End Drought-Inducing Deforestation in Ghana

Target: Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Bring an end to destructive deforestation that is robbing humans and habitats of their water.

Deforestation in Ghana is leading to dangerous droughts in India. Research finds that deforestation is decreasing rainfall, impacting it by 25 to 40 percent. Now, parts of India are in a water crisis due to Ghana’s careless actions.

Deforestation has stripped Ghana of roughly 35 percent of forest cover. Forests have been cleared for plantations and dams. Water cannot evaporate from vegetation, leading to a lack of rainfalls that improve crops and provide a much-needed life source for living beings.

Deforestation must be brought under control so this dangerous and deadly drought facing India can be brought to an end. Sign the petition to demand Ghana end deforestation in its country to protect all lives, within its borders and beyond.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Amlalo,

Your nation’s deforestation is negatively impacting lives far beyond your borders. Deforestation in Ghana is creating droughts in India. Without vegetation to hold water, there is no evaporation, which means there is no rain.

Something must be done immediately to end deforestation in your country. It isn’t only harming your own habitats and citizens. Now, the dangers and damage have transcended borders.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Cunningchrisw

Stop Hiding Information About Poisoned Waterways

Target: Bryan Shaw, Chairman of The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Goal: Disclose vital documents relating to the dioxin spills in Houston water supplies.

Some of Houston’s largest public well and fishing water supplies have been found to be polluted with a carcinogen named dioxin, leading to these waterways being designated as “hazardous” zones. The waste comes from the paper industry’s dumping of toxic waste into public water supplies. The state of Texas has commissioned investigations into the affairs but refuses to make the full findings public, not even releasing the documents to academic researchers who were studying the water themselves. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was tasked with finding a cause and solution to the problem, hopefully addressing the problem fully in order to restore Houston’s water quality.

Instead, the commission has denied requests for a document release and has simply marked the waste zone as hazardous, without providing a meaningful explanation or solution to the problems Houston now faces from the poisoned water supply. Information such as this can not be held from the public, the citizens of Texas deserve to know the full extent of what they are dealing with. Sign the petition below to demand the documents be released.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairman Shaw,

The people of Texas are counting on your committee to serve them ecological justice, instead you have insulted their intelligence by refusing to release the vital documents from the investigation into the water supply. The responsibility to tell the truth lays in your hands and it is your duty to inform the public of the details of those findings.

Public trust is only as strong as the leaders who speak truthfully. If you are not able to tell the truth about your findings, then the public should have no trust in you. We demand you act immediately and release a full disclosure.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Samuel King Jr.

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

Protect Source of Drinking Water for Millions from Harmful Algae Blooms

Target: John Kasich, Ohio Governor

Goal: Protect a valuable source of drinking water and aquatic habitats by reducing the discharge of agricultural runoff into Lake Erie.

Nutrient-laden runoff has caused significant algae growth in Lake Erie, especially the western end near Ohio and its significant agriculture industry. Voluntary measures by farmers to cut back polluted runoff have not been sufficient to stop harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie. Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario laudably signed a plan to reduce the nutrient load flowing into Lake Erie by 40% by 2025; however, Ohio has provided no regulatory mandate or funding to assist the agriculture industry in meeting these goals. Meanwhile, harmful algae continue to pose a hazard to Lake Erie due to this toxic runoff.

The pollutants causing these extreme algae growths, or blooms, are primarily nitrogen and phosphorous from manure and chemical fertilizers spread in crop fields. These non-point sources of pollution are notoriously difficult to handle because they can cover such large areas. The toxic algae blooms can impact drinking water, inhibit recreation activities on the lake, and choke out aquatic life. Oftentimes, conventional water treatment plants cannot handle these types of contamination. In the past, spikes of algae blooms has caused issues of drinking water becoming unavailable in areas due to the inability to treat the water.

In an attempt to curb the nutrient loading in runoff from farm fields, the Ohio EPA has encouraged farmers to voluntarily implement storm water controls and increase soil testing. Further attempts include an outright ban on the spreading of manure and fertilizer when the ground is either saturated or frozen, which can cause increased runoff. However, data from the past five years has indicated no significant decrease in pollutant levels. It is possible that the sheer size of the two-billion-dollar ethanol industry is simply too big for these small changes to make an appreciable difference.

Ohio is nowhere near on track to meet their runoff reduction goals. The voluntary measures are insufficient to reduce the pollutant loading and small farmers cannot be expected to carry this burden on their own. Sign the petition to encourage the funding of larger initiatives that will be the beginning of the end for these toxic algae blooms.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Kasich,

Toxic algae blooms caused by runoff from agriculture are choking out aquatic life in Lake Erie and impacting your state’s drinking water. While Ohio’s plan to curb this nutrient laden runoff by 40% by 2025 is commendable, these goals are unattainable at the current rate of progress.  Based on data from the Ohio EPA over the last five years, no appreciable reduction in nutrient loading, and therefore algae blooms, has been seen using the current voluntary measures.

