November, 09 2015, 01:15pm EDT
Men Encouraged to 'Get Whacked for Wildlife' on World Vasectomy Day
World Vasectomy Day Highlights Role of Men in Family Planning, Environmental Protection
In honor of World Vasectomy Day on Friday, the Center for Biological Diversity is encouraging men around the country to "get whacked for wildlife" to highlight the pressure human population growth puts on wildlife and the role men can play in preventing unplanned pregnancies. Men who pledge to get a vasectomy for World Vasectomy Day will get a free "Get Whacked for Wildlife" T-shirt featuring a polar bear carrying a pair of scissors on the front and text on the back that reads: "With more than 7 billion people, we're crowding wildlife off the planet. Vasectomies help."
The Center is also covering the costs for 20 vasectomies at two New York City clinics as part of World Vasectomy Day.
"Choosing to have fewer or no children is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but right now men are often left out of that conversation," said Leigh Moyer, the Center's population organizer. "If we want to leave room for wildlife on an already crowded planet, we need to get both genders involved in preventing unplanned pregnancies. The fact is vasectomies are the most effective form of male birth control, but many people feel awkward talking about it. The T-shirt helps start those conversations."
Men who have already gotten a vasectomy - and women who want to support men who get a vasectomy -- can also share their stories and request a T-shirt to help get people talking about the connection between human population growth and wildlife extinction. Testimonials will be shared at www.whackedforwildlife.org.
"I've been concerned about unsustainable human population growth, overconsumption and the destruction of ecosystems for a long time. I knew at a young age I was ready to forego having children," said Jeff Miller, who got his vasectomy when he was 26 years old. "There are too many people living out of harmony with their environment, and too few wolves, salmon and whipsnakes. It's turned out to be a good decision that I've never once regretted."
World Vasectomy Day was founded in 2013 by Jonathan Stack, an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and urologist Dr. Doug Stein in the hopes of heightening awareness of and dispelling myths about vasectomy, increasing access to the procedure, and inspiring more men to become engaged as equal partners with women in the family planning conversation. Since the inaugural World Vasectomy Day in 2014, more than 500 doctors in more than 30 countries have performed more than 4,000 vasectomies.
More than 227,000 people are added to the global population every day, and scientists agree that we are in the midst of the planet's sixth mass wildlife extinction. While previous extinction periods were driven by geological or cosmic factors, the current crisis is caused by human activities.
The Center's population and sustainability program promotes a range of solutions, including universal access to birth control and family planning, as well as education and empowerment of women and girls. The Center has also given away more than 500,000 Endangered Species Condoms since 2009.
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.(520) 623-5252
"This extreme and cynical Republican resolution does nothing to combat antisemitism," said Rep. Ilhan Omar, stressing the importance of "legitimate criticism" of the Israeli government and its war on Gaza.
Dec 05, 2023
As Israel continued to wage what critics are calling a genocidal war on the Gaza Strip, just 13 U.S. House Democrats and one Republican on Tuesday voted against a GOP resolution that conflates anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
House Resolution 894 passed with support from 95 Democrats and 216 Republicans, including its sponsors, Reps. David Kustoff (Tenn.) and Max Miller (Ohio), who are both Jewish. Almost as many Democrats—92—voted present.
The resolution, which embraces the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's controversial working definition of antisemitism, was widely condemned by progressive and Jewish groups this week ahead of the vote.
Republican Congressman Thomas Massie (Ky.) joined the 13 Democrats who opposed H.Res. 894: Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Jesús "Chuy" García (Ill.), Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.).
"This extreme and cynical Republican resolution does nothing to combat antisemitism, relies on a definition that conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism, paints critics of the Israeli government as antisemites, and falsely states that anti-Zionism is antisemitism," Omar said in a statement about her vote. "We must stand against any attempt to define legitimate criticism of this war and the government perpetrating it as antisemitism."
According to The Hill, Bowman said after the vote that while he "strongly condemn[s] antisemitism and hate in all of its forms," he voted against H.Res. 894 because "it fuels division and violence, conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism, and ignores one of the greatest threats to the Jewish community, white nationalism."
