Adapt New Technologies to Save North Atlantic Whales

Target: James Landon, Director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement

Goal: Adapt new regulations for the fishing industry to reduce harm to whales in the wild.

The North Atlantic right whale is facing extinction within the next 20 years due to serious entanglement issues in the ocean caused by methods used in the commercial fishing industry. Most fishers and crabbers use long ropes to keep track of the traps they lay at the ocean floor, something that is seriously damaging whale health. Whales get caught in these ropes and their instinct is to roll, which entangles them further. North Atlantic right whales are currently losing population numbers and not producing as many young as they used to, due to the stress on their bodies from the fishing industry. Less than 20o of these whales exist in the ocean right now.

There is a solution, though. New technology has led to advancements in rope-less trapping in the fishing industry, using sonar GPS signals and other advancements to track any cages or traps. Wildlife groups are calling on the National Marine Fishers Office to step up and help enforce the use of these new technologies. We are going to send a letter to the head of this organization to demand a change in behavior, before it’s too late. Sign the petition below to add your voice to the fight!

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Landon,

We are begging you to make some simple policy changes to the fishing industry that you help regulate. In order to save the whales, we need to implement the newest technology across the world. Please make regulation changes to ensure that whales can stay protected.

If we don’t take these steps now, then we might lose a precious species altogether. Please stand with us in protecting North Atlantic right whales.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Janice Waite

Environment vs. Polluters: Don’t Let the EPA Tip the Scales in Pollution’s Favor

Target: Charlotte Bertrand, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Goal: Continue measuring the impact of environmental damage and human health when crafting environmental policies.

As the ethics scandals continue piling up for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, he is continuing to enact damaging and counterintuitive environmental policies largely unchecked and under the radar. The latest affront to the EPA’s mission came when Pruitt announced that the agency would fundamentally change the way it shapes regulatory guidelines. The regulations put in place by the EPA have large implications for both the environment and public health. These include environmental laws that limit pollutants contaminating the air and water.

In the wake of other detrimental decisions regarding deregulations on emissions and asbestos, the EPA is aiming to restructure the cost-benefit analysis model it utilizes in creating its regulations. Currently, these analyses take into account much more than financial numbers. Rather, they also strongly consider hidden costs such as the dangers a substance might pose to a person’s health, or the slow-building destruction it might bring to our lands and our resources. For example, due to its negative effects on the environment, a previous analysis of carbon put its social cost at 36 dollars per ton. Under the new EPA leadership, the cost of this pollutant has plummeted to just five dollars per ton. Cost-benefit analysis has been a centerpiece for crafting such environmentally important policies as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Altering this vital tool will strike a blow to the heart of these important protections.

The EPA has opened this proposed change to input from experts and from the public. Sign this petition to let the leadership know that Americans value the preservation of our environment and our health over corporate profits.

PETITON LETTER:

Dear Ms. Bertrand.

The EPA recently devalued the role of public health data in informing EPA policy. And with your asbestos decision, you dismissed the carcinogens lurking in our environment that will impact the health of citizens for decades to come. Now the EPA wants to say once again that the health and well-being of our citizens and of our environment just does not have that much value.

The proposed changes to the agency’s cost-benefit analysis system will benefit only one sector of our population: corporations that crave more deregulation in their unending quest for greater profit. You did not take an oath to work for or service these entities. Your oath is to the environment and the people inhabiting it that have always stood central to the EPA’s true mission.

We the people value wellness. We value our health and the health of our children. And we value the well-being of the world that we will leave to future generations….hopefully in a better way than we found it. This is our cost-benefit analysis, and it should be yours as well.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

Stop the Disappearance of Songbirds’ Habitat

Target: The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Goal: Protect garden warblers from habitat loss by encouraging the growth and preservation of thick scrubs.

Scotland’s garden warblers may be in danger of total habitat loss due to an increasingly tidy countryside. The birds prefer to live in thick brush over anywhere else, and due to the disappearance of wild brush, the species is becoming harder and harder to spot. Habitat loss often leads to severe endangerment, and possibly extinction.

While wild brush can be a risk due to the possibility of wildfires, it is not fair to simply dispose of all that remains. Brush can easily be contained to certain areas, to create a natural reserve for the birds so that they may enjoy their chosen environment and have a chance to fortify their numbers to prevent possible endangerment.

