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

This month The Revelator reflects on the constant stream of threats the planet faced in 2018 … and also on the signs that the tide is turning as more people and communities take environmental protection into their own hands.

And we're seeing those same signs when it comes to population and overconsumption. As Trump continued to chip away at access to contraception, states enacted 125 provisions to improve healthcare access. The midterm elections saw a record-breaking number of women running for office, and the new Congress will have more women than ever before.

Despite government policies that continue to prop up the meat and dairy industry, the popularity of plant-based foods continues to rise. This growth is predicted to keep trending in 2019, creating shifts in the market. And in the face of federal efforts to promote fossil fuels, local communities across the country are making ambitious commitments to renewable energy.

The past couple of years haven't been easy — and we'll continue to face serious challenges in the year ahead. But we're not alone in the fight for the future of the planet.

For the wild,

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. Today's world population is: 7,671,482,502. We can still save room for wildlife — spread the word and share this email.

USPS packages

Crowded Planet / The U.S. Postal Service is expected to deliver 900 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's — about 50 million more than last year. This week many of those boxes will be shipped express to make it in time for the holidays, creating unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and packaging waste. Skip the last-minute gifts and give experiences instead.


Earth-friendly Diet / Climate Talks Feature Burgers

This past weekend global leaders wrapped up the latest international climate talks. The two-week conference, hosted by Poland, was fraught with pro-polluter messages from a coal company sponsorship to a Trump administration panel promoting fossil fuels. And in the main food court, visitors were offered a meat-heavy menu, including cheeseburgers and beef with smoked bacon.

The Center, along with Brighter Green and Farm Forward, released an analysis of the carbon-intensive menu. The groups found that, if everyone chose the meat-based options, the conference's food could contribute more than 4,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of 3,000 people flying from New York to Poland.

Check out the analysis and read about how this hypocrisy adds to the climate crisis.


Take Action / Send Applebee's CEO a Holiday Message

Applebee's has more than 1,900 locations across the United States, but it doesn't offer a single plant-based entrée in all of its restaurants. Since we launched our campaign in September asking Applebee's to add a plant-based entrée to its menu, company representatives reached out and were receptive to the idea. But they need to hear that there's demand for healthier, Earth-friendlier food.

Send Applebee's CEO a holiday message urging him to give the gift of better options for customers and the planet.

International Women's Day protest

Population / Reproductive Rights Left Out of Assessment

Reproductive rights play a key role in the climate crisis. Women are disproportionately affected by the harms associated with climate change. As such, equal rights and the ability of everyone to determine their own reproductive futures is an important part of building resiliency. And by ensuring everyone can choose for themselves if and when to have children, women also play an important role in determining the impact of population growth on the climate.

But reproductive rights were left out of the discussion in the National Climate Assessment report released by the Trump administration. Unfortunately, this omission doesn't come as much of a surprise — the policymakers suppressing action on climate change are often the same ones repressing reproductive rights.

Read more in Grist.

Washington D.C. solar

Wild Energy / Renewable Energy Targets on the Rise

This was a big year for Renewable Portfolio Standards across the country. Renewable Portfolio Standards, or RPS, are one of the main policy drivers for renewables progress, setting measurable targets for policymakers.

California's legislature and Washington, D.C.'s city council passed two of the most ambitious targets yet: 100 percent clean energy by 2045 and 2032, respectively. And earlier this week New York's Governor Cuomo called for a new target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2040, which would be the most ambitious state target yet. In Nevada and Arizona, we saw expensive fights over ballot initiatives to increase the states' RPS goals to 50 percent renewables.

While Arizona's initiative didn't pass, the momentum behind the effort is a sign of what we can expect in 2019, with more states and communities demanding commitments to transition to renewable energy.

Carbon-footprint protest

New Year's Resolution / Ask Your Mayor to Cut Footprint

Our oversized carbon footprint in the United States is contributing to the global climate crisis. We're burning fossil fuels and bulldozing wild spaces, and the Earth can't keep up. We see this in increasingly destructive storms, shrinking habitat and crashes in wildlife populations.
Researchers analyzed cities around the world for their carbon footprints per capita. And the top 10 biggest emitters in the United States were New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Kansas City, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati and Tulsa.
Not happy about your city being on the list?
Act now to urge your mayor to commit to New Year's resolutions that would make it easier for people to reduce their footprints.

Reticulated siren salamander

Five Wild Picks / Good News for Aquatic Wildlife

Wildlife faced a lot of challenges in 2018, but there's been some good news, too, as communities and activists continue to fight for their future. Here are five headlines you may have missed for stories of hope for aquatic animals:

1) New Giant Salamander Discovered: A two-foot-long spotted salamander with frilly gills behind its head, named the reticulated siren, has been confirmed in Florida and Alabama.

2) Washington Proposes Plan for Orca Recovery: Washington's governor put together a $1.1 billion plan to restore salmon habitat, address storm water pollution and reduce boat traffic in an effort to save the Pacific Northwest's orca population.

3) Habitat Protection Proposed for Endangered Turtles: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed critical habitat protections for the only known population of Sonoyta mud turtles.

4) Court Upholds Mexican Seafood Ban to Protect Vaquitas: A federal court rejected the Trump administration's challenge to a ban on the import of seafood caught by gillnet in vaquita habitat, keeping pressure on the Mexican government to ban all gillnets and protect the remaining members of the species.

5) Colorful Appalachian Fish Gains Endangered Species Protections: The candy darter has been listed as "endangered" by the Fish and Wildlife Service, which will help this rainbow-colored freshwater fish get more resources dedicated to its recovery.

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Photo credits: Wave by Patrick Neufelder/Pixabay; USPS packages in public domain; COP24 by IRENA/Flickr; holiday fruit arrangement courtesy One Meal a Day; International Women's Day protest by mikemates/Flickr; Washington, D.C. solar by Dept of Energy Solar Decathalon/Flickr; carbon-footprint protest by All Is Possible/Flickr; reticulated siren salamander by Pierson Hill.

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