Promote the Conservation of Cuckoo Bees

Target: Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office in Alberta

Goal: Guarantee the continual study of cuckoo bees to ensure biodiversity growth and environmental conservation.

The rare macropis cuckoo bee (Epeloides pilosulus) is charting new territory in western Canada. Recently the endangered species appeared in Alberta for the first time in recorded history. With mainstream news of bees primarily revolving around colony collapse and loss of habitat, scientists say this bee lineage represents a new part of the story.

Part of what makes this non-pollinating bee special is its ¨kleptoparasitic¨ adaptations. Specifically, they install their eggs in nests of other pollinating species. Called ¨social parasites¨ due to their ability to take over hives, they also allude to an area’s biological health. Since bees require plants for sustenance, more cuckoos (originally presumed extinct) signify that enough nutrients are supporting hosts. This tells researchers that honey bee populations may finally be recuperating.

The cuckoo bees’ expanded range  marks a major milestone in environmental studies, one conservationists should work diligently to protect. This migration should be vigilantly monitored to better track environmental progress in Alberta. Depending on where the cuckoo bees end up could help the scientific community better understand how bees are prospering. Let public support guide conservation efforts by signing the petition.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Phillips,

For the first time ever, the endangered cuckoo bee appeared at Elk Island National Park in Alberta. Even though these solitary specimens are considered parasitic based on how females lay eggs in pollinating bee hives – they’re indicative of an area’s biological health. These bees are completely reliant on their pollinating hosts for survival, who in turn depend on plants. Therefore, when plant species disappear, so do the cuckoo bees.

Seeing their new progressions signifies that fauna is flourishing in the area. Let’s maintain the momentum by investing in further investigations. One way to improve the likelihood of survival would be by planting ¨swamp candle¨ plants in marshy areas. In addition to colony collapse, the development of wetlands is another major threat to cuckoo bees. Yet more of them means improvements are underway and should be continuously monitored. For an insect assumed to be extinct to suddenly reappear is certainly worthy of further research efforts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: linsepatron

Prevent Sale and Expansion of Dangerous Pipeline

Target: Steve Kean, President and CEO of Kinder Morgan

Goal: Do not sell the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the Canadian government, and stop any further expansion of the pipeline, which could have disastrous consequences.

In the face of protests from environmentalists and citizens, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will purchase the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline to ensure its expansion. This expansion is opposed by activists and indigenous groups, and it increases dangers relating to spills and the upswing of petroleum tanker traffic. It will also cost the Canadian government billions of dollars.

The purchase is expected to close in August, when Canada will buy the pipeline from its current owner, Kinder Morgan, for $3.5 billion ($4.5 billion in Canadian dollars). The prime minister says that the expansion of the pipeline is “a vital project in the national interest” and that it will create and protect jobs in Alberta and British Columbia. However, as Premier John Horgan of British Columbia says, “Tens of thousands of B.C. jobs depend on pristine coastal and inland waters. Our environment generates millions in economic activity, from tourism to film and fisheries. It does not matter who owns the pipeline. What matters is defending our coast — and our lands, rivers and streams — from the impact of a dilbit [diluted bitumen] spill.” He says that B.C. will continue to search for legal ways of stopping the pipeline expansion; meanwhile, Alberta’s leaders are in favor of it, pitting the two provinces against each other.

In addition to the costs of purchasing and nationalizing this immense energy enterprise, the Canadian government is also expected to spend billions more on the completion of the expansion itself. The sale is still subject to the discretion of Kinder Morgan and its shareholders. The expansion of this pipeline is hazardous to the environment and to the well-being of Canadian citizens and their livelihoods. Sign below to demand that Kinder Morgan stop the sale of the pipeline and its subsequent expansion.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kean,

As many environmental advocates—as well as indigenous groups and concerned citizens—have argued, the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline is dangerous and must be stopped. The political, economic, and environmental hazards it poses are too costly and must not be ignored.

Your company has the opportunity to make an important, positive impact on the future of our continent. The expansion of this pipeline could cost many people their jobs, divides two Canadian provinces, and will cost their governments billions. Perhaps the biggest threat it poses is to the environment, where the risk of an oil spill could be catastrophic. As Premier John Horgan said, “It does not matter who owns the pipeline. What matters is defending our coast — and our lands, rivers and streams — from the impact of a dilbit [diluted bitumen] spill.” This is true not only of British Columbia, but of our earth as a whole. I urge you not to sell the pipeline, and to protect our future: help ensure that an expansion does not take place.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: William Chen

Don’t Destroy the Puget Sound with Dangerous Pipeline

Target: Steven J. Kean, CEO of Kinder Morgan

Goal: Don’t build pipeline that would threaten the Puget Sound waterway with pollution.