As of right now, the garden warbler is on the “least concern” list, but is still disappearing. By protecting areas of wild brush, we can take preventive measures against further endangerment of these charming little birds. Sign this petition to demand protected brush areas across Scotland’s countryside.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear First Minister Sturgeon,

Garden warblers are at risk for habitat loss. The birds prefer and thrive in thick brush, which is becoming rarer in Scotland’s increasingly tidy countryside. Understandably, there is a concern about wildfires caused by leaving thick brush to lie everywhere, yet it is not fair to the birds to remove every last trace of it. Habitat loss leads to endangerment, which can lead to extinction in a short time.

Currently, the garden warbler is on the “least concern” list, and you must not let that change. By preserving areas of thick brush as protected safe spaces for the warblers, we can let them thrive in their favored environment, thus eliminating a possible threat of their disappearance down the line. Please fund the creation of such safe spaces by ensuring the preservation of wild brush in the countryside.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Francesco Veronesi

Save Marine Life and Reduce Plastic Waste

Target: Dr. Wijam Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand

Goal: Stop mass amounts of mismanaged plastic waste from killing marine animals by minimizing the use of plastic.

A pilot whale that washed ashore in Thailand tragically died after five days in the care of veterinarians, who removed 17 pounds of plastic from the whale’s stomach. They pulled about 80 soaking wet plastic trash bags from inside the whale. Plastic debris is a global problem and is massively dangerous to wildlife—especially marine animals, because so much of this waste ends up in the ocean, where these animals mistake it for food. This is what scientists at the Thailand Department of Marine and Coastal Services say is the likely cause of this pilot whale’s death. As Nick Mallos of the Ocean Conservancy states, “Whether it’s a straw or whether it’s a bottle cap, those items can be eaten by animals, and they pose threats through getting stuck in their digestive tracts. It can tear their stomachs. So these products in their entirety are problematic, but what’s equally, if not even more, concerning is that over time these materials are in the ocean, they begin to break up into smaller and smaller pieces.”

According to a study in the journal Science, Thailand was among the six countries with the most “mismanaged plastic waste” in 2010. In light of the example of this whale’s death—which is one of the hundreds of thousands of marine deaths caused by plastic that go largely unnoticed by humans—many are calling on Thailand’s government to take action to reduce plastic by taxing either producers or consumers. As Enric Sala, a marine ecologist with National Geographic, points out, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean. The problem is so huge, but the solution is easy. We can stop plastic from getting into the ocean, and this has to happen at different levels.” Sign below to demand that Thailand do its part and reduce its plastic waste to save our oceans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Simachaya,

The horrific death of a pilot whale that washed ashore on the beaches of Thailand with 17 pounds of plastic lodged in its stomach is indicative of the massive threat posed to our ocean environments and marine life by plastic waste. This threat cannot continue to go unchecked. According to marine ecologist Enric Sala, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean.” Thailand must do its part to help solve this problem.

A study reported that Thailand was one of the top countries with “mismanaged plastic waste” in the year 2010. This problem is rampant in the Asia-Pacific region in particular, and it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that your country does its part. Now is the time to reduce Thailand’s plastic waste and ensure that it is better managed, by imposing taxes either on companies that produce these plastics or on the consumers who use them. I urge you to protect our environment for future generations, and to save the lives of the innocent creatures being killed by human waste. Please take steps immediately to reduce Thailand’s plastic use and keep our oceans clean.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fabi Fliervoet

Praise Colorado For Advancing Clean Energy

Target: David L. Eves, President of Xcel Energy

Goal: Praise Xcel energy for pledging their future to clean energy.

Colorado’s biggest energy supplier just announced a huge victory for the clean energy sector, when they detailed a plan to remove 2 coal plants from Southern Colorado. The removal of the plants isn’t all, though, the company plans to replace the plants with the largest clean energy package ever to replace a coal plant. On top of all that, the plan is scheduled to save ratepayers over 200 million dollars.

This news is a huge step for Midwestern states like Colorado, who have relied heavily on fracking and coal plants for far too long. As Colorado pledges themselves for clean energy, neighboring states like Wyoming and New Mexico have reason to follow in their footsteps. Victories like this have a snowball effect and should be congratulated. Sign the petition below to thank the CEO of Xcel for getting the ball rolling.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Eves,

Thank you for embracing the new generations of energetic possibilities. It is not every day that a major utility commits to shifting from coal to renewable energy, but Xcel appears to be doing this with its recently-announced decision to replace two coal plants in Colorado with renewables. Decisions like yours are crucial to implementing a reform to our energy industry.

If every energy manufacturer were like you, we would already be completely energy self sufficient. Thank you for choosing the future and for doing away with our archaic coal plants, one at a time. We thank you for your service to the environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PD Tillman

Do Not Allow Yellowstone Bison to be Slaughtered

Target: Ryan Zinke, United States Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Do not give in to demands from ranchers to kill herds of bison living in Yellowstone National Park.

