Man Who Allegedly Started Wildfire Must Face Justice

Target: Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney in Orange County, California

Goal: Prosecute man who reportedly started Southern California wildfires.

A 51-year-old man named Forrest Gordon Clark was charged with arson in Southern California’s wildfires. The man allegedly started a fire in his small residential area, and it has consumed Cleveland National Forest and grown to nearly 10,000 acres and is still far from being contained. This wildfire has required more than 20,000 residents to evacuate their homes, and more than 7,000 homes have been jeopardized.

Clark’s reported involvement in the wildfires created further strain on climate change and deforestation. His alleged actions have hurt the environment, put people’s lives at risk, killed animals and destroyed their homes in the process. Sign this petition and demand that Forrest Gordon Clark face justice for allegedly starting these wildfires.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Rackauckas,

As you know, Forrest Gordon Clark was taken into custody for allegedly starting the wildfires in Southern California. The fire has threatened people, animals, and the environment, causing destruction and panic all over Southern California.

His alleged reckless act has caused destruction to nearly 10,000 acres, and it still is not close to being over. Clark needs to be held accountable for his reported actions. He alleged involvement needs to be severely punished. We demand that Forrest Gordon Clark be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for allegedly starting these wildfires.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: exakta

Phase Out Non-Recyclable Plastics

Target: Andrew R. Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Phase out the use of non-recyclable plastic food packaging worldwide.

Recent studies have shown that only a third of the plastic used to package food can be successfully recycled. The major culprits are microwave meals, which use un-sortable black trays and wrappers, and the packaging for pre-prepared single-serve meals. Many companies are aware of this development, but little progress has yet been made.

While plastic is one of the most useful means of keeping food fresh, it is one of the worst offenders as far as pollution goes. Many wild animals get sick or even die from ingesting tiny bits of plastic as they feed, and many humans may also swallow bits in their drinking water. Additionally, the particles harm flora and agriculture as they prevent nutrients from being absorbed through roots.

We must reduce the amount of plastic pollution as much as humanly possible, for the sake of all living creatures. Sign this petition to demand phasing out the use of non-recyclable plastic packaging by the food industry as soon as possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Wheeler,

Only a small portion of plastic food packaging is recyclable, with the rest going into landfills or breaking down to become part of the soil or water. While plastic is one of the best ways to keep food fresh and safe, the majority of packaging does little else but contribute to the world’s pollution problem. Non-recyclable plastics are swallowed by wildlife, causing sickness and death, and hinder the growth of plants.

Single-serve or microwave meals are among the biggest culprits, as are the punnets for fruit and vegetable packaging; these low-grade plastics are essentially useless beyond their initial function and are dangerous to the environment. You must aid the phase-out of the use of these low-grade, non-recyclable materials as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hans Braxmeier

Don’t Open Over 1.6 Million Acres of Land to Fracking

Target: Brian Steed, Deputy Director, Policy and Programs, Bureau of Land Management

Goal: Protect the 1.6 million acres of natural land that are proposed real estate for fracking and drilling companies.

Over 1.6 million acres of natural land in California are at risk of destruction after the Trump Administration moved to open them to dangerous fracking and natural gas drilling. The lands which the government wants to lease to fracking companies are public lands near Fresno and beyond.

Fracking has continuously been proven dangerous by scientists around the world. The practice leads to polluted water and deforestation. Humans and animals have fallen ill. Even earthquakes have taken place around the sites of fracking wells.

Public land should not be auctioned off to the highest corporate bidder. Public lands should be protected and preserved for generations to come. Sign the petition to demand the federal government walk back its plans to open priceless California wild lands to fracking.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Steed,

Over 1.6 million acres of public wild lands are in danger of being destroyed in California. Fracking and gas wells may soon dot the landscape as drinking water is polluted and animals lose their habitats.

Fracking has already destroyed too much of the American landscape. Our nation’s land should not be on sale for the highest bidder. I demand you walk back your plans to destroy California’s landscape for fracking.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Joshua Doubek

Trump: Give Aid to California Regions Battered by Wildfires

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Save the lands and the inhabitants devastated by California wildfires.

Recent wildfires in California have destroyed neighborhoods, claimed at least eight lives, and ravaged lands that include parts of one of America’s most popular national parks. As the 17-and-counting wildfires continue to leave destruction in their wake, America’s federal government remains largely silent. California’s governor recently issued a plea for critical aid from the Trump administration, yet so far these pleas have been ignored.

