Pop X: Population, Sustainability and a Wilder Future for All.
Winter storm brewing

More than 11,000 scientists have endorsed a warning that the planet is facing a climate emergency and world leaders aren't doing enough to stop it. The scientists examined how human activities are harming the planet, once again identifying the leading drivers of the climate crisis as rising human population, meat production, fossil fuels and "excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle."

The science community is clear that the climate crisis is here and moving faster and more intensely than anticipated. The six critical solutions highlighted in the study are a clean energy transition, reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, decreasing meat and dairy consumption, universal family planning and gender equity, shifting from endless economic growth, and protecting nature. These are at the core of the work we do.

Read on to learn more about this work and how you can get involved.

For the wild,

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. Today's world population is: 7,745,489,651. We can still save room for wildlife — spread the word and share this email.

Elk at Grand Canyon

Crowded Planet / Elk at the Grand Canyon have become so accustomed to humans that they can be territorial at the water spigot. Rangers have to caution park visitors not to turn on the water for the animals.

U.S. census

Population / Why the Census Matters

In 2020 the U.S. government will be conducting its largest peacetime operation: the national census. This population count, which takes place every 10 years, plays a huge role in determining how billions of dollars flow from the federal government to state and local programs like schools, health clinics and fire departments. The census also influences voting districts and federal representation.

Although President Donald Trump seems to have little concept of how the census works, he attempted to add a citizenship question to the survey. Legal pressure forced him to backpedal, but damage had already been done. Many immigrants now fear that participating in the census could lead to deportation — so there's a risk that vulnerable communities will wind up undercounted and underserved. Advocates are working hard to dispel myths and encourage participation in the census.

Watch John Oliver's segment on the U.S. census and why it's so important to participate.

Solar panels

Wild Energy / Energy Company Greenwashing

While fossil fuel companies are fighting the clean energy transition, they're also pouring millions of dollars into maintaining a pro-renewable-energy public image. The Center reviewed the top investor-owned utilities in the United States and found that clean energy outnumbered fossil fuel images 2 to 1 in public materials. Solar images alone outnumbered fossil fuel images, even though solar energy accounts for less than 2% of U.S. electricity.

This greenwashing is dangerous. The United States is not transitioning off fossil fuels quickly enough. Meanwhile utilities are misleading investors and customers about their commitment to clean energy solutions and distracting them from the companies' anti-renewable actions. By exposing this greenwashing, we can start to hold utilities responsible for slowing the switch to clean energy.

Read more about utility greenwashing in PV Magazine.

Floating market

Earth-friendly Diet/ Healthy Diet, Healthy Planet

Researchers from the University of Oxford examined 15 foods common in western diets and found that the foods most effective at preventing disease — such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains — also have the least impact on climate and water. There were a few exceptions to the rule, such as fish (considered healthy, but unsustainable) and high-sugar foods (unhealthy, but with a low environmental impact). But as a general rule, foods that are better for us are also better for the planet.

Red and processed meats were responsible for the most negative health impacts and pollution. While some people argue that only factory-farmed meat is to blame, researchers confirmed that how and where your food is produced influences environmental impact to a much smaller degree than choosing plant-based foods.

Read more about the study in The Guardian.

Holiday trash

Overconsumption / Simplify the Holidays

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, American households generate 25 percent more waste than usual. And it's not just the extra trash that's a problem. All the fossil fuels, trees and other natural resources that go into producing unnecessary plastic toys, novelty gifts and wrapping paper make the winter holidays dreary for wildlife and the habitats they need to survive.

But surveys have shown that most Americans wish the holidays were less about "stuff" and more about family and caring for others. The Center is working with New Dream on a campaign called Simplify the Holidays to challenge people to question the mindless drive to shop and refocus the season on what really matters.

Learn more about how to simplify your holidays and keep an eye on your inbox for the Center's Greener Giving Guide coming next week.

Tongass National Forest

Take Action / Protect America's Wildest Forest

The Tongass National Forest in Alaska is the largest intact, old-growth temperate rainforest left in North America — and the Trump administration recently proposed putting more than 9 million acres on the chopping block for clearcut logging and bulldozing of roads. This proposal would eliminate protections for the Tongass under the Roadless Rule and set a terrible precedent for other national forests.

Tell Trump's Forest Service to uphold safeguards for the Tongass.

New documentaries

Five Wild Picks / Movies to Watch Over the Holidays

Between now and the end of the year, many of us will be gathering with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. It's the perfect time to cozy up with one of these recent environmental documentaries:

1) Chasing Coral — The filmmakers spent more than three years capturing beautiful underwater footage to tell the story of coral bleaching, why reefs are disappearing, and why saving the remaining reefs is so important.

2) Sea of Shadows — This feature from National Geographic follows scientists, environmentalists, journalists, fishermen, and cartel criminals through the dark world of totoaba poaching in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, where efforts are underway to save the last of a vanishing porpoise, the vaquita — the most endangered marine mammal in the world — from nets cast to catch totoaba, which are also critically endangered.

3) The Game Changers — Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos and executive-produced by big names including James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, this movie explores how elite athletes have discovered the power of plant-based eating. While not specifically an environmental movie, this film busts common myths around meat, protein and strength, adding to the evidence in support of Earth-friendly diets.

4) Our Planet — David Attenborough narrates this Netflix docuseries that shows the human impact on wildlife and their habitats. At times the footage is heartbreaking, but as the Center's climate science director wrote earlier this year, we need to bear witness and demand action from our leaders.

5) Anthropocene: The Human Epoch — Deemed "the scariest horror movie of the year" by The Revelator, this documentary takes viewers on a journey around the world to explore how humans have changed the face of the planet, ultimately providing hope for our power to save what's left.

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Photo credits: Winter storm courtesy NASA; elk at Grand Canyon by Kelley Dennings/Center for Biological Diversity; census visit courtesy U.S. Census Bureau; solar panels by RTPeat/Flickr; floating market by Claude Fabry/Flickr; holiday trash by Doc Searls/Flickr; Alaska's Tongass National Forest by Christopher Chan/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702
United States