End Illegal Importation of Hazardous Waste

Target: Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand

Goal: Crack down on illegal importation of electronic waste from other countries.

Since the Chinese ban on waste importation went into effect, the surrounding countries, especially Thailand, have been under siege by the illegal importation of hazardous electronic waste. Many companies are now taking advantage of China’s initiative to protect its environment by illegally accepting wastes that no longer have an outlet for disposal. This is putting an extreme strain on Thailand’s resources and threatens the health of the environment and Thailand’s citizens.

Electronic waste, or e-waste, comprises nearly any item with an electric cord or battery and contains metallic components that can be separated out and recycled. The waste processing required to do this also exposes workers to the hazardous components of e-waste, which include lead, cadmium, and mercury. Many workers in waste processing plants reportedly have minimal protections from inhaling significant amounts of toxic fumes. Prolonged exposure to these materials can cause cancer and other serious health conditions.

Thai police recently seized many tons of illegally imported e-waste from facilities that were not permitted to import foreign e-waste. Since this e-waste was allegedly imported using a loophole for secondhand appliances, acceptance and processing is essentially unregulated and threatens Thailand’s environment and citizens. This is especially true for employees of waste processors which handle this illicit material.

Thailand has laws in place to limit movement of e-waste across borders, but these are insufficient and at times unenforced. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has pledged increased inspections throughout the country to discover this hazardous material, but this only helps after the material has entered the country. Additional regulations and enforcement need to be in place to prevent its importation. Sign the petition for the prime minister to implement and enforce broader regulations to protect Thai citizens from exposure to hazardous e-waste.


Dear Prime Minister Chan-ocha,

China’s ban on the importation of waste, particularly electronic waste, has opened the doors for increased illegal importation by waste processors in neighboring countries such as Thailand. This puts a strain not only on law enforcement officials to seek out and prosecute offenders, but on human health and the environment as well. The processing of electronic waste in order to recover the recyclable components also exposes the toxic components of electronic waste such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. These are known to cause serious health conditions, including cancer. It is critical to the protection of Thailand’s citizens that these materials be regulated to prevent adverse health impacts to workers and potential contamination if these toxins are leaked into the environment.

Ratification of the Basel Convention to prevent importation of hazardous materials has been insufficient in limiting these materials from entering the country. It is not enough to increase inspections in order to discover the material after it has been imported. Regulated processing of hazardous e-waste is critical to the protection of human health and the environment. Please, expand and enforce regulation of this dangerous material.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fairphone

Praise Chile for Nationwide Plastic Bag Ban

Target: Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile

Goal: Congratulate Chile on being the first nation in the Americas to institute a nationwide plastics ban, and ask that it encourage others to do the same.

Chile just became the first country in the Americas to institute a nationwide ban on plastic bags. Chile’s leadership is crucial in beginning a trend of similar legislation all over this part of the world.

Outspoken support of the plastic bag ban by the president resulted in a vote that was near unanimous in Chile’s Congress for passing the legislation, with wide public support as well. The ban was originally focused only on Patagonia, the southernmost tip of Chile, but was broadened to include the entire country. Within the next six months, all major retailers will no longer be allowed to use plastic bags. Smaller businesses will have two years to comply with the ban. Chile’s previous president had already banned the use of plastic bags in many coastal regions.

Plastics pollution, especially single-use plastics, plagues the ocean environment and marine life all over the world. Estimates by Sea Turtle Conservancy reveal that marine mammal deaths from plastics pollution total around 100 million per year. This nearly incomprehensible statistic is just one of the reasons for instituting plastic bag bans around the world, as has already been done by Bangladesh, Rwanda, Kenya, and other nations. Sign the petition to congratulate Chile on their nationwide plastic bag ban as an important step in protecting Chile’s coastline, as well as the ocean in general.


Dear President Piñera,

Your government’s ban on the use of plastic bags is monumental, both in its protection of the environmental and its importance in beginning this trend in the Americas. The ocean is of vital importance, as are its inhabitants. However, they are plagued by pollution all over the world.

