Don’t Allow Rising Sea Levels to Destroy the Everglades

Target: Rick Scott, Governor of Florida

Goal: Take measures to protect the Florida Everglades against climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

The mangroves that make up a large area of southern Florida, including the renowned Everglades National Park, are making a quick retreat as rising sea levels swallow up more of the coastline each year. Scientists predict that in as little as 30 years, the mangroves will have been pushed back as far as they can go before running into man made obstacles, such as levees.

Sea levels have been on the rise in Florida and other low-lying coastal areas around the world due to climate change. Areas that were once wetlands are increasingly being replaced by open water. This includes the iconic Florida Everglades, one of the state’s most popular natural attractions and home to a vast array of wildlife. If the mangroves disappear, it is likely that many species will go with itincluding alligators, crocodiles, manatees and the endangered Florida panther.

While the current outlook for the Everglades seems grim, there are steps that Florida can take to counteract its slow demise. Please sign the petition below to demand that the governor of Florida commit to protecting this treasured ecosystem from destruction through habitat restoration and reducing the state’s carbon emissions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Scott,

Researchers have found that Florida’s mangroves are rapidly receding from the coastline due to rising sea levels across the southern section of the state. This includes the so-called ‘sea of grass’ wilderness in the beloved Everglades, which could disappear entirely in as little as 30 years.

Numerous studies have shown a strong link between carbon emissions, such as those from gas or coal, and the global climate change that is behind this phenomenon. Although Florida is not solely responsible for causing this problem, it is imperative that your state government do what it can to reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions. We, the undersigned, urge you to support cleaner energy alternatives and to work to restore the Everglades and other mangrove habitats so that these natural treasures and their many wild inhabitants have a chance to survive.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chauncey Davis

Ban Harmful Sunscreen Chemical Wreaking Havoc on Hawaii’s Endangered Coral Reefs

Target: David Ige, Governor of Hawaii

Goal: Protect the rare and endangered coral reefs of Hawaii by banning a dangerous and deadly chemical found in sunscreen.

Sunscreens containing a chemical known to cause harm to the rare coral reefs found off of Hawaii’s coast may soon be banned if the governor signs into law a recently passed bill. This would make Hawaii the first location worldwide to enact such a ban, and it could have potentially far-reaching results for the islands’ sensitive marine ecosystem.

The chemical in question is known as oxybenzone. Studies have shown that this substance degrades living corals’ resiliency against changes, such as those caused by climate change or other forms of environmental stress. Over time, it can contribute to coral death or inhibit the formation of new reefs. The newly passed ban would make it illegal to sell or distribute non-prescription sunscreen containing this harmful chemical, which will prevent this ingredient from ending up in the coastal waters near popular state beaches.

Coral reefs worldwide are in need of our help, and measures such as this ban are a small way we can help with their recovery. Sign this petition to urge Governor David Ige to sign this bill into law immediately to send a message to the rest of the world that reefs are worth protecting.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Governor Ige,

Hawaii is famous for its many beautiful coral reefs, which are a crucial habitat for many hundreds of species of fish and other marine life. Yet these reefs have been endangered thanks to a common substance found in sunscreen. You now have the chance to protect these reefs by signing into law a new bill banning oxybenzone passed by the Hawaii State Senate.

We, the undersigned, urge you to act immediately to approve this bill, which will be a world-first in banning this harmful substance. Removing oxybenzone from Hawaii’s coastal waters is an important step in ensuring the future of this picturesque, vulnerable ecosystem for years to come.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Janine

Protect the Water Supply of Millions of Australian Families

Target: Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, Australia

Goal: Protect a valuable source of water by ending the destruction of a vital mountain forest.

Experts say that Melbourne’s water supply could be at risk due to over-logging and highly destructive brush fires that have all but destroyed the remaining mountain ash forests in Victoria’s central highlands. These forests allow rainwater to accumulate in vast quantities, which provides most of the water that the city and its over four million residents depend on for everything from drinking to showering.

While corporate greed has fueled the over-logging for decades, ecologists say that the water the forests hold has far more economic value. “The value of the water that flows into the water catchments is about 25.5 times higher than the value of the timber cut from those same catchments,” says professor David Lindenmayer from Australia National University. The forests are also home to a number of endangered species like the Leadbeater’s possum and are a critical habitat for greater gliders.