Ranchers in Montana and Wyoming have pressured the federal government for years, urging them to kill off wild bison in nearby Yellowstone National Park due to overblown fears of the spread of certain diseases, including Brucellosis. Despite the fact that bison are a native species on the rebound after nearly becoming extinct over a century ago, this fear mongering has led Secretary Ryan Zinke, the head of the U.S. Department of the Interior, to call for the mass slaughter of these creatures.

Yellowstone National Park’s current superintendent, Dan Wenk, claims he is being forced to retire from his position because of his disagreements with Zinke, a Trump-appointed official with a long track record of opposing wildlife conservation. Wenk stands by research conducted by park biologists that suggests that the land can easily support the 4,000 estimated bison currently living there, and that the bison are not causing overgrazing, as Zinke and his staff have claimed.

The case for killing Yellowstone’s bison rests on bad science and a desire to put profits over conservation and the environment. Sign this petition to tell Zinke that the bison in Yellowstone have every right to remain and thrive on this protected land.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I’m writing to inform you that the National Park Service is not a livestock management program, and should not be treated as such. The 4,000 estimated bison that live in Yellowstone National Park are a part of the natural ecosystem, and should not be removed to satisfy local ranchers.

Your demands that Yellowstone officials, including superintendent Dan Wenk, cull at least 1,000 bison may satisfy the livestock industry, but it is bad for the environment and for the many tourists that visit the park with the hopes of seeing these majestic creatures. If these animals are killed, the only people who will benefit are a handful of ranchers whose operations extend to near the park’s boundaries. We urge you to look at the scientific research for yourself and to not call for this senseless killing of Yellowstone’s bison.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Daniel Mayer

Drain the Swamp of Unethical, Anti-Environment Officials

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Remove an influential official who allegedly gave access to organizations promoting environmentally destructive policies.

The ethics scandal continues for the individuals charged with conserving our environment and our lands. Now, the spotlight of scrutiny is directed toward senior officials in the Department of the Interior, a federal agency that, among other responsibilities, oversees America’s natural resources and federally protected lands. Unfortunately, much like Environmental Protection Agency leadership, it appears that Interior leaders may be making back-room deals with the very entities that threaten its mission.

Media-obtained records have revealed meetings between high-ranking Interior Department advisor Douglas Domenech and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a high-profile conservative lobbying organization believed to be backed by the notorious Koch brothers. This foundation most recently gained scrutiny in the political realm when President Trump appointed one of its fellows, a known climate change denier, to helm the Council for Environmental Quality. Domenech himself is also a former employee of TPPF, where he directed a project that lobbied against the Clean Power Plan.

Domenech claimed his meetings were entirely social, but his released work calendar tells a very different story of intensive discussions that centered around policy initiatives. Every member of the Trump administration allegedly signed a pledge that forbade them from allowing former employers insider access to federal departments or policy initiatives. Domenech, allegedly like many alongside him, has blatantly disregarded his pledge and placed outside interests over the duties he was appointed to carry out with integrity.

Sign this petition to demand President Trump hold this official accountable for violations that could place the environment and its precious resources at imminent risk.

PETTION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

The ethics pledge all members of your administration signed was a valued opportunity to honor your own pledge of “draining the swamp.” Employees are trained and educated on this pledge every year. And yet another employee of your administration stands accused of breaking this pledge… and breaking his vow to the American people.

Douglas Domenech, a powerful official within the Department of the Interior, has openly held several meetings with his former employer, the Texas Public Policy Foundation. More critically, his own documents indicate these meetings focused on present and future Interior Department policy.

This is a blatant violation of Mr. Domenech’s oath of office and a betrayal of the mission he has to look out for the best interest of our federal lands and resources. Although this matter is allegedly being investigated internally, we do not have confidence it will be resolved impartially.

Honor your own pledge to “drain the swamp” by demanding the removal of this man who seemingly cannot and will not keep his word.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Steve Baskauf

Stop Plastic from Destroying Our Oceans and Ban All Plastic Straws

Target: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York

Goal: Ban the use of plastic straws in New York City restaurants and other businesses.

While global efforts to cut back on plastic use and promote recycling have been promising, progress is not being made fast enough to save marine species from becoming extinct. New York City lawmakers are now proposing a ban on the use of plastic straws in all restaurants citywide. The time has come to stop allowing these unnecessary products to litter beaches and cause harm to wildlife.