Conservation organizations estimate marine mammal deaths in the millions per year due to plastic pollution, so eliminating Chile’s 3.4 billion plastic bags per year is commendable. I applaud your leadership in reducing the threat of plastics pollution to marine life and ecosystems. I hope you encourage your neighboring countries to do the same.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew Latham

Reduce Air Pollution Choking Chinese Provinces

Target: Xi Jinping, President of China

Goal: Curb the deadly pollution enveloping industrial areas of China.

Despite attempts to limit emissions from factories, especially the steel industry, air pollution has continued to increase in industrial areas of China. Concentrations of particulate matter are on average more than double the recommended limits for exposure and at times exceed greater than ten times these amounts, leading to serious public health implications.

Reports on emissions from January to April of this year have indicated that even with limitations on manufacturing during winter months, emissions have continued to increase. The World Health Organization’s recommended limit on particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM 2.5) is 25 micrograms per cubic meter for 24 hours of exposure; industrial provinces in China are experiencing average levels of 55 to 64 micrograms per cubic meter. Any successful reductions in particulate matter are often counteracted by weather events, such as sandstorms and conditions which promote smog formation. Particulate matter emissions can increase the likelihood of developing lung and heart conditions and exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma, especially in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.

Limitations on industries are put in place yet emissions levels continue to rise. Steel production reached its highest level in the past four years and will likely continue, with no end in sight for smog, particulate matter emissions, and the associated adverse health impacts. Only certain pollution levels will trigger reductions in activities, despite these levels already being above those recommended for exposure. Sign the petition to encourage Chinese officials to enact stricter emissions regulations and implement better control technologies, especially for industrial areas suffering the severe health impacts.


Dear President Xi,

Concentrations of particulate matter were on average more than double the limits for prolonged exposure in the first four months of this year. PM 2.5 concentrations in the air ranged from 55 to 64 micrograms per cubic meter in your industrial provinces compared to 25 micrograms per cubic meter recommended by the WHO based on the health impacts related to this pollution. Weather events such as sandstorms, or conditions which promote smog formation, can increase these levels even higher, even as stricter emissions standards are enacted for industries.

As steel demand and production increases, so too will particulate matter emissions. This will result in adverse health impacts to China’s populations, especially in provinces with significant industry. It is not enough to pledge to reduce pollutant emissions in a graduated manner, especially with the extreme weather events seen in these areas which only exacerbate particulate matter concentrations in the air.

As your industries thrive, your citizens experience increased pollution and its health effects. Even as levels continue to stay above concentrations recommended for exposure, only cases of extreme pollution trigger limitations on industrial production or allow citizens to stay indoors and away from work. Please, don’t allow your population to continue to suffer from increased asthma, respiratory conditions, and heart and lung diseases. Reduce particulate air emissions to the allowable recommended levels for health by requiring stricter pollution controls on factories.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kentaro IEMOTO

Block Destruction of Protected Wildlife Reserve

Target: Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank

Goal: Stop construction of enormous hydrodam in Selous Wildlife Reserve that could irreparably harm the habitats of many protected species.

A proposed hydrodam project in Tanzania is threatening the habitat of many endangered species. The dam is proposed to be constructed in the Selous Wildlife Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected wild areas in Africa. A large number of protected animals could be lost, including elephants, endangered African wild dogs, and the critically endangered black rhinoceros.

The dam is proposed to be constructed in the Rufiji River starting in July. The 430-foot tall, 2,300-foot wide dam would provide 2,100 megawatts of electricity to Tanzania and create a 463-square-mile lake, covering much of the area where the protected animals congregate during the dry season, according to scientists. Over 2.6 million trees would need to be felled to make way for the project. It is estimated that the damming of the river would impact approximately 200,000 farmers and fishermen downstream, by shutting off water and nutrients to farms and fisheries. Many endangered species who live in the area will also be impacted, facing extreme loss of habitat.