The Australian government has been placing more value on ensuring that the logging industry can make a profit while endangering wildlife and putting an entire metropolitan region at risk of collapse. Sign this petition to urge the nation’s environmental minister to protect the remaining mountain ash forests.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Frydenberg,

The water supply for over 4.5 million Melburnians is at risk due to years of ongoing deforestation in Victoria’s central highlands. The rapid collapse of the mountain ash forest ecosystem has pushed a number of animal species to the brink of extinction, such as the Leadbeater’s possum, and could now jeopardize the future of one of Australia’s fastest growing urban areas.

The Australian government has prioritized the logging industry’s profit margins at the expense of both wildlife and people, yet the water catchment provided by these remaining mountain ash forests far exceeds the value of the timber that is being removed. No corporation’s bottom line should come before the needs of people and the other species we share this planet with. We demand that you end all logging permits in this ecologically sensitive area before it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fir002

Don’t Drain the Great Lakes to Make Consumer Electronics

Target: Dan Meyer, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Goal: Repeal a decision made to allow tech conglomerate Foxconn to drain seven million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has recently okayed a plan backed by Republican governor Scott Walker to allow tech manufacturer Foxconn to siphon off seven million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan to produce its LCD screens. This massive water diversion has the potential to impact the local ecology, potentially putting dozens of native species at risk. We must denounce this move and urge Wisconsin officials to repeal their decision granting Foxconn free access to drain this iconic lake.

Foxconn claims it needs the vast volumes of water in its LCD manufacturing process at its planned factory location in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. However, it is estimated that almost 40 percent of the water removed from the lake will be lost and never used, largely due to evaporation. While the DNR claims this mass water withdrawal will account for only a very small uptick in the total surface volume removed annually from the lake, environmentalists worry this move will encourage other corporations to muscle in and ask for greater water withdrawals in the future.

We must prevent such a water crisis from occurring in Wisconsin or anywhere else. Sign this petition and demand that the Wisconsin DNR deny Foxconn access to these waters that rightfully belong to wildlife and people alike.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Meyer,

I am writing to express my deep concerns and disappointment regarding your decision to allow Foxconn to drain up to seven million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan, one of your state’s most iconic natural landmarks. Even though Foxconn’s planned intake will only remove a small fraction of a percent of the lake’s vast quantities of water, this move sets a bad precedent that could still result in environmental catastrophe.

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, contain one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. They are a national treasure and must be protected, both for the sake of people and wildlife. That is why we are urging you to repeal your decision and prevent Foxconn from having free access to drain and contaminate these waters as they see fit.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rachel Kramer

Success: Bee-Killing Pesticides Banned Across Europe

Target: His Excellency Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

Goal: Applaud the European Union for banning widely used pesticides linked to bee deaths worldwide.

The European Union has decided to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been identified as posing a significant threat to bee populations. Because bees are so vital to pollinating the crops people rely on for food, the ForceChange community petitioned the head of the European Council to ban the use of these pesticides entirely. In response to public outcry such as this, and recently released reports on the devastating impact these substances have, the EU has at last decided to put an end to any outdoor use of neonicotinoids.

For years, scientists have known that these commonly used pesticides wreak havoc on the insects’ nervous systems. Reports have also shown that all forms of outdoor pesticide use can contaminate soil and water, resulting in pesticides poisoning wildflowers and crops planted in later years. The EU’s decision to ban these harmful substances will prevent further damage and allow the environment and bee populations to slowly recover over time.

While the ban will not be in effect until the end of the year, it is an important sign that international leaders are making the planet’s biodiversity and future food production priorities. Sign the petition below to congratulate the president of the European Council for this historic ban.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Tusk,

Millions of people across the world are grateful that the European Council has agreed with some of the best scientific minds that neonicotinoids pose a grave threat to global bee populations. We now know that the decision to make these pesticides available over a quarter of a century ago was a colossal mistake that has resulted in the contamination of water and soil across Europe and around the world. Thankfully, your council’s decision to ban these substances will provide a beacon of hope, offering both bees and the environment a chance to recover.

This vote will likely be remembered as a historic decision and hopefully help secure food production and biodiversity for the future. We, the undersigned, wish to thank you for not listening to the fear-mongering propaganda peddled by pesticide manufacturers, and for putting the health of our planet before these corporations’ profits.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jon Sullivan

Stop Funding Environmentally-Damaging Oil Pipelines

Target: Sergio Ermotti, CEO of UBS Group AG

Goal: Protect wildlife and indigenous peoples and divest from fossil fuel companies.

