600 Endangered Species Condoms Sent to U.S. Senators in Honor of World Population Day
U.S. senators returning from their holiday break Monday received a package of Endangered Species Condoms to mark World Population Day, July 11, and to urge them to protect reproductive rights and family planning programs. The delivery is part of the Center for Biological Diversity's project to raise awareness about human population growth and its effects on wildlife. In all, 600 condoms were sent to the Senate.
Every senator received a package of the brightly colored condom boxes featuring images of species threatened by human population growth and slogans like "Wrap with care, save the polar bear" and "Fumbling in the dark? Think of the monarch." The senators also received a letter with the condoms either thanking them for their support of reproductive healthcare and access to contraception or criticizing them for prioritizing tax cuts for the rich over women's rights and the environment.
"Access to reproductive healthcare is a right all women should have. It's also an essential tool in curbing human population growth so we can save room for the wildlife who share the planet with us," said Leigh Moyer, the Center for Biological Diversity's population organizer. "We need to draw the connection between human population growth and the wildlife extinction crisis, but that's not enough. We also need to protect straightforward solutions like universal access to contraception for everyone on Earth, starting right here in the United States."
Human population continues to grow at a rate of about 227,000 people per day, driving habitat loss and forcing competition for natural resources. Wild plants and animals are going extinct at rates 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural background rate due to habitat loss, pollution, climate change and other human-caused problems. The UN recently updated population projections to 9.8 billion people by 2050, an increase of 100 million from the prediction made two years ago.
"We're at a pivotal moment in history. As Congress works to address American healthcare, we have the opportunity to put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Moyer. "We can't afford for our senators to miss this opportunity and vote against the American people and against the environment."
World Population Day was designated by the United Nations in 1989 to raise awareness about global population issues. There are more than 7.5 billion people on the planet, with the U.S. ranked as the third-most populous country. And with 45 percent of all pregnancies unplanned, the U.S. also boasts the highest rate of unintended pregnancies of any developed nation.
The Center for Biological Diversity's population and sustainability program advocates for rights-based, common-sense solutions, including universal access to contraception, reproductive healthcare and family planning services, education and equality for women and girls, and reducing our environmental footprint.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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