It is critical to stop the pollution of Lake Erie with nitrogen and phosphorous in order to protect drinking water and the aquatic life found there. Significant accumulations of algae cannot be removed using conventional water treatment techniques and threaten aquatic life. This nutrient-laden runoff is largely attributed to agriculture, significant portions of which include corn fields grown for ethanol production. While this industry is significantly important to your economy, equally important is the availability of potable water, which is constantly challenged by these algae blooms.

The most effective methods for reducing pollutant runoff includes the development of buffer areas between farm fields and surface water resources and the planting of winter cover crops. However, these initiatives are unfunded and not in widespread use. Please, support the Clean Lake 2020 initiative to fund mandates and assist farmers with better agricultural practices. It is imperative to reduce this agricultural runoff and curb algae growth in Lake Erie before it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Help Conservationists Save Endangered Florida Panther from Imminent Extinction

Target: Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator for Florida

Goal: Provide much-needed funding to important organization dedicated to preserving the Florida Panther.

Approximately 180 Florida Panthers are left on Earth— a number that is quickly diminishing. These beautiful animals are going to go extinct if we don’t do anything to stop it. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has preserved millions of acres in an effort to protect Florida Panthers from extinction, but in order to keep the Florida Panther alive, they need funding.

Without funding, the Florida Panther will go extinct and humans are to blame. If Congress refuses to fund this program, then habitats like the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge & Conservation Area and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge will shut down and there will be dire consequences for these beautiful animals. Programs such as these are essential for the welfare of many animals. Demand that these programs are fully-funded, and the Florida Panther is saved from extinction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Rubio,

The Florida Panther is on the verge of extinction. With only 180 left in existence, action needs to be taken in order to protect this beautiful species. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is willing to put in the work to save these animals, but funding needs to be provided.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped provide clean water and conserve natural resources for more than 50 years. They have the dedication— all they need is the funding. Please provide full funding for this wonderful program so that the Land and Water Conservation can provide a safe space for the Florida Panther to thrive.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

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

End Major Financier’s Destruction of the World’s Rainforests

Target: Muhammad Prasetyo, Attorney General of Indonesia

Goal: Bring an end to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests by holding a major financial company accountable for its support of palm oil plantations.

A major financial company is clearing Indonesia of its rainforests and peatland and facing no consequences. Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) publicly trades palm oil from 32 estates spanning 620 square miles. These forests and their habitats are dying at an alarming rate.

Not only has LTH destroyed forests, it has done so against stringent agreements not to do so with buyers. LTH is visibly going against “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” agreements.

Firms under LTH’s watch have been suspended for these destructive actions, yet new ones are cropping up. Sign the petition to demand that the government of Indonesia hold LTH accountable and punish the company for its actions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Attorney General Prasetyo,

Financial firm Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) is destroying your nation’s rare and endangered rainforests and peatlands. More than 620 square miles, home to thousands of endangered species, have been destroyed. LTH has faced no serious consequences.

The actions taken by LTH are unethical, both morally and environmentally. I demand your government take action to finally hold LTH accountable for its destructive actions. Your forests should be protected, not pawned off to the highest bidder.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ivo62

Hold Big Oil Accountable for Climate Change Impacts

Target: Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., Attorney representing Chevron Oil

Goal: Make oil companies pay for the destruction caused by climate change and their own greed.

Big oil has perpetrated a fraud against the American public by ignoring climate science in order to line their pockets. In the past, these huge oil and energy companies have purposely muddied the waters when it comes to the impacts of climate change from the production and use of fossil fuels in order to maintain their profit margin from these activities and obscure the truth to the public. These companies need to be held accountable for the catastrophic impacts of their activities.

Now this issue has been taken to court in People of the State of California vs. BP P.L.C. et. al. Several large U.S. cities have sued several big oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell. This momentous court case aims to make big oil pay for the current and future damages to infrastructure and real estate caused by rising sea levels due to climate change. Finally, the public may see some reparations for the damage caused by the oil industry.