Perhaps the most dangerous of the many blazes has already seared forests and surrounding neighborhoods that cover an expanse five times as big as nearby San Francisco. Efforts to contain these unforgiving fires are hindered by soaring temperatures, high winds, and low-humidity conditions. This catastrophic blend has meant only one-quarter containment in the most challenged regions.

The devastating impacts will likely linger long after the last fire is extinguished. Just as with the human tragedies, plants and wildlife will be lost forever. Native plants battered by unrelenting fires may never make a truly full recovery, and could even be supplanted by invasive plants. Worse still, the vulnerable wildlife that rely on this vegetation for sustenance will suffer in the long term as well. Diminished air and water quality will only compound these risks.

The unrelenting natural disasters show no signs of abating. Sign this petition to demand American leadership take action before more plant, animal, and human lives are lost.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

Two weeks: over 1,000 homes, eight lives (including four firefighters), hundreds of square miles…all obliterated by California’s 17 raging wildfires. In this past weekend alone, the amount of acres claimed by these disasters grew by the thousands—one blaze even creating a ‘fire tornado.’

Two weeks: continued calls for emergency response aid from a state leader, and zero response from America’s federal leadership.

As California’s citizens—American citizens—continue to flee their homes, pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, and attend another funeral for another fallen hero, show the country you care about its precious lands and all its precious life.

Send aid—more importantly, send unwavering support—today.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: BLM

Do Not Allow Nuclear Waste Disposal Under National Parks

Target: The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Reject plans to allow nuclear waste disposal in national parks.

Nuclear waste may soon be buried beneath national parks in the UK. Members of Parliament apparently see this as “the only permanent solution” to the huge amounts of waste created by power plants and fracking. Previous plans to build an underground waste storage site were rejected in 2013, but new plans have been published and are currently being supported.

Burying such toxic, dangerous materials underground is the worst possible idea, especially burying them under national parks that should be protected from such defilement. These parks are national treasures, not only for the natural beauty found within them, but because they are also home to many species of wildlife who would suffer the negative effects of toxic waste burial. Humans living near these parks would suffer similar negative repercussions, and no matter how deep the waste was buried, it would still contaminate the soil and water alike.

Right now, the effort to protect national parks seems vast due to the many factors threatening them, but preventive measures are a step in the right direction. Sign this petition to stop the burial of nuclear waste beneath UK park sites.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Your Excellency Prime Minister May,

Parliament members have published new plans to bury nuclear waste under national park sites. These plans have gained support, being seen as “the only permanent solution” to the problem of waste created by fracking and power plants. These underground burial sites would not only defile the natural beauty of these parks, but would harm all living beings located in or near them due to contamination of the soil and water.

You must reject these plans immediately and prevent any new ones from being formed. National parks are too important to any country for a multitude of reasons, and we cannot risk them for a quick solution to a problem that should not even exist. Right now, the first step towards ending this problem is preventive measures against worsening them. Do not allow these plans for the defilement of the United Kingdom’s national parks to follow through.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mark Gallagher

Land and Water Conservation at Risk: Protect America’s Natural Wonders

Target: Mitch McConnell, United States Senate Majority Leader

Goal: Support continued conservation of America’s land and water.

Finally, a program on which most American can agree: a program that happens to champion conservation of America’s most cherished lands. The Land and Water Conservation Fund ensures protections for federal lands and natural resources while enabling individuals to enjoy these lands in recreational yet environmentally safe ways. It has earned broad support from all sides of the political spectrum. In a little over two months, however, this popular conservation effort could be extinguished because of political maneuvering.

The fund, established in the 1960s, is arguably one of the only positive by-products of offshore drilling. For the past five decades, monies raised from such drilling projects have been infused into the LWCF. These funds are then used by the government to acquire lands for national parks, to maintain local and state parks and other lands, and to create nature-based activities such as hiking trails. As none of these projects come from taxpayer dollars and may in fact bolster local economies, the LWCF is very popular amongst the general population. Even most Congress members agree that the program is beneficial, although some critics want more funds to be allocated for maintenance rather than land acquisition.

Despite this widespread support, a Trump-backed proposal that would have significantly decreased funding for the LWCF was only narrowly defeated. Further, some opportunistic members of Congress still want to withhold funding so they can use this program for political leverage on more contentious issues.  Congress needs to know that the future of environmental conservation is not a bargaining chip. Several bipartisan legislative proposals have been introduced to give this critical conservation effort permanent authorization and funding.