Indigenous-rights lawyers and representatives from the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation are calling on major international banks in Switzerland to fight alongside them as they challenge major companies responsible for creating environmentally destructive pipelines. Many of these banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse, provide financing for these corporations, which enables them to continue building on indigenous land while threatening countless species of animals.

The women-led indigenous coalition has been joined by Klimaseniorinnen, a movement of women over the age of 65 who are currently suing the Swiss government for its inaction on climate change. Together, these two groups are part of an even larger global movement that is taking action against pipeline companies like Energy Transfer Partners, Enbridge and Kinder Morgan and the banks that support them financially. According to a recent Greenpeace report, Swiss banks like UBS provide more funding for fossil fuel companies than any other European financial institution.

By funding pipeline construction and other environmentally-damaging projects, such as tar sand extraction and deep sea oil exploration, these banks are putting the entire planet’s welfare at risk. Sign this petition to demand that UBS take a stand and divest from these companies before it is too late.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ermotti.

Your bank is responsible for funding some of the world’s largest pipeline construction companies and fossil fuel corporations. By lending money to these entities, you are ensuring that the environment will continue to be degraded as indigenous peoples lose their lands and global warming accelerates worldwide. Your financial institution, along with other Swiss banks like Credit Suisse, have the opportunity to take a stand by pulling out of these projects.

Oil pipeline construction, tar sand extraction and deep sea oil exploration are all examples of how short-sighted corporations are gambling with our planet’s future. Unless these companies lose their funding, it is likely that climate risks will continue to grow. That is why we are calling on you to take responsibility and divest immediately from these companies.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Twicepix

Stop Hunters From Slaughtering Thousands of Baby Seals

Target: Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

Goal: Stop subsidizing the annual seal hunt that slaughters thousands of seal pups and their mothers.

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has estimated that over 43,000 harp seal pups and their mothers have been brutally shot or clubbed to death as part of the nation’s annual commercial seal hunt in Newfoundland. Despite the international outcry against this barbaric practice, including India’s recent move to ban the import of seal products, the hunt will continue for several more weeks, during which time another 40,000 seal pups may die. With so many nations now banning seal products, it is far past time that Canada finally put an end to this cruel and outdated custom.

Harp seals have traditionally been hunted for their skins, which are turned into coats or other leather goods. However, increasingly these pelts are being disposed of in vast numbers, thanks to the fact that international demand for seal products has plummeted due to laws banning their import and shifts in public opinion. Despite this fact, the Canadian government continues to subsidize these hunts, which allows this massacre to continue.

This grisly practice that results in baby seals less than two months old being impaled on picks, clubbed or shot in the face must be stopped once and for all. Sign the petition below to demand that the Canadian government stop allowing this atrocity to occur.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister LeBlanc,

The annual seal hunt in Newfoundland’s far northern reaches is an abominable practice that results in thousands of defenseless baby seals being battered with clubs or shot. It is a shameful practice that has rightfully been condemned by other nations around the world, including the United States, the European Union and India. The slaughter of weeks-old pups and their mothers is inhumane, and is grotesquely wasteful considering that so many of these pelts are rotting away before buyers can be found.

There is no need to continue sponsoring or subsidizing these cruel and barbaric hunts. We, the undersigned, demand that you stop this unethical practice by helping to ensure that this year’s grisly hunt is the last time these innocent animals are massacred.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lysogeny

Don’t Persecute Ravens in Barbaric Slaughter

Target: Dr. Mike Cantlay OBE, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage

Goal: Don’t allow hunters to needlessly kill wild ravens in the Scottish highlands.

Hundreds of ravens in the highlands of Scotland may soon be targeted by hunters thanks to a new five-year license permitting their killing as part of an experimental cull led by Scottish Natural Heritage. A number of environmental groups are decrying this decision, saying that it is unnecessary and based on ill-informed persecution against these birds. Throughout history, ravens have been cast as villainous creatures. We now know they are remarkably intelligent birds that play an important role in the natural ecosystem. Therefore, they must be protected.

Part of the reason for the planned cull is the fact that a number of bird species in Scotland are in decline. One species in particular, the white-tailed sea eagle, is believed to have vanished entirely. Ravens are blamed for stealing these birds’ eggs and preying on their nestlings. While this may be true, it is equally true that human-caused environmental pressures like habitat loss and hunting are also significant factors contributing to the dwindling bird population.