Bowman and Omar are among the House progressives facing serious primary challenges for the next cycle, in part because of their criticism of the Israeli government and its war on Gaza that has killed nearly 16,000 Palestinians in under two months.
They joined with Bush, Lee, Massie, Ocasio-Cortez, Ramirez, Tlaib, and Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.) and Al Green (D-Texas) in October to oppose a bipartisan resolution, which declared that the House unconditionally "stands with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists," and did not mention Palestinian suffering.
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"We need to cut through the smoke and mirrors of 'abated' fossil and keep our eyes fixed on the goal of 1.5°C," said a co-author of a new analysis.
Dec 05, 2023
While the United Nations climate summit continued in the Middle East, researchers in Germany warned Tuesday that depending on technology to trap and sequester planet-heating pollution could unleash a "carbon bomb" in the decades ahead.
Specifically, the new briefing from the Berlin-based think thank Climate Analytics states that reliance on carbon capture and storage (CCS) could release an extra 86 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050.
"The climate talks at COP28 have centered around the need for a fossil fuel phaseout," the publication notes, referring to the United Arab Emirates-hosted U.N. conference. "But some are calling for this to be limited to 'unabated' fossil fuels."
"The term 'abated' is being used as a Trojan horse to allow fossil fuels with dismal capture rates to count as climate action."
Over 100 countries at COP28 support calling for "accelerating efforts toward phasing out unabated fossil fuels," or operations that don't involve technological interventions such as CCS," as Common Dreamsreported earlier Tuesday.
The new briefing highlights the risks of targeting only unabated fossil fuels. Contrary to claims that significant oil and gas consumption can continue thanks to new tech, it says, "pathways that achieve the Paris agreement's 1.5°C limit in a sustainable manner show a near complete phaseout of fossil fuels by around 2050 and rely to a very limited degree, if at all, on fossil CCS."
Additionally, "there is no agreed definition of the concept of abatement," and "a weak definition of 'abated'—or even no definition at all—could allow poorly performing fossil CCS projects to be classed as abated," the document explains. The report's authors suggest that the focus on unabated fossil fuels is driven by polluters who want to keep cashing in on wrecking the planet.
"The term 'abated' is being used as a Trojan horse to allow fossil fuels with dismal capture rates to count as climate action," declared report co-author Claire Fyson. "'Abated' may sound like harmless jargon, but it's actually language deliberately engineered and heavily promoted by the oil and gas industry to create the illusion we can keep expanding fossil fuels."
Climate Analytics CEO Bill Hare, who also contributed to the document, said that "the false promises of 'abated' fossil fuels risks climate finance being funneled to fossil projects, particularly oil and gas, and will greenwash the 'unabatable' emissions from their final use, which account for 90% of fossil oil and gas emissions."
Report co-author Neil Grant stressed that "we need to cut through the smoke and mirrors of 'abated' fossil and keep our eyes fixed on the goal of 1.5°C. That means slashing fossil fuel production by around 40% this decade, and a near complete phaseout of fossil fuels by around 2050."
As a Tuesday analysis from the Civil Society Equity Review details, a "fair" phaseout by mid-century would involve rich nations ditching oil and gas faster than poor countries, and the former pouring billions of dollars into helping the latter. The United States, for example, should end fossil fuel use by 2031 and contribute $97.1 billion per year toward the global energy transition.
The United States is putting money toward what critics call "false solutions" like carbon capture, and it is not alone. An Oil Change International (OCI) report from last week notes that "governments have spent over $20 billion—and have legislated or announced policies that could spend up to $200 billion more—of public money on CCS, providing a lifeline for the fossil fuel industry."
OCI found that rather than permanently sequestering carbon dioxide, 79% of the global CCS capacity sends captured CO2 to stimulate oil production in aging wells, which is called "enhanced oil recovery." The group also reviewed six leading plants in the United States, Australia, and the Middle East, and concluded that they "overpromise and underdeliver, operating far below capacity."