Demand our lawmakers provide the Land and Water Conservation Fund the rebirth and renewal that it has gifted our most valued lands.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator McConnell,

From the trails of Appalachia to the wonders of the Grand Canyon, Americans nationwide enjoy and respect our rich natural heritage. For five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has ensured the livelihood of these awe-inspiring sites and so many more large and small. On September 30, this popular program will expire, unless Congress acts in good faith to protect an initiative that protects our natural world.

Recent Congressional history with the LWCF has proven spotty at best. Some criticize the program for prioritizing acquisition more than maintenance, yet Congress has routinely failed to heed calls to clarify language in the program that could help equalize allocation of funds. Calls for reform have not led to outright condemnation of the program, as it remains very popular among both local and national officials. Despite this popularity, members of Congress still attempt to hold this program hostage and tie it to less popular legislation. Worst of all, this Congress very nearly approved a bill that would have gutted funding for a program that not only helps conservation efforts but that reportedly produces nearly a trillion dollars in economic stimulus.

Your colleagues Senator Richard Burr and Senator Maria Cantwell recently spearheaded one of many efforts to provide the LWCF permanent reauthorization. Supporting such an effort would not only support a majority of your colleagues but also support constituents nationwide who enjoy and benefit from the fruits of the LWCF.

Support conservation. Support America’s majestic lands. Support the Land and Water Conservation Fund and reauthorize now.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ForestWander

Send Aid to Wildfire-Ravaged Greece

Target: Mike Pompeo, United States Secretary of State

Goal: Send aid and assistance to Greek citizens and homes damaged by deadly wildfires.

The citizens of Greece are suffering from the devastation left in the wake of the nation’s worst wildfire in a century. Large portions of Greece have been ravaged by wildfires over the past several weeks, with the death count rising to 91. Hundreds of other citizens have lost their homes and businesses, and just as many acres of forests have been burnt to the ground. Reports have stated that the most recent fire near the coast of Athens is considered “the deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900.”

To make matters worse, the government is blaming an alleged arsonist, despite there being no hard evidence of such in the area of the latest fire. The population, including the firefighters, are outraged by the government’s complacency in their ill-preparedness for such a disaster. Currently, there seem to be no plans as to how to stop the fires or aid those affected by them. The death toll is already beyond too high, and will only climb higher if nothing is done.

While we cannot bring back those who have died in the blazes, there is still ample time to send aid and support to the survivors whose lives have been damaged, as well as time to help slow the spread of these fires. Sign this petition to demand the United States send their aid in Greece’s time of crisis.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

Greece is currently being ravaged by the worst wildfires Europe has seen since 1900, with 91 people dead and countless others suffering the losses of loved ones, homes, and even businesses. The Greek government has yet to offer any solutions to this problem, most notably safer escape routes or even an apology for allowing the situation to reach this level.

The United States must send aid to Greece in such a dangerous time. Foreign relations and aid are critical during such a turbulent political era in general, and we have always prided ourselves on being willing to help other countries when they need it most. Greece does not deserve to suffer any more losses. The people need all the assistance and support they can get. Send aid to them as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Carl Osbourn

Urge McDonald’s to Ban Plastic Straws in the United States

Target: Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s CEO

Goal: Protect our environment by banning plastic straws at all U.S. locations.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to ban plastic straws in all of its U.K. and Ireland restaurants, but there has been no news on plans to phase out these environmentally damaging plastics in U.S. locations. Experts have been warning that plastic straws are polluting and harming the world’s oceans and that banning them could present a simple solution to the problem. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 500 million straws are used every single day. Eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean each year. In fact, one study reports that among the total weight of pollution are 8.3 billion plastic straws.

Straws have taken the focus of environmentally conscious individuals who are hoping to take major steps forward in the protection of our environment. For the able-bodied person, straws are unnecessary. Sign this petition to urge McDonald’s to commit to banning plastic straws in their U.S  chains.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Easterbrook,

You have already made a commitment to banning plastic straws in all of the McDonald’s locations in the U.K. and Ireland. However, the issue of plastic pollution is tremendous and further reach by influential companies like yours is necessary. There are over 500 million straws used every single day, and of those, 8.3 billion find their way into the world’s oceans in the course of a year. This straw pollution contributes to the eight million tons of plastic that pollute our oceans on a yearly basis.