Tanzania has called on the African Development Bank for funding of this hydropower project, but there is still time to stop this environmentally destructive project. Development of any kind is strictly prohibited by UNESCO on World Heritage Sites, yet the Tanzanian government is moving forward with the project in direct violation of these restrictions and without regard for the environmental consequences. Bids for logging the area to be flooded, an activity that is prohibited in the reserve, have already been accepted, and Tanzania has not conducted the proper environmental assessment of the project. Sign the petition to discourage the African Development Bank from funding this destructive project and end the threat to protected species in the Selous Wildlife Reserve.


Dear Mr. Adesina,

The hydropower project proposed by Tanzania in the Selous Wildlife Reserve will irreversibly damage one of the largest protected wild areas in Africa, impacting numerous species of endangered animals. The Tanzanian government is ignoring the environmental consequences of this development and will directly violate UNESCO regulations of this World Heritage Site if this project continues. There is still time to stop it, before millions of trees are felled and hundreds of square miles of habitats are lost.

Conservation groups have united in condemning this project, calling it “fatally flawed” (IUCN) and causing “serious and irreversible damage” (UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee). The Tanzanian government has not performed the proper environmental assessment on the project. It is estimated that 200,000 farmers and fishermen will be negatively impacted downstream from the stopping of the Rufiji River. The manmade lake formed by the hydrodam will also impact numerous endangered species, including the elephants, giraffes, African wild dogs, black rhinoceros and many more who call the Selous Wildlife Reserve home.

The hydropower plant is not identified in Tanzania’s energy plan as urgently needed and is not the most cost-effective method to provide electricity to the area. This single, centralized power plant in a remote area will require significant investment and infrastructure development to distribute power. Do not fund this illegal, environmentally destructive project that will harm both protected wildlife and Tanzanian citizens. More sustainable, economically viable options for power generation need to be explored. Invest instead in de-centralized renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which are more cost-effective, more efficient in distributing power, and will not permanently impact this protected wildlife refuge.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Laika ac

Protect the Dolphins: End Overfishing in Cyprus

Target: Marina Argyrou, Director of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Cyprus

Goal: Enact restrictions on fishing to discontinue the threat to dolphins’ food supply.

Overfishing around Cyprus has led to significantly reduced fish populations in the area, leading dolphins to take drastic measures for food. Food is so scarce that dolphins have been breaking open fishing nets to steal fish. The dolphins can become trapped in the nets or ingest harmful plastics while trying to access food, both of which are very dangerous but have become necessary risks to take for their survival.

Fish populations in the area have been declining for some time now, since there are no quantity restrictions for licensed fishermen. Fishermen cast more nets in order to bring in sufficient catches, which further exacerbates already dwindling fish stocks. These fishermen also face higher costs from the additional nets and repairs to nets that have been broken into by dolphins seeking the same scarce fish.

There are currently no limits in place on where fishermen can fish or how many fish they can catch. It is critical that quotas and restricted zones are put in place in order to replenish fish populations, which will aid not only the dolphins but the fishermen causing the issue in the first place. Little is known about the dolphin populations around Cyprus, so any tiny change in their food source or population could have potentially significant impacts on the dolphins. Sign the petition to encourage the Cyprus Department of Fisheries and Marine Research to implement sustainable fishing practices and help end food scarcity for the dolphins.


Dear Ms. Argyrou,

Overfishing in Cyprus has led to decreased fish stocks, which threaten the dolphin populations who rely on the fish for food. Desperate dolphins have taken to destroying fishing nets to steal caught fish. This leads to high prices for fishermen, which leads to more fishing and further exacerbates the problem.

Very little is known about the dolphin populations surrounding Cyprus. Any small change to the predator-prey relationship could have significant impacts on the dolphin populations. The dolphins also face significant harm from ingesting the plastic from the fishing nets and potentially becoming entangled and trapped. These dolphins are protected, so accidental dolphin catches likely go unreported and impacts to their populations are underestimated. Even though the dolphins are protected, their food source is not.