Lorne Stockman, OCI's research director, asserted last week that "governments need to stop pretending that fossil fuels aren't the problem. Instead of throwing a multibillion-dollar lifeline to the fossil fuel industry with our tax dollars, they should fund real climate solutions, including renewable energy and energy efficiency. Fossil fuel phaseout must be the central theme of COP28, not dangerous distractions like CCS propped up with public money."
Underscoring Stockman's point that such projects are incredibly expensive, the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment on Monday published research showing that a high carbon capture and storage pathway to net-zero emissions in 2050 could cost at least $30 trillion more than a low CCS pathway.
"Relying on mass deployment of CCS to facilitate high ongoing use of fossil fuels would cost society around a trillion dollars extra each year—it would be highly economically damaging," said Rupert Way, an honorary research associate at the school.
"Any hopes that the cost of CCS will decline in a similar way to renewable technologies like solar and batteries appear misplaced," he added. "Our findings indicate a lack of technological learning in any part of the process, from CO2 capture to burial, even though all elements of the chain have been in use for decades."
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A new analysis shows how "abortion bans, extremist harassment, and the financial realities of operating community-based clinics make it increasingly difficult for independent clinics to stay open."
Dec 05, 2023
Scores of independent reproductive health centers have been forced to close or stop offering abortion care, with 14 states now having no abortion clinics, a report published Tuesday revealed.
Abortion Care Network (ACN) released its annual Communities Need Clinics report, which details how "abortion bans, extremist harassment, and the financial realities of operating community-based clinics make it increasingly difficult for independent clinics to stay open" after the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court canceled half a century of federal abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization a year-and-a-half ago.
As a result, 65 independent reproductive care clinics have shut down or stopped performing abortions since June 2022. The following states now have no clinics providing abortion care: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
"Even in states where abortion remains legal, medically unnecessary restrictions, financial barriers associated with operating a health center, and the constant work of protecting against anti-abortion extremism make it challenging for many clinics to keep their doors open at all," the report states.
While there are several reasons for these closures, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and subsequent flood of anti-abortion legislation in Republican-controlled states are the most common. The report notes that this year alone, 53 laws restricting abortion access have been passed across the country.
However, the publication highlights how "voters resoundingly reject efforts to ban abortion":
In 2022, Kansas voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would say there is no right to abortion in the Kansas state Constitution. The vote prevented further restrictions on abortion in a state with only six brick-and-mortar abortion clinics. Winning by nearly 60% of the vote, the decisive election came as a surprise to many. In Kansas, registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats, but support for abortion cuts across party affiliation. States with other severe abortion restrictions surround Kansas, making it an important safeguard for access in the region. The vote in Kansas was the first time voters had the opportunity to vote on abortion access since Roe was overturned and became a bellwether for other states, including Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, California, and Ohio—all states in which ballot initiatives confirmed popular support for abortion.
"States that restrict abortion access also have some of the worst reproductive health outcomes—and yet, despite these overlapping conditions and political hostilities, communities have made themselves clear: In every state where abortion was on the ballot, voters showed up to defend access to abortion," ACN co-executive director Erin Grant said in a statement.
Julie Burkhart, the founder and president of Wellspring Health Access and co-owner of Hope Clinic, asserted that "not only do independent abortion clinics provide the majority of abortions in the U.S., we also play a crucial role in protecting and defending reproductive rights by challenging abortion restrictions in the courts."
"In Wyoming, Wellspring Health Access and the patients we serve were nearly written off because of misperceptions of support for abortion in the state," Burkhart continued. "But, along with five co-plaintiffs, we brought a lawsuit challenging the state's recent abortion bans, that has ultimately reinstated abortion access in Wyoming."
Robin Marty, executive director of the West Alabama Women's Center, said that "when abortion was banned in Alabama, we understood that our community needed us more now, not less."
"Just as independent clinics were the vast majority of abortion providers in Alabama prior to Dobbs, we are staying here despite the strictest ban in the nation—providing follow-up care to those who leave the state or self-manage at home, as well as prenatal, contraceptive, and gender-affirming healthcare services, too."
"And when we eventually win back the right to an abortion—and someday we will do just that—we will be here, ready to offer that, too, at the very moment it is legally allowed," Marty added.
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