Whether you've received Endangered Species Condoms, signed up for a chance to get them in the future, or just want to know more about how you can engage people in the conversation about human population growth and the wildlife extinction crisis, we've put together downloadable resources and helpful links to help you make the most of your outreach experience (follow the link in the headline).
If we don't have this little "birds and bees" conversation, there won't be too many birds or bees left. The human species has a way of life that destructively encroaches upon the habitats and prosperity of other creatures, and we just keep coming.
"Wrap with care, save a polar bear" and "In the sack, save a leatherback" are just two of the environmentally savvy messages printed on the Center for Biological Diversity's (CBD) latest series of endangered species condoms, set to be distributed on Earth Day.
"We got to a point in our work where we realized there was one link between the (environmental) issues we are seeing today, and that's overpopulation" explains Amy Harwood, human overpopulation organizer at CBD, who says the endangered species condoms are a form of direct action.
"We're hoping that these condoms go out into the community and help start conversations about population growth," Harwood says, "they're great tools for that."
On the condom packaging endangered animals such as Florida panthers, spotted owls and hellbender salamanders are colorfully depicts alongside catchy conservation slogans.
Harwood says the main problem presented by human overpopulation is the amount of resources we consume. The more of us there are, the more we need to survive. The Earth's population has nearly doubled since the inaugural Earth Day in 1970. The group says that overpopulation and overconsumption are the root causes of environmental destruction, and that human overpopulation has led to the extinction of the woodland bison of West Virginia, Arizona's Merriam's elk and the Rocky Mountain grasshopper.
CBD isn't advocating that people cease reproducing; rather, they want folks to have the resources and information needed to make responsible decisions. Harwood says that having a kid is everyone's right, but half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.
Condoms aren't the only means of safe sex. If you are a man who is not a fan of condoms, and is not stoked on getting a vasectomy you might check out RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance), a 15-minute procedure (done under very localized anesthesia) involves a doctor injecting your vas deferens with a polymer gel that deactivates sperm on the way out.
Just Do It lifts the lid on climate activism and the daring troublemakers who have crossed the line to become modern-day outlaws.
Documented over a year, Emily James' film follows these activists as they blockade factories, attack coal power stations and glue themselves to the trading floors of international banks despite the very real threat of arrest.
39 years ago the courts recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions, to control their bodies, their reproductive health, and their lives.
Planned Parenthood has set up a website - www.SinceRoe.com - to show the world exactly what Roe has meant in the past and still means today. We've got a lot to fight for, and a lot to lose. Please, take a look and share it far and wide. Even better, add your own comment about how Roe v. Wade has made a difference in your life.
Just in Time for New Year's Eve: the Hump Smarter Hotline - 1-800-628-2399December 30, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity
New Year's Eve is humans' busiest breeding day of the year. So the Center for Biological Diversity just launched the Hump Smarter Hotline, an irreverent, toll-free phone service urging callers to think twice -- once about endangered species and again about human overpopulation -- before taking an unprotected roll in the sheets.
7 Billion Actions is a global movement open to every organization and individual committed to addressing the most challenging issues of our time. This bold, collaborative movement will showcase the stories and actions of people throughout communities around the world using an array of online, SMS, and offline activities.
# Step One: Identify a project, activity, or on-line module - something you're already doing - that can be connected with one the seven key issues of the campaign. (go to www.7billionactions.org to be reminded of the key issues)
# Step Two: Contact Maria Larrinaga on the 7 billion actions team
# Step Three: Brand your project, activity or on-line module with the 7 billion actions logo and link it to the campaign website. Send Maria a paragraph about your activity as well as your UN branding and logo. She will list your agency as a campaign partner and feature your stories on the campaign site.
The Year of 7 Billion Began with Endangered Species CondomsJanuary 14, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity promoted 2011, the Year of 7 Billion, by offering 50,000 more free Endangered Species Condoms to eager volunteers. This brought the total number of free condoms distributed to 350,000 for the year. CBD plans to give away hundreds of thousands more in 2011.
The condoms have created quite a media stir, an important facet of our campaign to educate the public about the unmistakable connection between human overpopulation, overconsumption and the loss of plants and animals around the world.
