Human overpopulation is a root cause of environmental destruction. It’s driving species extinct, destroying wildlife habitats and undermining the basic needs of all life at an unprecedented rate. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity – the nation’s leading endangered species group – launched its Human Overpopulation and Extinction Crisis campaign in 2010 and continues to push the conversation forward on this key threat to imperiled plants, animals and wildlands.
This year the Center’s marking Earth Day by distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms around the country. The Center collaborated with artist Roger Peet to create a special edition of its award-winning colorful condom packages featuring a suite of species — from the dwarf seahorse to the polar bear — threatened by the world’s growing human population.
“The more people we crowd onto our planet, the fewer resources there are for already-endangered species like panthers, sea turtles and snowy plovers,” said the Center’s Amy Harwood. “If we’re going to deal with why plants and animals are going extinct at a staggering rate, we have to make human overpopulation and overconsumption part of the conversation.”
The Center has already signed up thousands of volunteers to distribute Endangered Species Condoms in all 50 states as part of Earth Day this Sunday, April 22. In the past, the condoms have been given away at community events, libraries, college dorms, protests, bars and backyard parties. As Harwood notes, “these condoms are a great way to get people talking and thinking about how overpopulation’s hurting plants and wildlife that people care about.”
The world’s population has doubled since 1968 and surpassed 7 billion in October 2011. The United Nations predicts it will top 10 billion by the end of this century. Meanwhile, about 90 species go extinct every day.
The planet’s already experiencing the devastating effects of overpopulation on biodiversity: species abundant in North America just two centuries ago — from the woodland bison of West Virginia and Arizona’s Merriam’s elk to the Rocky Mountain grasshopper and Puerto Rico’s Culebra parrot — have been wiped out by growing human numbers.
The Center is the only environmental group with a full-time campaign highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world. Since 2010, the Center has handed out nearly 500,000 free condoms as a part of the 7 Billion and Counting campaign.
You can sign up to become a volunteer Endangered Species Condoms distributor, and join the Center for Biological Diversity’s monthly population newsletter, PopX . If you want to do even more, write a letter to your local paper – the Center has put together a toolbox to help make it easy to play an important role in highlighting the connection between overpopulation, overconsumption and the extinction of plants and animals around the globe.
Condom Package Illustration Courtesy of Artist Roger Peet. Image Copyright of the Center for Biological Diversity.