The Center of Biological Diversity Shows the Best Way to Save Wildlife Is a Change in Diet
The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit that has protected more than 500 endangered species and 220 million acres of their habitat, is an organization that is taking on the most unpopular truth in the environmental movement.
The Center's newsletter, Endangered Earth, says it best in advocating their new Earth-friendly Diet Campaign. "You have at least three chances a day, every day, to save wildlife. Choose to take extinction off your plate." You do this by pledging to cut your meat consumption by at least one third - and the less meat you eat, the better.
The Campaign's site, TakeExtinctionOffYourPlate.com, shows how animals raised for food directly compete with wildlife for land and resources, such as food and water. Ranching business people are behind the shooting, trapping, and poisoning of millions of animals a year. Why? These wild animals threaten their profits from grazing cows, sheep, and other farmed animals. The animals massacred include wolves, bears, prairie dogs, elk, and deer. The pollution from concentrated farmed animal operations and the vast areas used to grow crops to feed them also degrades the ever-shrinking habitat that wildlife are squeezed into.
As soon as I read about the Earth-friendly Diet Campaign, I had to know more, so I contacted Stephanie Feldstein, the Center's Population and Sustainability director. First I asked how she got involved. "I started working with the Center for Biological Diversity in October 2013. I had always been a fan of the Center's work and the unique mix of science, legal expertise, creative media and citizen activism that makes the organization such an effective advocate for wildlife. So, when I saw that they were not only hiring people to work on population, but also expanding the program to encompass overconsumption issues, including the meat industry, I couldn't wait to apply." Stephanie has been vegetarian since she was 16, and is well down the road to being totally plant-based.
MORE ON THE CAMPAIGN
I asked Stephanie how the Earth-friendly Diet Campaign originated and what has made it successful. "When we expanded the population program to take on issues of sustainability and overconsumption, we knew we wanted to start by addressing the industries that do the most damage to wildlife and the environment - and the meat industry is at the top of that list. One thing that's made this campaign successful in reaching new audiences is that it connects the issues around meat production and consumption to other issues people care about, such as endangered species and climate change."