This February, the Center will again participate in the annual Global Population Speak Out (GPSO), it's a month-long effort to push the issue of unsustainable human population growth. Fueled by academics, activists and concerned citizens all over the world, the GPSO has grown dramatically since its inception two years ago, and this one promises to be, by far, the biggest yet. The list of 2011 GPSO endorsers includes Anne and Paul Ehrlich of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, the president of the European Section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a senior editor and environmental writer for Grist, a member of the Australian parliament, academic leaders from India, Kenya, Mexico, Bangladesh and Argentina, and other luminaries from the United States and around the world.
A National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation show featured a panel that included the author of National Geographic's January cover story on overpopulation and an NPR science correspondent. It was very disappointing. The panelists were dismissive of the perils of overpopulation (and neglected any of the damaging effects to endangered species), while exhibiting an almost religious faith in the powers of technology to save us from ourselves. At one point, in response to an audience question about which three inventions were most important for dealing with overpopulation, two of the panelists' responses were the "discovery of petroleum" and the spread of "agricultural technology," including petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides - the very two of the fundamental causes of human overpopulation. They have been key factors in our race to build the biological house of cards upon which our unsustainable human population now rests.
The Power of One - a Writer Uses the Ripple Effect to Teach People About Population Growth and the Outdoors2005, Izaak Walton League of America - A Guide to Population
We begin trading stories of fishing and hunting adventures. The older man mentions he is the father of six children. His son has yet to marry. The father laments, it is getting harder to find places to hunt and fish. The conversation reminds me of the words of Margaret Mead, the American sociologist, who said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world." Perhaps, we could make a difference by talking about population growth whenever the opportunity arose. My fishing partners and I are several hours into our trip and we share a love of the outdoors. I decide staying silent will not cut it and I ask the father why he thinks all the good hunting and fishing places around Boise are gone. "Because the population of Boise and surrounding towns has exploded. It's sure not like it was when I was a kid." I ask, "Do you think having six children might have contributed." I explain, "it's not just people moving in, the kids of long-time residents have pushed the numbers up as well. What, I continue, does he think will happen if our population just keeps growing? He says, "I never thought of it that way. Having a large family was just something we did." Our guide, a father of one, chimes in. "That's why clients can keep only two fish apiece now." Talking with others about the impacts of an ever-increasing population wouldn't be time consuming. We're making ripples on the pond. Some hunters at the trailhead have seen no elk and are heading home in disgust. I take the plunge. "The real problem in finding big game is that as our population increases, the hunting areas closest to roads are getting crowded and forces elk and deer even deeper into our last roadless areas". Though it is often uncomfortable to discuss human population with fellow hunters and anglers, the stakes are too big not to. Instead of tackling population growth head on, people peck at the symptoms. We try to control sprawl, we urge more sustainable forestry practices, we encourage recycling, but when you come down to it, by not controlling our own numbers the human species is exceeding the planet's carrying capacity. Just as disease, malnutrition, and starvation force elk and deer herds to crash when they exceed the carrying capacity of their environment, our own numbers will produce a similar fate if left unchecked.
The National Network of Earth Institutes offers discussion courses on Voluntary Simplicity, Exploring Deep Ecology, Choices for Sustainable Living and Discovering a Sense of Place. These have been offered in over 400 communities in 48 states. Each course has a coursebook of readings compiled from different sources broken into seven or eight sessions. If you are interested contact the Northwest Earth Institute at 503-227- 2807 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens all over the world will recognize World Population Day. In South Africa, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya has urged citizens to join various activities to highlight the impact poverty, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and illiteracy have on youth in the country. The special day is sponsored by the UNFPA.
