Center for Biological Diversity
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What Does 7.5 billion Feel Like to You?

Whether we recognize it consciously or not, most urban dwellers in the United States -- which accounts for 82 percent of our population and growing -- feel the effects of living in a world of 7.5 billion people every day: crowds, traffic jams, drought, pollution and parks turned into parking lots.

To raise awareness about our runaway population growth, we want to know what 7.5 billion looks like and feels like to you.

Post your pictures on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CrowdedPlanet (or email them to We'll compile the photos in time for World Population Day on July 11 to tell the powerful story of how population growth affects our daily lives and our environment.

Find out more about the campaign here. I look forward to sharing your views of our crowded planet.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,189,878,205. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

New Study: Population Growth, Overconsumption Driving Extinctions

Polar bearsA study led by Dr. Stuart Pimm of Duke University finds that wildlife is going extinct at a pace not seen in millions of years: 1,000 times faster than the background rate. What's driving these mass extinctions? Human population growth and our ever-increasing appetite for resources.

The study, published in the acclaimed journal Science, lays out the role of human activity in plain language: "The overarching driver of species extinction is human population growth and increasing per capita consumption. How long these trends continue -- where and at what rate -- will dominate the scenarios of species extinction and challenge efforts to protect biodiversity."

On the bright side, the study also found that mammals, birds and amphibians would have moved 20 percent faster toward extinction over the past four decades without conservation efforts, which means we still have a chance to save a diversity of life on Earth. This study is the latest wake-up call that we need to address population and overconsumption for the sake of hundreds of species, including polar bears, American wolverines, Hawaiian monk seals... and us.

Read more in our press release and this Huffington Post op-ed by the Center's Noah Greenwald.

Eurasian lynx

Melissa Amarello

Lynx in Chernobyl -- Watch Video

Lynx have vanished from most of Europe and Russia under pressure from hunting, livestock production and habitat loss. But they're making a comeback in an unexpected region: the contaminated forests surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Following the evacuation of the area's human population, abandoned farms reverted to forests and swamps and wildlife began to return. Check out the video footage of lynx and other wildlife that are now calling the exclusion zone home.

Introducing Our New Team Member

The Center's Population and Sustainability team is excited to introduce our new communications associate, Melissa Amarello. Melissa cofounded Advocates for Snake Preservation, which uses science, education and advocacy to change the way people view and treat snakes; she'll be bringing her passions for conservation and storytelling to our program. Stay tuned for more great online information and social media outreach to keep up the conversation about population growth, overconsumption and the extinction crisis.

Wildlife Services: Rogue Agency Kills Millions of Wild Animals
Fox cubs

River otters

Black bear cubs

A highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture shoots, poisons, traps and snares millions of wild animals every year with little oversight -- and that number is on the rise.

Read The Washington Post's coverage of Wildlife Services' deadly track record and the growing demand for transparency.

Sign the petition demanding that Agriculture Department rein in its rogue wildlife-killing agency to protect wolves, black bears and other endangered species.

U.S. Population Increases, Adds Pressure on Wildlife

CrowdThe number of babies born in the United States increased for the first time in five years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it's not the next baby boom, the United States already has the highest fertility rate among industrialized nations and one of the largest environmental footprints per capita.

Meanwhile another recent report shows that the fastest-growing cities in the United States are in the Southwest, adding more pressure to an already-thirsty region. Three of the top five cities share habitat with the Jollyville Plateau salamander and the Austin blind salamander. Despite their federally protected status, the continued growth and urban sprawl raise concerns for the future of these rare amphibians.

Demographers will look at the economic impact of these two trends, but the impact on wild plants and animals needs attention, too. As World Population Day approaches, it's clear that we still have work to do at home to leave room for wildlife.

Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; polar bears courtesy Flickr/jidanchaomian; Eurasian lynx courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Aconcagua; Melissa Amarello staff photo; fox cubs courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Mike Baird; river otters courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Dmitry Azovtsev; black bear cubs courtesy Flickr/USFWS; crowd courtesy Flickr/James Cridland.

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