Ravens should not be held solely accountable for larger environmental issues in Scotland. Sign this petition to urge the Scottish Natural Heritage to revoke this unnecessary license to kill these magnificent and intelligent birds.

PETITION LETTERS:

Dear Dr. Cantlay,

I am writing to demand that you and the other members of Scottish Natural Heritage board revoke all recently-issued licenses given to hunters in Perthshire to cull ravens over the next five years. While ravens are opportunistic hunters and scavengers, they are not solely responsible for the drop in bird population in the Scottish highlands.

Research suggests that birds like the white-tailed sea eagle, now feared to be extinct in the region, face more immediate threats from human-related causes, including habitat loss, hunting, and the presence of introduced predators like feral cats. I urge you to listen to scientists and conservationists who have expressed their concerns regarding this cull, and ask that you revoke all licenses to slaughter these intelligent birds immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: CanadianWikiLover

Applaud the United Kingdom for Shutting Off Coal Power

Target: Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Praise the United Kingdom for temporarily suspending all coal-powered energy generation across the country for several days.

As part of a recent experiment, the United Kingdom successfully proved that it could power its nation without using any coal over a period of several days. As the country moves toward a 2025 deadline to completely phase out this dirty, greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuel, tests such as these are an encouraging sign and are worthy of praise.

While United Kingdom’s economy once ran entirely off of coal during the Industrial Revolution, the country is now interested in staying competitive with much of the rest of the world, where renewable energy is on the rise. By embracing clean energy, the United Kingdom is taking steps to reduce the impact of global warming, which most scientists believe will become an increasingly serious threat to human civilization in the decades to come.

Although this recent coal-free experiment lasted only 55 hours, it demonstrated that the nation can provide energy to its over 65 million residents without using coal. Sign the petition petition to applaud this successful effort and urge the British government to continue its progress in phasing out fossil fuel usage.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

I am writing to praise the United Kingdom for its recent decision to turn off all coal-powered energy for over 55 hours by allowing renewable forms like solar and wind to pick up the slack. The carbon emissions produced by coal are a major contributor to climate change. Even a temporary hiatus such as this is a welcome step in the right direction.

I am hopeful that tests such as these are a positive indicator that your nation is committed to meeting its 2025 goals to phase out coal usage entirely. I urge you to continue your progress toward this deadline and to expand the use of renewable sources of energy nationwide.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alexandru Serbuta

Don’t Abandon Recycling Programs

Target: Andrew Antoniolli, Mayor of Ipswich, Australia

Goal: Preserve recycling programs in the community and focus on building out local recycling facilities.

The Australian city of Ipswich has decided to scrap its waste recycling program, and instead will be sending all recyclable materials to local landfills, where they could pose significant environmental hazards. The move comes as the cost to recycle cans, bottles, and plastic goods has risen following China’s decision to block the import of recyclable materials, and it is feared more communities in Australia will soon follow suit. Human-generated waste is a huge problem worldwide, and measures must be taken to encourage recycling wherever possible.

While sending all garbage to area landfills may seem like an effective cost-cutting measure, it may cause more harm in the long run, especially to the environment. Government officials have complained that the rising costs have been worsened by the fact that many people do not sort their recyclables correctly, or that many recyclable materials arrive contaminated with other trash. A program that helps to educate the community and relies on local recycling facilities could create jobs, while also reducing the amount of contaminated or incorrectly sorted waste.

Landfills are an unsustainable solution to the serious problem of handling the tons of garbage communities like Ipswich and others generate each year. Sign the petition below to urge this Australian community to reverse its decision immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Antoniolli,

Recyclable waste, such as cans, bottles, and paper goods, should not be allowed to clutter landfill space simply because the cost of recycling has risen in recent years. These nonbiodegradable materials will sit in heaps for centuries, or perhaps for even thousands of years, when they could be put to much better use. This waste can be harmful to the health of the environment, or even pose a human health risk.

Your community can make a positive environmental impact by opening local recycling facilities that do not rely on the expensive export of recyclable goods. This could create jobs, and you could also educate the community in how to recycle properly to reduce the number of items that are incorrectly sorted or discarded. I hope that you will implement these changes and help protect the health of the environment and all Australians.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rupert Ganzer