Since June, 1970, the world population has more than doubled. All living creatures, are feeling the change in climactic conditions and are trying to adjust. The Earth is reacting to the weather changes, as seen in the shrinking glaciers and the freak weather phenomenon. Fish are becoming harder to find, their habitats being destroyed. The planet is losing plant and animal species. World Environment Day is observed on June 5 as one of the vehicles through which the UN stimulates attention to the importance of sustaining the environment. This years theme is a call for nations to make a choice: Do we want healthy or polluted seas and oceans. The extent of damage has left many ecosystems such as coral reefs and coastal waters in such a fragile state that the slightest disturbance such as a dry spell, a fire, or a flood, could push them into disaster. By taking appropriate action, we will be able to prevent further destruction.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai said people who recycle and plant trees have a bigger influence on the planet's health than elected leaders. There are many countries that have put their signature on the dotted line of Kyoto" but aren't meeting its goals. We ought to embrace the Kyoto protocol in our own little way, she said. Three decades ago, she began mobilizing Kenyan women to plant trees as a way of conserving the environment, improving the quality of life and empowering women. The project has evolved into a broad-based, grass roots organization called The Green Belt Movement, and has given rise to similar movements across Africa.
The Earth and natural resources are finite. That means if we keep using these resources at the current rates, we will eventually have none. Perpetual growth is a myth. The belief that technology can overcome scarcity is a superstition. The belief that the growth of the human population is not a problem is an example of denial.
The Earth has a finite carrying capacity. When we exceed that, very bad things begin to happen. There is no cure for starvation, and starvation will start killing people when the price of food is beyond their means. Whenever there have been famines, there has always been food somewhere in the world. It just wasn't available or affordable to the people who were dying.
The past few administrations seemed to think that subsidies to agribusinesses are all that is necessary. But there is the matter of preserving the land and its fertility, of producing food that is uncontaminated by pesticides and herbicides, preserving access to water in the more arid areas. There is religious faith in free-market capitalism. Private ownership by an absentee corporation that intends to extract the maximum amount of profits in the shortest possible time is a bad system. Business expansion financed by savings and retained earnings is good. Loans and highly leveraged financial schemes are not good.
To expect corporate executives to be conservators is to expect the highly unlikely. All the pressure on the corporate executive is to make a profit and to boost the stock's value. The welfare of employees, who have been reduced to "human resources," is not a consideration. Private capitalists are notorious for demanding favors from communities in exchange for promises of jobs that often are broken. They are notorious about shifting their costs onto the public.
Substituting plastic and aluminum containers for reusable glass bottles is a prime example.
Researchers unveiled the first detailed map of human impacts on the world's oceans last week. Humans are leaving only 4% of the world's oceans unaffected by human activities.
Links to Sierra Club Population MaterialsSeptember 2009
Sierra Club's Kim Lovell reported that meeting the unmet need for family planning around the world could provide up to 16 to 29% of the emissions reductions required by 2050 in order to avoid more than two degrees of warming (the target set by nations to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change). Speaking at the Wilson Center in February, she said: "Increasing access to family planning for women around the world is a climate adaptation and climate mitigation solution." She drew on research by Brian O'Neill (National Center for Atmospheric Research) and others.
Nancy Belden of Belden Russonello and Stewart Consulting, sad that, for environmentalists and those concerned with climate change, "sometimes the idea has been that population is toxic, that we can't talk about population growt.," however the results of a recent survey and several focus groups conducted in association with Americans for UNFPA demonstrate that there is great potential for engaging the environmental community in such a discussion.
Belden, Lovell and Kate Sheppard from Mother Jones all spoke on how the population and environment communities can come together in the lead-up to the Rio+20 UN sustainable development conference.
"Climate change is already happening and women and families around the world are suffering from the effects of water scarcity of erratic weather patterns," she said. But "when women have the ability to plan their family size and have more choices about their families and about their reproductive health and rights, that makes it easier to adapt to those climate change effects that are already taking place," Lovell said.
Reproductive rights issues are something that people can really connect with, she said; "most women, most men too...understand why it's an important issue and they've understood it in their own life and they have very strong response to it," said Kate Sheppard.
The environmental community is relatively optimistic about the potential outcomes of family planning programs and of foreign aid in general. When queried, half of the environmentalists strongly supported the idea of U.S. contributions to UN programs that provide voluntary access to contraception in developing countries, said Belden.
All three speakers stressed is the need to integrate consumption into the integrated population message. In her survey work, Belden found that "if you don't talk about consumption in the same breath, start wanting to put it in there because otherwise...this is someone blaming others."