These protected dolphins face significant risks from the impacts of overfishing on the dolphins’ food sources. Restrictions on fishing should be implemented, including quotas and no-fishing areas. This will limit overfishing and help fish populations stabilize or even increase. Please, institute efforts to replenish fish stocks and protect the dolphins from the disastrous implications of overfishing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jose Antonio

End Rampant Pollutant Discharge from Coal-Fired Power Plant

Target: Evelyn Rosborough, EPA Region 6 – Water Quality Division

Goal: Take action on a delinquent water discharge permit application and allow public comment on a polluting coal-fired power plant.

The EPA has delayed issuance of a renewed water discharge permit for the Four Corners Power Plant in New Mexico that was applied for in 2006. In that time, this coal-fired power plant has continued to spew poison into the air and water with no updates to the plant’s discharge limits or control technology.

The Four Corners Power Plant is coal-fired, burning 19,000 tons of coal per day to provide electricity to customers in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It has long been criticized for being a significant contributor to both air and water pollution in the San Juan River area. Over the past 12 years of EPA inaction, technological advances have been made that could reduce the air emissions and the pollution discharge to the San Juan River from the plant. However, since no action has been taken on the water discharge permit, the plant has continued using old technologies as allowed under its old permit.

Water discharge permits are supposed to be renewed every five years and opened for public comment. Even if the plant is meeting water quality discharge limits, there has been no opportunity for discourse by residents to voice their objections to this coal-fired monstrosity. Sign the petition for the EPA to take action on the water discharge permit and allow public comment on this contentious power plant.


Dear Ms. Rosborough,

The EPA’s inaction over the past 12 years regarding the Four Corners Power Plant water discharge permit is unacceptable. These permits should be renewed every five years and opened for public comment, to allow discourse between regulators such as yourself and residents who are directly affected by the pollution from this power plant. Technological advances have been made in the meantime that could reduce pollutant discharge from the plant. More information could have been collected on the impacts of this plant on the environment, including endangered fish species in the San Juan River, in order to reduce the plant’s discharge limits and prevent further impacts. Yet nothing has been done.

The Four Corners Power Plant continues to pollute the air and the San Juan River, as the EPA does nothing to protect public health and the environment. Please, take action on the Four Corners Power Plant water discharge permit and allow the residents to not only voice their concerns, but be heard.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe

Don’t Let Turkey’s Canal Project Harm Its Citizens

Target: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey

Goal: Stop unnecessarily harmful development of Canal Istanbul in Turkey.

A canal project supported by Turkey’s president is threatening the residents along the proposed route of the canal development. Developers of the construction of Canal Istanbul, which is intended to boost Turkey’s economy, have not taken the potential environmental impacts into account. This action needs to be stopped before thousands of residents are displaced and permanent ecological damage is done.

Canal Istanbul is a 30-mile long waterway proposed to connect the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara through Istanbul. It is located 18 miles from the Bosporus Canal, which already conveys shipping traffic in and out of Istanbul. The proposed route would introduce salinity from the Black Sea into inland water features such as lagoons, lakes, ponds, and rivers, which would destroy the natural landscape and threaten farmers who rely on these water sources to water crops and animals. Rapid development and population influx has already begun along the proposed canal route, further threatening water quality in the area and increasing drought conditions. In addition, the canal route will destroy one of two main reservoirs that provide drinking water to the area.

Turkey’s Chamber of Civil Engineers believes that Canal Istanbul has the potential to cause significant environmental harm to the areas along the proposed route. Although the government has reportedly reviewed the potential environmental impacts of the Canal Istanbul development, experts disagree and say they have not been consulted. Villagers in attendance at public meetings regarding the project were reportedly met with armed police and feared to voice their concerns over the disappearance of their reservoir. Sign the petition to encourage the president of Turkey to consider the impacts on the environment and Turkey’s citizens before embarking on one of the largest infrastructure developments Turkey has ever seen.


Dear President Erdoğan,

The proposed Canal Istanbul could irreparably harm the environment along its route, and these impacts should be considered before beginning one of the largest infrastructure developments of your country’s history.

This is so important because connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara would introduce salinity into inland waterways and agricultural areas. This could cause significant impacts for both the environment and the residents who rely on agriculture for their wellbeing. Increased development along the proposed canal route has already increased drought conditions in the area and is displacing residents. One of the reservoirs that provides drinking water to the residents will also be destroyed.

