Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 59, Oct. 23, 2015
The Dangers of an Unsustainable Food Pyramid

Government dietary recommendations are rapidly gaining attention in international climate conversations because of the outsized -- and largely unregulated -- impact of our food system, particularly meat production, on the world. Unfortunately, earlier this month the Obama administration announced its plans to leave sustainability off the menu when it releases the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans later this year -- despite the recommendations of its expert panel and support for smarter food guidelines from thousands of Americans, plus a broad coalition of food, environmental and health advocates.

It's no mystery why the administration made this decision. It's been under intense pressure from the meat industry ever since the advisory committee first uttered the word sustainability. Environmental considerations, much like dietary health concerns, aren't good for business if you're trying to maximize the number of livestock on the planet. But there's a lot more at stake in the dietary guidelines than meat-industry profits.

We may not think much about them on a daily basis, but dietary guidelines make a tangible difference in how we handle nutrition education, food in government-run facilities and schools, and federal food programs and benefits, among other things. Perhaps most importantly those guidelines are intended to support the health of Americans -- and when industry profits are put first, our health, environment and food security are put at risk. Check out my latest Huffington Post blog about the dangers of an unsustainable food pyramid.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,376,383,942. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

Did You Get Whacked for Wildlife? Tell Us Your Story.

Get Whacked for WildlifeOne of the calendar's most underappreciated awareness days is fast approaching: World Vasectomy Day, Nov. 13. The population conversation often revolves around the need for reproductive justice and access to healthcare for women, but the other half of the population has an important role to play, too. World Vasectomy Day, started by filmmaker Jonathan Stack, is the perfect opportunity to talk about why men get vasectomies and celebrate those who have already made the choice as an act of love -- love for their families, their partners and, of course, the planet.

A vasectomy is one of the best ways to avoid unplanned pregnancy, reduce your carbon legacy and help leave space for wildlife. If you chose to get a vasectomy -- or are thinking about it -- for the sake of the environment, we want to hear from you. Send us a few sentences about why you "got whacked for wildlife" and we'll send you our conversation-starting "Get whacked for wildlife" T-shirt. We'll share your story online (first name and state only) to help inspire other men.

World Vasectomy Day isn't all talk. On Nov. 13 more than 650 doctors around the world will be performing thousands of vasectomies, many of them for free or at a reduced cost. The Center is supporting New York City doctors working to expand access to the procedure by sponsoring 20 vasectomies next month.

Learn more about World Vasectomy Day and send us your stories.

Saskia Comess Solar panels
Student Talks Wildlife Week

Students on more than 150 college campuses across the country joined Wildlife Week, taking part in a week of actions to reduce their meat consumption, host Earth-friendly eating events, and advocate for more sustainable meals around campus. One of those Campus Wild superstars was Saskia Comess, a Center intern and junior at Vassar College. Saskia wrote an article for the Poughkeepsie Journal on how what we eat affects the planet, calling on her fellow students to eat less meat as one of the most important things they can do to protect the environment.

A Wild Energy Future

Our dependence on energy from fossil fuels is at the core of major threats to biodiversity worldwide. The effects of climate change alone are devastating, but the extraction and use of dirty fuels destroys habitat, air quality and water resources. There is a better way: By investing in renewable energy projects that are planned with sustainability in mind, we can create a clean, renewable energy future for people, wildlife and the planet. Check out our new Wild Energy webpage and download our new factsheet on the benefits of wildlife-friendly renewable energy.

Demand #GoodFoodNow -- Sign the Petition
Restaurant Justice scales Restaurant sign

Americans spend nearly half their food budgets eating outside the home, making restaurants a powerful force in our food system and dietary choices.

Good food is about more than just taste and environmental impact -- to be truly sustainable restaurants need to serve up dignity and justice, too.

Tell the world's largest restaurant company to commit to good food principles to protect its workers, customers and the environment.

Nestlé's National Forest Water Grab

Bottled waterIn the middle of a historic drought, when California is calling on people to take shorter showers and minimize the amount of water they use when cooking, Nestlé is siphoning millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest on an expired permit.

When it comes to wasteful consumer products, it's hard to think of a worse offender than the bottled-water industry. From grabbing community water rights to producing about 50 billion plastic bottles a year, the majority of which wind up in landfills and oceans, the industry has a track record of harming communities and the environment -- as well as evading government oversight.

The Center, Story of Stuff and the Courage Campaign sued the U.S. Forest Service for allowing Nestlé to take millions of gallons of water out of the San Bernardino National Forest on a permit that's been expired for 27 years. The four-mile pipeline siphoned about 68,000 gallons a day in 2014 from the forest's Strawberry Creek -- and from the wildlife that depend on it -- to eventually be bottled and sold as "Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water."

Check out this Story of Stuff video about the pipes and then read more in USA Today.
Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; polar bear graphic courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; portrait courtesy Saskia Comess; solar panels courtesy Flickr/Steve Jurvetson; restaurant, public domain; scales of justice courtesy Flickr/Michael Coghlan; sign courtesy Flickr/Mike Mozart; bottled water courtesy Flickr/Steven Depolo.

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