For the majority of consumers, plastic straws are not a necessity. I urge you to commit to banning plastic straws at McDonald’s restaurants throughout the United States.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: EcoStraws

Don’t Destroy One of South America’s Most Important Rainforests

Target: Sarney Filho, Minister of Environment, Brazil

Goal: Protect the Guiana Shield from deforestation at the hands of loggers, miners, and farmers.

A vital rainforest basin may soon be destroyed, forever altering the climate of South America and threatening the lands of many indigenous populations. The Guiana Shield in Brazil has long been overlooked by scientists who have instead focused on the Amazon. However, the destruction of the Guiana Shield will prove disastrous for South America.

Extensive deforestation caused by logging, mining, and farming has already threatened the Amazon. While the cover of the Guiana Basin has remained untouched, it may not be for long. Scientists are warning that, should even one-third of the land be destroyed, the climate of the entire South American continent can be altered forever.

Rain will increase and runoff will destroy lands. Food supplies will be destroyed and indigenous communities will be under threat. Action must be taken now to protect the continent. Sign the petition to demand the government of Brazil take steps to protect this valuable land.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Filho,

Your nation is home to a rainforest just as valuable as the Amazon, if not more so. The Guiana Basin is situated in such a sensitive area that its destruction can alter the climate of your entire continent, increasing rains, decreasing food, and threatening indigenous populations.

This land already faces threats from mining, logging, and farming. You must take action now to protect the natural treasure your nation is home to, and the citizens of your country and beyond.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Maurizio Alì

Protect Alaska’s Natural Legacy: Do Not Strong-Arm Damaging Drilling onto Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Target: Mark Fesmire, Alaska and Pacific Regional Director of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement

Goal: Stop downplaying and ignoring environmental threats from drilling in Alaska.

When the controversial tax cut package passed Congress, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski slipped in a special interest provision that propelled Arctic drilling efforts forward. In the process, she essentially sold out some of her state’s most precious lands for a vote. Now, the Trump Administration is looking to fast-track this destructive process, shunning environmental dangers in the process. As a result, within a year one of the world’s last undisturbed wonders could be open for corporate pillage.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a true sight to behold, sprawling nearly 15 million acres. The lands host an array of wildlife, from polar bears to water fowl to porcupine caribou: magnificent but vulnerable animals that may soon have their habitats, and their livelihoods, altered forever. Further, proposed activities such as seismic testing will likely mar and reshape a diverse landscape that encompasses marshes, rivers, hills, lakes, coastal plains, and a collection of plant life perhaps unrivaled in the northern hemisphere. Much of the proposed drilling would take place in a section of the plains area that will significantly impact caribou and the native Gwich’in people who depend upon these animals and the surrounding lands for much of their physical and spiritual sustenance.

Despite public outcry from these and other concerned citizens and despite words of caution from scientists, this administration is demanding fast approval of leases for the Congress-certified drilling efforts. This acceleration forces key agencies to complete a review process that would normally take years in only a few months. Not only will this shrunken time frame stifle much of the local citizenry’s debate, but it will likewise curtail the voices of many key environmental analysts and experts. The Fish and Wildlife Service has already been left out of much of the decision-making process, and Interior Department officials are limiting environmental assessments to only 150 pages within the expected review. For context, one environmental organization alone submitted an analysis of harmful impacts that spanned well over 150 pages.

Sign this petition to demand the Interior Department take time and care with a process that could radically redefine the Arctic landscape for generations to come.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Fesmire,

Senator Lisa Murkowski, in her continued promotion of arctic drilling, once proclaimed that ‘outsiders’ should not determine the fate of Alaska’s arctic landscape . Perhaps, then, Senator Murkowski and others should listen to the voices of the people who have inhabited these lands for centuries….the people who rely on these lands for survival in every sense of the word.

The Gwich’in people have joined droves of their fellow Alaskans in calling for compassion and caution in fundamentally altering their environment and their lives. We are concerned that in the name of speed and profit, you are not listening to these voices or the voices of countless experts who devote their lives to studying these lands. In order to hear these voices and in order to deem you analysis truly trustworthy, you need time that extends well beyond a few months.   You also need detailed, accurate analysis that is not limited to a few  pages.

Even the organizations with whom you are negotiating drilling contracts have urged you to take your time. Do the one thing that every side of this heated debate can agree upon: make informed, holistic decisions that ensure no animal, no piece of pristine land, and no voice is left behind.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service