced to migrate, increasing pressure on remaining wilderness.

But by reducing fertility rates through universal access to contraception, education and equality — along with transforming our food and energy systems — we can still avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis and be better prepared to adapt to a changing world.

Read on to learn more.

Monarch butterfly

A monarch butterfly enjoys spring blooms in a native garden. Avoiding pesticides on your lawn and garden can help local butterflies and bees survive. Lawn chemicals aren't solely responsible for the decline of insects, but homeowners do use up to 10 times more pesticides per acre than farmers.

Population fact

To Kid Or Not to Kid

Interview: To Kid or Not to Kid

Everyone should have the right to choose if and when to have kids. But even with access to contraception, the reproduction decision is complex. In a conversation with Center population campaigner Kelley Dennings, filmmaker Maxine Trump (no relation to Donald) talks about her latest documentary, To Kid or Not to Kid, a powerful personal look at the cultural pressures put on childfree women.

In the interview Kelley and Maxine discuss why people choose to be childfree, the controversial connection to climate change, and the importance of ending the stigma around family planning.

Here's one thing you can do: Watch To Kid or Not to Kid on Amazon Prime or iTunes, then check out the PBS spinoff series, Should We Kid or Not?.

Root vegetables

Study: Eating Less Meat Can Save 2 Billion Tons of Emissions

New research from the University of Michigan and Tulane University, supported by the Center, finds that replacing half the animal-based foods in the U.S. diet with plant-based foods would prevent 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. If beef consumption were replaced by 90% alongside the 50% reduction in other animal products, more than 2 billion tons of climate pollution would be prevented.

But if we continue business as usual, diet-related emissions will rise by 9%, pushing us closer to dangerous climate tipping points. This new research shows that what we put on our plates today can help move us closer to, or further from, climate stability.

Here's one thing you can do: The Center published a policy guide alongside this new research to show how government leaders can help make sustainable diets more accessible and affordable. Share the guide with your representatives and urge them to treat food policy as climate policy.

Reproductive rights protest

Birth Control Back in the Supreme Court

Earlier this month the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether employers could use religious or moral objections to deny free birth control under the Affordable Care Act. In previous cases the court has considered whether religious groups could refuse to comply with the contraceptive mandate.

In this case the Trump administration wants to allow any employer with objections to opt out. Once again the consequences of rolling back reproductive freedom have been ignored. For students who attend colleges and universities with religious objections, this could strain budgets, forcing them to choose between birth control and other necessities like food and rent.

Here's one thing you can do: Urge your representatives to stand up for birth control.

Cattle

The Truth About the Meat Shortage

As thousands of workers at meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses have fallen ill and at least 20 have died from COVID-19, meat companies have had to shut down operations. Even though Trump ordered plants to reopen without ensuring proper precautions to keep workers safe, American restaurants have started running out of meat, and prices are on the rise.

We should be less worried about whether meat shelves are stocked and more concerned about leaders who put profits above workers' lives, food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection — especially because huge amounts of meat are still being exported to other countries. We don't have a meat shortage; we have a broken food system.

Here's one thing you can do: Join next week's webinar about eating to save the planet to learn more about how changing your diet can help change the food system. And if you missed this week's Saving Life on Earth webinar on meat production and the extinction crisis, watch our video of it.

Endangered Species Condoms

Endangered Species Condoms Update

Two months ago Endangered Species Condoms distributions were put on hold so our volunteers could maintain social distancing. But the population conversation is as important as ever, so we've needed to adjust the way we think about distributions.

It may be awhile before it's safe to gather for events, but our volunteers and partners have found creative ways to keep using the condoms as an icebreaker to talk about population. Some organizations are giving the condoms away as prizes or part of swag bags for virtual events. People are posting them on social media, and health clinics and doctors' offices are sharing them with patients.

We encourage you to continue submitting your requests for Endangered Species Condoms using our online form. If we can't fulfill your request at this time, we'll add you to our list to be the first to know once regular distributions resume. And if you have a creative idea to give away condoms while social distancing, send us an email.

Long-tailed pangolin

Wildlife Spotlight: Pangolin

Pangolins' overlapping scales make them look like walking pine cones. Their sticky, termite-slurping tongues can be as long as their entire bodies. When they're threatened, these unique critters curl up into a ball — a fear response that makes them both adorable and vulnerable to poachers.

Many people had never heard of pangolins until recently, when they were linked with the markets believed to have been the origin of COVID-19. Due to high demand for their scales and meat, pangolins are the world's most trafficked mammals. Earlier this year the Center sued the Trump administration to stop pangolin trafficking, and this week we released a sweeping action plan for the United States to crack down on the wildlife trade to protect endangered species and prevent future pandemics.

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Photo credits: Los Angeles via Pexels; Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; backyard monarch butterfly by Leonardo DaSilva/Flickr; To Kid or Not to Kid courtesy Helpman Productions; vegetables by Wendy Wei/Pexels; reproductive rights protest by Joe Brusky/Flickr; cattle by bilgebende_Momente/Pixabay; Endangered Species Condoms courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; long-tailed pangolin by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity.

Center for Biological Diversity
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