The residents of the area are fearful of retaliation if they speak out while their homes, drinking water, and livelihoods are at stake. Please, consider your citizens and the environmental impacts of this enormous undertaking before permanent damage is done.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Comzeradd

End Trophy Hunting as Conservation Measure

Target: Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Goal: Stop the dissemination of misleading claims that trophy hunting aids conservation efforts.

Trophy hunting has long been a cruel practice, especially in Africa, where safaris are popular and conservation efforts are difficult to enforce. Some conservation organizations, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) support this disrespect of animal life as a means to an end when it comes to funding conservation. This claim that the continuation of trophy hunting in support of conservation efforts is unsubstantiated, and this practice should be ended.

There is no scientific consensus that the fees paid for trophy hunting have had any appreciable impact on saving the animals that are being hunted. Yet this is the justification by some organizations and hunters for continuing to support this cruel practice: that killing these animals and taking their body parts as a prize somehow promotes their wellbeing. In Tanzania alone, hunting expeditions and game fees brought in $75 million between 2008 and 2011, compared to the $600 million per year needed for conservation programs. Even if all the money is reaching these programs, which some experts say is unlikely in many war-torn areas, it is not nearly enough to justify the cruelty of trophy hunting. The term “trophy” is just a euphemism used in an ethically gray area by those who wish to validate their immoral actions – what reason do hunters have to support animal conservation except to continue hunting?

The U.S. has ceased support of a ban on trophy importation, so opposition in the conservation community is crucial to ending the unethical dismemberment of animals for show. The IUCN should stop encouraging hunters’ behavior with the justification that their cruelty somehow aids conservation efforts. Sign the petition to urge the IUCN to say enough is enough and end the propagation of misleading information regarding trophy hunting as a conservation effort.


Dear Director Andersen,

In light of the U.S. lifting its ban on trophy importation, animal conservation is more important than ever. How can an organization such as the IUCN claim to conserve nature while supporting trophy hunting for conservation? With no scientific consensus supporting this idea, it is concerning that this information is being propagated from a leader of the conservation community to justify the mistreatment of animals with their dismemberment as a prize.

It is not clear that all of the proceeds from hunting expeditions and game fees go to conservation programs, especially in war-torn regions such as Africa. Even if 100% of the money went towards these efforts, in many cases it is not nearly enough to offset what is required to sustain conservation programs. At the end of the day, it seems that giving hunters a justification for their actions will only kill the animals off faster, or temporarily prolong populations for future hunting. If hunters are keen on the chase, they can use tranquilizer guns to aid scientific research or tracking of these animals. The blanket approval of trophy hunting in support of conservation leaves no room for more effective and humane alternatives to be explored.

Your organization’s support of this illogical idea is simply confounding. Encouraging trophy hunting for conservation justifies cruel actions by humans against animals and limits innovations regarding conservation alternatives. Its effectiveness is not proven, and even if it was, it should only be used as the very last resort. Please, stop proliferating the idea that trophy hunting aids conservation efforts and support more humane conservation measures.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Derek Keats

Remove Underwater Mines Threatening Safety of Marine Life

Target: Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy

Goal: Clean up deteriorating World War II munitions threatening marine life.

Underwater munitions left over from World War II and prior need to be cleaned up from the ocean beds near coastlines around the world. These remnants of previous wars pose a serious threat not only to marine life but also to humans living and working nearby.

Discarded munition material, unexploded mines, and ships sunk during wartime carrying munitions have been deposited all over the ocean floors following wars for various reasons, including strategic placement and intentional deposition to prevent weapons being accessed by our enemies. Many are from World War II and prior and have been deteriorating for decades. Little information is available regarding the exact locations of these deposits. They can be found all around North America, Europe, and the South Pacific and are often spread over large areas. These munitions are laden with metals and organic compounds that leach into the ocean as the munitions casings deteriorate. The dumping of munitions into the ocean has since been discontinued, but much of what is left is losing structural integrity. These munitions corrode and release metals and chemical contamination into the surrounding water, threatening marine life.

