The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kelley Dennings,

8 Billion People on Earth Crowding Out Imperiled Animals, Plants

Global Population Passes 8 Billion As Species Face Mass Extinction


The world population hit 8 billion people today, accelerating the global extinction crisis for animals and plants imperiled by population growth's effects on habitat, water, air, and other natural resources.

"It's impossible to ignore how our growing population and the consumption of high-wealth countries has increased pressure on the natural world that sustains us," said Kelley Dennings, population and sustainability campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. "We're in the middle of the planet's sixth mass wildlife extinction, and it's driven by human activity. Advancing reproductive rights, gender equity, and education is important for people and helps the planet too."

In the past 50 years, global human population has doubled and wildlife populations have dropped by 70%. We are currently on track to lose 1 million species to extinction in the coming decades, a loss of intrinsic value that also affects human health and livelihoods. Meanwhile 257 million people around the world face an unmet need for modern contraception and are not fully empowered with the education and healthcare they need to ensure their reproductive freedom.

"Humanity's fate and the fate of the planet are intertwined. We need to ensure a safe, healthy and habitable planet for all species, including our own," said Dennings. "Until all people are empowered with access to reproductive healthcare and can make the choice about when or if to have children, we will struggle to create a world where all life on Earth can thrive."

The Center just released a report on 10 U.S. species that are threatened by our increasingly crowded planet. Species like the Florida panther, monarch butterfly and Carolina madtom are rapidly losing habitat as the human population expands, while others are seeing their habitat dangerously altered by pollution, drought, logging and fragmentation.

The Center's Population and Sustainability program advocates for a range of ethical, common-sense solutions like universal access to family planning and reproductive health services as well as education, opportunity and equal rights for women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

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.

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