Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 51, Feb. 20, 2015
Are People Worried About Population Growth?

Between the taboos that stop people from discussing human population and the drumbeat from economists and policymakers that we need to grow, grow, grow, it's easy to doubt that people care about what that runaway growth means for the planet. But according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, they do.

As part of a poll on a range of science and technology topics, Pew found that 59 percent of American adults are worried about the effect of population growth, particularly when it comes to water and food security. The scientific community felt even stronger about the issue, with 82 percent concerned about the future.

When people realize there's a limit to our natural resources, it opens the door to the conversation about our unsustainable population and reckless overconsumption and, more importantly, to the question of how we can create a future that's better for all the species who share our one planet.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,248,313,589. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

One Step Closer to a Greener Food Pyramid

Vegetable displayThe food pyramid may be getting a green makeover. The advisory committee that's been working on the next iteration of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines -- which inform nutrition education, as well as menus in schools, prisons, government cafeterias and military facilities -- released its scientific report this week. With an eye toward sustainability, the committee recommended that the American diet needs more plants and less meat and dairy.

These recommendations were released despite intense pressure and criticism from the meat industry. But the fight isn't over. Now it's up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to draft the 2015 guidelines. Forty-nine environmental, animal-protection and public-health organizations submitted a letter this week to the agencies urging them to embrace the advisory committee's recommendations for a more sustainable diet.

You can submit your own comments in support of dietary guidelines with less meat and more plant-based foods through April 8.

University of Oregon panelists Megaphone
Public Interest Law Conference

The University of Oregon's annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene is the oldest and largest conference of its kind. This year, March 5-8, our Population and Sustainability team will be presenting on three panels: Tackling Taboos: How Population and Overconsumption Threaten the Planet and What We Can Do About It; Mainstream Meals: Plan(e)t Based Diets, Meatstinction and Cultured Meat for the Masses; and Social Media Savvy: Creating Effective Online Engagement. Learn more and register for the conference.

Global Population Speak Out

The 2015 Speak Out, launched this month, is using social media, word-of-mouth and direct action to engage citizens, scientists and opinion-leaders in the conversation about how we can protect the rights of other species and the health of the planet by promoting human rights and human health. At the center of the campaign is a dramatic new coffee table book that uses incredible photography showing the impact of human population and overconsumption on the planet to inspire change. Learn more and join the movement.

Bomb Trains Must Be Stopped -- Take Action
North Dakota oil train explosion Columbia River U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx

The increase in transport of oil by rail has led to several catastrophic and deadly accidents, causing huge fires and dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into our waterways.

A new report by the Center finds that "bomb trains" threaten Americans as well as endangered species and iconic rivers, including the Hudson, Mississippi and Columbia.

Tell the U.S. Department of Transportation that bomb trains aren't the solution to meeting our energy needs, and we need an immediate moratorium on crude-by-rail transport.

Report: Family Planning Is Cost-effective Climate Strategy

Family planningEarlier this month, the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco released a new report showing that increasing access to family planning services is not only a cost-effective way to address population growth, but also a key part of the solution to climate change and food security.

"More than 800 million people on the planet are chronically hungry and climate change is accelerating," said lead author of the report Joe Speidel. "Ongoing rapid population growth is making it much more difficult to address these serious world problems. Voluntary family planning is a cost-effective way to improve world food security and slow climate change."

The cost of meeting the unmet need for family planning worldwide is an estimated $9.4 billion annually -- less than 5 percent of the annual estimate to meet the need for food in developing countries. Expanding access to family planning will not only decrease the number of unintended pregnancies, but will also ease pressure on wildlife and could provide as much as 16 percent to 29 percent of the needed decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

This latest report shows that expanding reproductive healthcare isn't just a win for women and wildlife, but is also a winning strategy for the climate, food security and the budget.

Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; vegetable display courtesy Flickr/Nancy Regan; University of Oregon panelists courtesy Flick/Louie Vidmar; megaphone courtesy Flickr/Free Press; North Dakota oil train explosion via Occupy Riverwest; Columbia River courtesy Flickr/Thomas Shahan; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx courtesy Flickr/James B. Pittman; pregnant couple courtesy Flickr/Allan Foster.

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