, February 11, 2010 (ENS) - Free condoms, packaged to show the connection between human overpopulation and threats to biodiversity, are the Center for Biological Diversity's Valentine's gift to Americans.
Starting on Valentine's Day, 3,000 volunteers working in all 50 states, will distribute 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms with original artwork and slogans that urge men to use them to help save six species federally listed as threatened or endangered.
Three of the condom packages feature the polar bear with the message, "Wrap with care, save the polar bear;" the jaguar, with the slogan, "Wear a jimmy hat, save the big cat;" and the American burying beetle, with the line, "Cover your tweedle, save the burying beetle."
Wrapper of the polar bear endangered species condom (Artwork by the Endangered Species Print Project, image courtesy Center for Biological Diversity)
The other three condom packages feature a fish known as the snail darter, with the message, "Hump smarter, save the snail darter," the rare Puerto Rico rock frog, coqui guajon, with the line, "Use a stopper, save the hopper;" and the spotted owl, with the slogan, "Wear a condom now, save the spotted owl."
"Human overpopulation is destroying wildlife habitat at an unprecedented rate," said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate leading the Center's overpopulation campaign.
"All of the major threats to the earth's biodiversity - sprawl, logging, mining, dams, pollution, and climate change - are driven by human overpopulation. Our Endangered Species Condoms are designed to capture peoples' attention, get them laughing, and get them talking about the impact of overpopulation on our small and fragile planet."
The Center also has launched an educational website detailing the impact of human overpopulation on endangered species.
Additional free condoms will be distributed through the site, and five people will win a lifetime condom supply.
The Endangered Species Condoms will be distributed in bars, supermarkets, schools, concerts, parties, and other public events by grandmothers, college students, university professors, health-care providers, ministers, rock bands, and others from all walks of life, the Center says.
"We've been overwhelmed with volunteers," said Serraglio. "We expected 100, but got over 3,000 in just a month. The demand far exceeded our first run of 100,000 condoms. We'll be producing another 100,000 as soon as the first batch hits the streets."
The human population stands at 6.8 billion and is projected to reach at least nine billion by 2050.
"Without universal access to free birth control and engaging public education about the serious consequences of overpopulation, the global population could reach 15 billion by mid-century," said Serraglio. "The Earth simply can't sustain that many people and provide a high-quality life for all species, including humans."
The current extinction rate is about 1,000 times the normal background rate that has existed for hundreds of millions of years.
The numbers on the Center's new website tell the tale of destruction. The current mass-extinction crisis is jeopardizing:
"Unlike previous mass extinctions, which were the result of cosmic or geologic catastrophes, this one is being caused by a single species: human beings," said Serraglio. "With a little more thoughtfulness and responsibility for our reproductive behavior, we can ensure future generations inherit a world that's still full of a diversity of life.
"Through the empowerment of women, universal, free access to birth control for everyone who wants it, and education of all people, we can stabilize global population at a sustainable level," said Serraglio. "The United States, which has the highest population growth of any developed nation and extremely high consumption levels, is a key factor in this problem. We should be taking the lead in promoting policies that will stabilize global population."
The Center's new website allows people to sign up to become Endangered Species Condom distributors and to enter a contest to win free condoms for life.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.
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