It is imperative - especially from a sustainable development standpoint - that while working towards integrating environment and population we remain focused on a message that includes "using less but still having a high quality of life" here at home, said Sheppard.
In a presentation by the Sierra Club, Quintana Roo resident and activist Karina de la Torre Garcia, and environmental author/editor Laurie Mazur, a mesaage about the ecological threats in the world's future was delivered.
Playa del Carmen, in Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico, was a fishing village that was a tropical paradise for tourists, with its pearl-like beaches and blue water. Hotels, restaurants, and bars began appearing along the beach, and the village grew to a city of more than 100,000.
Mangrove forests were cut down, destabilizing the coastline. The garbage dump grew huge. With garbage burning, the fumes raised the incidence of cancer. Sewage went right into the ocean. Tourists began complaining that the beach was dirty and the ocean water was polluted.
In addition to the growing tourist population, the native Maya were also multiplying.
"In these areas," de la Torre said, "people believe they must have all the children God sends them." The church advises sexual abstinence, but the tourists display sexual behavior that is copied by the local adolescents.
If boys know about condoms, they can go to the pharmacy, but if they buy a package of condoms, everyone in town will know their secret.
De la Torre works with a group active in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, called Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program, nicknamed GOJoven. In addition to providing basic information to young people, it also provides leadership training so they can reach more people.
De la Torre believes this program can "help young people realize they can control their own lives." She has brought a close-up example of the consequences of ecological problems brought to the boiling point by expanding population and its demands on limited resources.
Laurie Mazur, on the other hand, takes a global perspective. She has just written a new book, " Pivotal Moment, Population, Justice & the Environmental Challenge."
World population was just 1.65 billion in 1900, but by 2000 the count had risen by 4.41 billion to a total of 6.06 billion.
Mid-century population projections range from 8 billion to 11 billion. This is because a large percent of world population today is 25 or younger - the top child-bearing years.
An increased population will double the amount of CO2 and create a grim future for all people.
People living with marginal conditions are more likely to do things like destroy forests in order to maintain their existence, while richer countries with higher consumption are likely to add more than their share of carbon into the atmosphere.
Mazur cited claims that we have only six years to change our carbon footprints or else it will be too late to save the planet.
Slowing population growth is part of the answer.
We know everything we need to know to slow population growth, Mazur said. We need to educate people about the means and making sure all people have the means and the power to make their own decisions about childbearing. Mazur advocates universal access to family planning.
We, the Northeast Ohio Group Pop-Env't Com, have a Tic-Tac-Toe Population-Environment Game which we made by modifying a Mattel, "Toss Across" game and used to good effect, Earth Day 2002.
Players are presented on a table with a 30 x 30" platform consisting of 9 rotatable squares, each of which can present 3 facets. At the start the player sees a world map made up of the 9 squares. The player has 6 bean baqs to throw to try to rotate the squares in order to make a tic-tac-toe out of Z's P's & G's.
On any square, the toss may turn up an environmental "Bad" related to overpopulation. In that case, a bell rings and the game-tender loudly declaims a short explanation, e.g.the Bad is a picture of an endangered animal, the explanation is an appropriate statistic.
Winners who uncover a line of Z's or P's or G's or a diagonal Z-P-G get a prize. Unsuccessful competitors get a candy anyway.
The backboard colorfully explains our message.
Game idea and game contributed: Jennifer Vincenty Wonderful Construction: Betty Liska Candyman: Ed Douglas
Members of environmental groups lobbyied legislators on issues important to them. About a half-dozen people stood on the capitol steps under green umbrellas to highlight the issue of a rapidly growing population. The Green Umbrella symbolizes a successful family planning program in Bangladesh. The chair of the population committee for the local chapter of the Sierra Club, Ramona Rex, says there's a connection between the number of people on earth and environmental degradation. It's an issue that is very close to people's lives - how many children they want to have and reproductive issues that a lot of people don't really want to talk about. One solution is to give women more control over the number of children they have. Rexx says when that happens, women are more likely to have fewer children spaced further apart.