Scientists estimate millions of tons of decaying munitions currently lie at the bottoms of oceans around the world. Unexploded mines have the ability to cause severe damage and fatalities if encountered. Even if the toxins released are diluted enough in the ocean to not cause acute effects in marine life, increased human activities along coastlines around the world, including offshore wind farms, aquaculture, and shipping traffic, are threatened by the presence of these literal ticking time bombs. Sign the petition to urge the Navy to safely remove these from our waters before tragedy strikes or marine life is compromised.


Dear Secretary Spencer,

Millions of tons of mines and discarded munitions lay scattered across miles of ocean floors, threatening marine life and offshore activities. These vestiges of a previous time need to be cleaned up before significantly impacting the ocean environment or resulting in an accidental explosion.

Although the active dumping of munitions into the ocean has ceased for many years, many munitions are still present and are reaching the end of their life. These are primarily left over from World War II and prior and have been corroding for decades in a high-salinity environment. Scientists do not know exactly what lies under the ocean and cannot possibly predict the potential outcomes for the long-term release of metals, chemicals, and organic explosives into our oceans. What is worse is the potential for human fatalities if unexploded munitions completely lose structural integrity or are unintentionally triggered and explode. Increased activities near coastlines, where many of these munitions are concentrated, greatly increase the risk of an accident.

I know this is an extremely large and complicated undertaking, but the removal of these munitions from our ocean floors can only benefit marine life, human safety, and our economic interests. Please, use the Navy’s resources and expertise to find and safely dismantle these dangerous materials before something terrible happens.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rémi Kaupp

Stop Trump Administration’s Assault on Climate Science

Target: President Donald J. Trump

Goal: Reinstate NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System to continue vital research into climate change and its impacts.

The Trump Administration has continued its assault on climate science with the appointment of an anthropogenic climate change denier to the post of NASA director and the cessation of funding to critical earth science programs. These programs are crucial to monitoring emissions and climate change as average atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas continue to rise to concerning levels.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have recently exceeded 410 parts per million on average, a concentration that is approaching levels deemed by scientists to be unsafe. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have previously reached this concentration, but recently this level has been sustained in the atmosphere over a longer period of time and continues on an increasing trend. In combination with the troubling stance taken by the Trump Administration towards anthropogenic climate change, the discontinuation of funding to NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) spells certain doom for our environment, as we lose the ability to track global emissions and carbon sources and sinks. The CMS was discontinued through a budget cut with nearly no media attention, likely on purpose. The complete denial of anthropogenic climate change by the Trump Administration has ceased to be a purely political move and is endangering scientists’ ability to track global trends. We will now likely have to rely on European leaders in climate science to monitor global atmospheric data.

NASA’s earth science programs, such as the CMS, are critical to tracking atmospheric trends and impacts to the environment and need to continue operation. These programs should not be cut simply because President Trump’s new appointee as NASA administrator has been a longtime denier of anthropogenic climate change. Sign the petition to reinstate funding to these critical programs to monitor emissions and their impacts on the globe.


Dear President Trump,

Budget cuts to NASA’s earth science programs are threatening our ability to monitor greenhouse gases and their impacts on the earth. NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) was a crucial program in tracking this information and keeping the United States as a leader in climate science and technology. Cessation of funding for these programs can only serve to damage our ability to fight climate change and be a global leader in science and technology.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are reaching all-time highs, nearing levels that scientists deem unsafe. The average concentration in the atmosphere has reached 410 parts per million, a level previously only reached for short durations. Whether or not you believe in anthropogenic climate change, the CMS was vital in providing this information to scientists and in developing first-rate technological advances. Climate change is not going away and removing funding from NASA’s monitoring programs will cause the U.S. to rely on others for global atmospheric data trends and technological advances.

Regardless of your personal views, please do not limit scientists in their quest for knowledge and technological development. Continue funding for these important earth science programs and the information they provide.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: NASA/Apollo 17 crew