Protesters took to the streets and the seas to make a stand against Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand their Canadian pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia.  The pipeline would end at the Canadian border, but the proximity to Seattle will create a litany of problems for the Puget Sound and surrounding communities. Activists in kayaks recently made a demonstration by kayaking to the Kinder Morgan dock in the Puget Sound, blocking their traffic from leaving or entering the facility.

Seattle activists are taking to the streets because they say the pipeline will endanger the waterways they hold pure. The pipeline’s mere existence is enough to raise protest.  Kinder Morgan has a long reputation of building pipelines protested by the public and this one comes after we’ve seen a number of spills in the last couple years by pipelines. Stand on the right side of history and demand we put an end to this pipeline immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kean,

Your company is proposing a pipeline that may have disastrous consequences in both Canada and America. Please know that you are the gatekeeper to an incredibly important safety issue. We need to keep our waterways safe from pollutants and pipelines, alike. We have seen the people of Standing Rock fight for their lives to protect sacred water sources and right now we have Seattle citizens doing the exact same to protest against a pipeline that’s not even in their city.

It is time to listen to your citizens and put an end to this environmental disaster of a pipeline. Let’s not break fresh ground on something that will bring pollution to both water and landscape. Do the right thing for the people of British Columbia and the surrounding areas and keep this pipeline from moving any further.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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

Demand Fisherman Guilty of Torturing and Killing Innocent Seal Pup Pay Mandatory Fine

Target: Mark MacKenzie, Nova Scotia fisherman

Goal: Publicly apologize for abusing and killing innocent baby seal and immediately pay court-ordered fine.

An innocent baby seal was brutally murdered and now the men responsible must pay the consequences. Mark MacKenzie, the captain of a Nova Scotia fishing vessel, was ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 after he was captured with two other fishermen abusing and killing a seal pup. MacKenzie is also banned from fishing from January 1, 2019 until June 30, 2019. The ban is not starting immediately because the court wanted to suspend MacKenzie’s ability to fish during the most lucrative time for the groundfish fishery off Yarmouth. Prosecutor Alex Pink said of the punishment: “It is a significant penalty and a groundfish prohibition is significant as well. That could be thousands and thousands of dollars that that person will not be able to earn.”

The other two fishermen aboard MacKenzie’s vessel that were involved in the animal abuse were prosecuted as well. Jay Alexander Jenkins received a fine of $3,500. Brendon Douglas James Porter received a fine of $2,500. Although there was a trial scheduled for the charges in Yarmouth provincial court, all three pleaded guilty to a charge under the Fishery General Regulations relating to the release of incidental catch—a regulation that should have protected the seal pup.

The incident was caught on camera and a video of the fishermen tormenting the seal pup circulated on Facebook. This showed the men taunting and prodding the seal with a buoy and being kicked while the men laughed. One is heard making the suggestion to kill the seal while another speaks of getting a machete. Circulation of this video caused the incident to gain national attention last year. In the video, you can hear someone saying, “I want to play tug-of-war with him.” The video was obtained by the CBC and was eventually deleted.

However, before the video was taken out of circulation, public outcry began. Many people following the case commented on it via The Vanguard‘s, a local paper, Facebook page. There was praise for the judge as well as some people offering the opinion that the fishermen should have received stricter punishments. One woman wrote, “I believe they deserved a whole lot more than they got!” Another commented, “So amazing to see this good outcome! Animal abuse like this is never OK under any circumstance.”

The men legally have until December 18, 2018 to pay their fines. Sign this petition to urge Captain MacKenzie to publicly apologize for his actions and to pay his fine immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Captain MacKenzie,

Last year you were involved in an instance of animal abuse that was caught on camera. The video of you and your two shipmates taunting and abusing a seal circulated on Facebook and led to criminal charges. As you know, under the Fishery General Regulations, you should have released the seal—unharmed—as an incidental catch. Your decision to instead mistreat and abuse this animal has led to a $7,500 fine. This case has very much played out in the public eye and, therefore, I urge you to publicly apologize for your despicable behavior and pay your fine immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ville Miettinen