This proposed straw ban follows a failed attempt in New York City to add a five-cent fee on plastic and paper bag use. While the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has said that he supports banning plastic bags statewide, he has not yet commented on New York’s plans to ban disposable plastic straws. His influence and support could help sway public opinion and make it more likely that this ban will pass.

Plastic straws are wasteful and can be easily replaced with biodegradable ones made from paper or bamboo, or from reusable materials like metal. With the world facing a major catastrophe caused by the glut of plastic filling our oceans, the time to act is now. Help New York City lead the national movement to ban plastic straws and sign the petition below to urge Governor Cuomo to lend his support.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Plastic straws used in New York City restaurants are contributing to a global catastrophe as oceans become filled with plastic waste that harms wildlife and pollutes the water. Unlike straws made from biodegradable materials like bamboo or paper, plastic straws remain in the environment for many years and break down into smaller pieces that can kill or sicken marine creatures. That is why New York City council member Rafael Espinal is proposing a bill that would ban the use of plastic straws in all restaurants and businesses citywide.

This ban has already gained the support of over 130 local businesses, including many famous restaurants, museums and hotels. What this movement does not yet have, however, is your support and ability to influence public opinion. That is why we urge you to publicly offer your support for this ban and all other efforts to reduce plastic use throughout New York State.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: JnL

Stop Trump’s Trade War From Destroying Solar Power in America

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Stop all import taxes on solar panels made outside of the U.S. that are crippling the solar industry.

Solar energy companies are cancelling over 2.5 billion dollars’ worth of new large- scale solar projects in the United States as the result of tariffs placed on imported solar panels by the Trump Administration. While most other countries worldwide are looking to expand their solar projects, these import taxes are a sign that Trump is not interested in developing renewable energy, but would rather cling to obsolete and environmentally-damaging fossil fuels like coal and oil.

Solar energy industry leaders and environmentalists had warned President Trump that his proposed tariffs would kill thousands of American jobs and raise prices on solar energy to the point where it would no longer remain competitive. Especially damaging is the fact that efforts to create U.S. solar panel manufacturing jobs have not been able to keep up with the demand and that most panels are still being made overseas.

We must stop this international trade war that is damaging solar power in the U.S. and expand on efforts to increase solar panel manufacturing domestically. Please sign the below petition calling on Trump to lift the tariffs on imported solar panels.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

I am writing to demand that you stop imposing unnecessary tariffs on imported solar panels. Your trade policy is harmful to both the American economy and the environment, as shown by the over 2.5 billion dollars’ worth of canceled solar projects this year alone. Before these taxes went into effect, solar was posed to become one of the fastest-growing sectors, and could have resulted in thousands of new jobs.

The U.S. cannot afford to hold on to obsolete forms of energy like coal and oil. The world is outpacing us with new advances being made in renewable energy, including solar, at a rapid pace. There will be dire consequences for this country—and potentially the world— unless more is done to expand on solar. That is why I am urging you to lift these tariffs and allow this industry to compete on the global stage for the good of all Americans and for future generations to come.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

Stop the Decline of Australia’s Large Fish Species

Target: The Honourable David Littleproud, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Goal: Protect Australia’s large fish species from further decline.

Excessive fishing has caused a decline of 30 percent in several of Australia’s large fish species. While climate and habitat change also play a role in this decline, it has recently been shown that overfishing is the lead cause. And while 30 percent in the past decade may seem like a small decline, it is a slippery slope when it comes to wildlife vulnerability and endangerment.

Every wildlife species is important to the ecosystem, but large fish are especially vital as they control the krill and plankton populations as well as any potential overgrowth of seaweed or algae. Marine ecologists are pushing for a review of the current fisheries and their impact on the environment; unfortunately, assistant minister for agriculture and water resources Anne Ruston claims there is no need for such a review, calling the fisheries “world class.”

We cannot allow overfishing to cause a further decline in large fish species. The loss of even a single one could do irreparable damage to the oceans and overall environment. Sign this petition to demand the ministry allow the review and aid in the protection of large fish species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Littleproud,

Australia’s seas have seen a slow but steady decline of several large fish populations due to excessive fishing, in addition to climate and habitat change. This is a slippery slope, as 30 percent can easily become more, and lead to extinction within years. Every species of fish is vital to the ecosystem, and larger fish control the population of smaller ones as well as any overgrowth of seaweed or algae.

You must allow for a review of Australia’s fisheries as soon as possible. Excessive fishing has been a problem for years, causing a decline in many other fish species as well as endangering other marine wildlife. Fisheries need to be evaluated and possibly changed in order to protect these fish species from further decline.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sea Dave