Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 56, July 17, 2015
A Tale of Two Droughts

One frustrated resident of the wealthy Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood in Southern California recently complained on social media that people "should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful."

Meanwhile, in the state's more impoverished rural areas, residents have bigger problems than unsightly landscaping -- shallow wells have increased the concentration of toxins in their water supply, making it unsafe to consume. Some wells have stopped pumping water altogether, forcing residents to use bottled water to drink, cook, bathe and even flush the toilet. While officials have scrambled to get water tanks to people in need and provide filters and portable showers, they haven't been able to meet demand or come up with a long-term solution.

This disparity is one more example of how closely environmental problems are tied to social injustice. Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color suffer most from the impacts of environmental hazards, whether it's climate change, pollution, access to services or drought. Throughout the Center's programs, including our population, overconsumption, climate and environmental health work, we strive to draw attention to these gross inequalities and work with communities to push for a future where people and wildlife live in a healthier, fairer world.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,284,759,445. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

Federal Court Protects Rare Frog From Grazing Cattle

Chiricahua leopard frogThe beautiful Fossil Creek watershed in central Arizona is known for unique cultural sites, wilderness areas, colorful wildflowers, abundant riparian vegetation, crystal-clear waters and numerous threatened and endangered species. Like many Southwest rivers, it's vulnerable to degradation and pollution from grazing cattle.

One of the watershed's rare species is the Chiricahua leopard frog, a threatened amphibian that sounds like it's snoring when it wants attention and needs permanent water for reproduction -- water that's becoming harder to find thanks to water diversion and destruction by cows. The frog just won an important victory: A federal district court, in a case filed by the Center, has ruled that proposed grazing in the Fossil Creek area would harm the frogs' critical habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The federal government permits livestock grazing on 270 million acres of public land in 11 western states, putting at least 175 threatened and endangered species at risk and costing taxpayers $100 million a year in direct subsidies. Read more about the Center's work to reform livestock grazing on public lands, and choose not to support the industry by taking extinction off your plate.

Neil Young Roadside turkeys
On Tour With Neil Young

The Center is on the road with folk-rock legend and activist Neil Young as part of the tour behind his new album "The Monsanto Years," which challenges genetically engineered crops and the influence of mega-corporations. From July 8 through July 22, Center staff and volunteers will be talking to fans at the concerts about our work to tackle GE crops, pesticides, meat overconsumption and climate change. And, of course, we'll be giving away free Endangered Species Condoms.

#CrowdedPlanet Photo Gallery

We recently asked you and our social media supporters to post photos of what sharing a crowded planet looks like in your neighborhood. From Massachusetts to Alaska, incredible photos of bobcats, foxes, lizards, turtles, birds and other animals trying to survive in human habitat were shared with the #CrowdedPlanet hashtag. Together these pictures tell the story of how population and extinction are problems everyone needs to help solve. Check out the photo gallery, then learn more about the campaign and how to post your own photos.

Take Extinction Off the Grill -- Sign the Pledge
Grilled meat Wolf pups Grilled veggies and veggie burgers

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat an average of 818 hot dogs per second and hundreds of millions of pounds of hamburger.

Meat production drives climate change, habitat loss and wildlife extinction, so the choice of meat vs. veggies on the grill has a serious environmental impact.

Choosing the veggie burger or making meat a side dish can help protect a wide range of wildlife. Pledge to curb your meat consumption by one-third or more.

Green Pope Makes Us Blue About Contraception

Pope FrancisPope Francis' long-awaited encyclical letter has received well-deserved praise for its strong stance on climate action -- calling for policies that drastically reduce emissions and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy -- and for its criticism of pesticides and genetically engineered crops. There's even an entire chapter titled "Weak Responses" about the failure of global politics to address environmental problems. And the pope devoted highly significant attention to the crisis of biodiversity loss -- a crucial aspect of the encyclical that received far too little notice.

It's easy to see why the pope's groundbreaking letter has inspired religious and secular audiences alike. Pope Francis is brave and progressive on many environmental fronts. Unfortunately, when it comes to contraception and family planning, there's still little hope on the horizon for a Vatican revolution.

Not only does the pope's letter reinforce the anti-contraceptive doctrine of his predecessors by criticizing reproductive health programs, but he also states that blaming population growth instead of extreme consumerism "is one way of refusing to face the issues." With only one planet and more than 7.5 billion people, the only real way to face the issues is to address both sides of the coin.

While it was too much to hope for a reversal of the church's position on birth control, it's disappointing that Pope Francis pitted reproductive health against addressing global inequity and sustainability. Increasing access to contraceptives and empowering and educating women are among the most effective ways to combat hunger, overcome poverty, enhance health and protect the environment. Act now to sign a petition with Global Population Speak Out urging Pope Francis to reconsider his stance on this important issue.

Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; Chiricahua leopard frog courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department; Neil Young courtesy Flickr/Takahiro Kyono; roadside turkeys by Jennifer Molidor, Center for Biological Diversity; meat barbecue courtesy Flickr/David King; wolf pups courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; veggie barbecue courtesy Flickr/sharyn morrow; Pope Francis courtesy Flickr/Catholic Church England and Wales.

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