Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 71, Oct. 28, 2016
Vote for the Environment: Tuesday, Nov. 8

Unless you've been wandering in the wilderness without access to wifi, news, social media or other human beings, you probably don't need to be told how important this year's election is. But what's at stake for the environment and wildlife? Everything.

Climate change was ignored in the debates, but the next four years will be critical to the future of the climate system. The Endangered Species Act and public lands have been under attack as well as reproductive rights, which are critical to addressing global population growth. Whoever ends up in the White House will not only set the tone on these issues, but will be appointing a new cabinet and making Supreme Court choices, too.

Further down the ballot, land and wildlife management, renewable-energy development and dozens of other crucial decisions often fall into the hands of state officials. From a misleading solar initiative in Florida to a controversial carbon tax in Washington state, ballot measures across the country will shape policy and funding for years to come.

If you have any questions about where, how or when to vote -- whether you're voting in person or via mail -- check out Vote.org. Your voice is needed in this election.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,467,906,540. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

The Scariest Thing in Nature Is... Us

BadgerWith Halloween a few days away, we may look for frights in horror movies and haunted houses, but for wildlife, human voices are the most terrifying thing around.

In a recent study, researchers found that the sound of people talking or reading a book out loud caused more fear in smaller carnivores than the sound of bears, wolves or dogs. When human noises were nearby, most badgers, for example, completely stopped scavenging for food -- and those who did venture out did so later and for less time than when they heard large carnivores. Scientists had been wondering whether, as humans drive larger carnivores from their habitat, we could fill the gap in the "landscape of fear" that shapes the ecosystem. It turns out our scare tactics are so much worse that we're likely changing nature in ways not previously considered.

We've given wildlife good reason to be afraid of us. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, they can't escape human influence. Fear is one more reason we have to curb population growth and overconsumption and protect our remaining wild areas -- before we're left with a planet haunted by the ghosts of extinction.

 
 
World Vasectomy Day Benjamin Dancer
Get Whacked for Wildlife

Curious about what World Vasectomy Day is all about and why it matters? Watch this video. Don't worry, this one's an animated explanation -- though the event will once again be live-streamed from Kenya, on Nov. 18, where up to 50 volunteers will have a vasectomy. So if you've been considering the procedure -- the most effective form of male contraception -- you'll be in good company this month with nearly 1,000 doctors participating worldwide. Learn more about how vasectomies help wildlife and read testimonials from men who made the decision to get whacked for wildlife.

Conspiracies and Contraception

Benjamin Dancer's recently released eco-thriller Patriarch Run tells the story of a man forced to choose between the fate of humankind and his family. It also raises the important issue of human population growth and the threat it poses to our own future and the future of the planet. Benjamin's teaming up with Center volunteers for a series of Green Lit events, where he'll read from his new book, lead a discussion about fiction and sustainability, and give away free Endangered Species Condoms. Check out his website for the event schedule and more information about his book.

 
Solarize the Government -- Take Action
Archer Federal building Solar panels
Climate Disagreement

The United States is already on track to miss its emissions-reduction target under the Paris Climate Agreement unless we change where our energy comes from.

Untapped Potential

The federal government owns or leases 360,000 buildings. If rooftop solar were installed on all of these roofs, it would generate enough energy to power 1.8 million homes.

Urge President Obama to lead the way toward a clean, wildlife-friendly energy economy by installing solar panels on all federal government buildings.

 
 
Severe Weather Raises Risk of Manure Pollution

Cows in flooded fieldEarlier this month when Hurricane Matthew struck the Southeast, floodwaters swamped communities along the coast. In North Carolina the tens of thousands of people whose lives were affected by the hurricane continue to face long-term risks from factory farms even as the waters recede. Local farms reported hundreds of thousands of animals lost and killed in the storm, as well as breached manure pits that could cause health concerns long after the communities recover.

Among just four counties in the severely flooded lower Cape Fear River basin, 36.5 million farm animals produce more than 40 billion pounds of animal waste annually. It doesn't take a major storm to create a problem. The massive, poorly regulated animal waste pits typical of industrial animal operations pose a threat even during more routine weather events.

As industrial animal agriculture continues to grow with little oversight and factory farms become even more condensed, the risk to the environment and human health will continue to escalate. Until the EPA demands better waste management from industrial farmers and we move toward a more sustainable food system with less meat and dairy production, the billions of gallons of waste produced by farm animals will continue to threaten communities across the country.
 
Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; badger by Larry Lamsa/Flickr; logo courtesy WorldVasectomyDay.org; author photo and book cover courtesy Benjamin Dancer; archer by Thomas Hawk/Flickr; federal building by Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress; solar panels courtesy Oregon Department of Transportation; cows in flooded field by Mo/Flickr.
 

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