These companies knew the damage they were causing before much of the public was aware of the issue of climate change. According to the LA Times, a presentation in 1980 made to the American Petroleum Institute (API) warned these companies of the dangers of (then) global warming, both environmentally and economically, and the potential consequences of their actions. Rather than alert the government or the public, the API chose to sow chaos and confuse the public by becoming one of the loudest deniers of anthropogenic climate change. This has been proven with literature disseminated within the API seeking to emphasize the “uncertainties” of climate science, rather than share the truth. This occurred after climate change became widely publicized with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

These unethical business practices in order to turn huge profits are unacceptable. The oil industry perpetrated a fraud against the public for decades in order to make money rather than do the ethical thing by sharing the truth and making changes to way we use fossil fuels and energy. Instead, this industry has led us on a path of fossil fuel dependence. Sign the petition for the attorney of these companies to stop blaming the public and to hold them accountable for the impacts due to their greed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Boutrous,

Your client, big oil, has knowingly exaggerated the uncertainties related to climate science in the past in order to obfuscate the issue and continue to profit from the destruction of the environment. The court case People of the State of California vs. BP P.L.C., et. al. is of the utmost importance in holding these companies accountable for their unethical practices. Stop defending these companies by blaming climate change on “how people are leading their lives.”

Decades have gone by and oil companies have continued to profit without any consequences. The scientific community has long since come to a consensus on climate change, which has finally been admitted by your client. Big oil knew about the potential dangers related to climate change even before the issue was widely known to the public. Yet still they think only of their shareholders’ interests. Still they prevent the spread of renewable energy and technologies. Still they unapologetically promote fossil fuel dependence and its disastrous consequences.

Your client should be held accountable for the fraud perpetrated against the public. Don’t support the ridiculous notion that this is somehow the public’s fault, when your clients knowingly withheld information for years regarding the impacts of climate change. Big oil deserves to pay for the impacts they have caused due their greed and unethical activities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Walter Siegmund

Stop Offshore Drilling from Destroying Deep-Sea Ecosystems

Target: Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Prevent U.S. coastlines from being opened up for unfettered oil exploration.

Our planet’s rare and endangered aquatic ecosystems are once again under attack in the name of “energy exploration.” The U.S. Government is currently proposing oil drilling along the country’s coast. Opening up the entirety of the U.S. coastline for offshore drilling will kill deep-sea ecosystems. The more drilling that is allowed, the more likely a spill or accident will occur and affect the sensitive deep-water coral reefs that form the base of the ocean ecosystem. The proposed program for developing the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf for oil exploration needs to be stopped before there is irreparable damage to our coastlines.

The new plan under consideration by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would open up 90% of the federally owned offshore areas for oil exploration without any regard for the potential environmental consequences. Oil exploration includes a number of different steps, such as investigative surveys, drilling, and pipe laying, any one of which has the potential to damage sensitive deep-water coral reefs. Oil spills can occur, as well as physical damage to the reef itself during drilling. In some cases, cleaning up the spills can be just as harmful, with the oil dispersants poisoning the coral reefs. Drill cuttings, or tiny pieces of metal that are produced during drilling, can float up to the surface of the water and smother the coral reefs. Scientists believe, at the current projections for development and the historical spill rates, that an additional 5,000 new oil spills, anywhere from small to catastrophic, will occur in the next five years due to this development plan.

These deep-sea ecosystems provide food and shelter for other marine life. Impacting the coral reefs will impact all aquatic life and could mean disaster for the ocean environment. According to experts, coral reefs could take decades to rebound from catastrophic events such as the Deepwater Horizon spill and may never function the same. It is imperative that these delicate ecosystems be protected from oil exploration activities. Sign the petition to prevent the Department of the Interior from causing irreversible damage to the deep-sea coral reefs and all ocean life.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Offshore drilling of U.S. coastlines could cause irreparable damage to deep-sea coral reefs that form the foundation for ocean life in these ecologically sensitive areas. I implore you to consider the environmental impacts before allowing unfettered development of these areas, which will increase the risk of a spill or accident and could cause irreversible damage to the ocean environment.

Scientists estimate that an additional 5,000 spills, ranging in size and extent, could occur over the next five years based on this development plan and the historical rate of spills. Any number of activities during oil exploration can negatively impact the environment, including not only oil spills, but the drilling itself into the ocean bottom, the release of metal particles during drilling which smother the coral reefs, and even the toxic dispersants used to remove oil spills. No spill could be considered inconsequential when any minor impact to these deep-sea coral reefs will subsequently affect all of the organisms that rely on these coral reefs for food and shelter. The more drilling is allowed, the more likely there is to be environmental harm to these delicate ecosystems. If that is not enough to convince you, consider the implications, economic and otherwise, to our beaches and fishing industries.

Don’t ignore the facts in the name of “energy dominance.” Once you lead us down this path, the impacts to these important ecosystems could be irreversible. Please take time to consider the environmental consequences before approving oil exploration up and down our coastlines.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Coast Guard

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