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

Crack Down on Dolphin Feeding That Puts Wild Animals at Risk

Target: Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi

Goal: Enact laws that more strictly prohibit the feeding of wild dolphins to protect them from harm.

Over the past sixteen years, researchers investigating the remains of dolphins found dead in the Gulf of Mexico have discovered that 21 of them died of apparent gunshot wounds, including one pregnant female. Experts now suspect that these tragic deaths may be tied to the fact that many wild dolphins look to humans for food because of tourists and others feeding them illegally.

While those responsible for having killed the pregnant female dolphin earlier this year and others like her have not yet been found and brought to justice, marine biologists believe this trend will continue as long as dolphins look to people for food. They suspect that the dolphins may have been killed by fishermen who shot the animals as a form of revenge for taking fish from their nets after these animals began seeking them out for food.

Dolphins must not learn to associate people with food for their own good. Sign below and demand that Mississippi officials enact stronger laws to hold people accountable for feeding wild dolphins and putting their lives at risk.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Bryant,

The ongoing mystery surrounding the suspicious dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico has left animal lovers deeply concerned, but experts say the cause may not be so mysterious after all. The 21 dolphins that have been discovered dead from gunshot wounds over the past sixteen years were likely targeted by fishermen frustrated with the animals after they stole from their nets. According to marine biologists, this kind of behavior can be directly attributed to humans regularly giving these wild creatures food handouts.

Wild animals, including dolphins, not only become more trusting when offered food by humans, but also more daring. As a result, they may begin to beg or even steal food in a brazen manner. These confrontations put their lives at risk, and unfortunately may have led to these tragic deaths. That is why I am urging you not just to seek out and punish those responsible for directly harming these dolphins, but to also enact stronger laws that hold everyone accountable for ensuring wild creatures remain wild and not dependent on people for food.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Juanma Carrillo

Demand ‘Red List’ Status for Declining Penguin Species

Target: Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Goal: Reevaluate the conservation status of king penguins after drastic drop in population.

Scientists studying king penguins living on the remote island of Ile Aux Cochon, a French territory between the southern tip of Africa and Antarctica, are sounding the alarm that these creatures are in serious trouble. With an estimated 200,000 birds remaining on the island, a mere 10 percent of the population just three decades ago, they are now calling on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to add this species to their “red list” of threatened and endangered wildlife.

Penguins are known for maintaining stable colonies for many decades, making it unlikely that these birds have gone somewhere else. This means that the most likely explanation for the colony’s collapse is that these birds have either died off or that they have been unsuccessful in reproducing, perhaps as a result of climate change.

The colony at Ile Aux Cochon is thought to represent at least a third of the global population of king penguins. Now that so many have disappeared, the time has come to reevaluate this species’ conservation status, which is still considered by the IUCN to be “least concern.” Sign this petition to urge this international board to add this declining species to their red list of threatened and endangered species so they can receive the additional protection they deserve.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director General Andersen,

The number of king penguins living on the French-controlled island of Ile Aux Cochon has declined by nearly 90 percent, perhaps as a result of poor breeding success linked to climate change. As this island’s colony is thought to be home to at least a third of the world’s king penguins, this drastic population drop is a real cause for concern that demands a reevaluation of their current conservation status.

If these birds are indeed threatened by global warming, adding them to the IUCN’s red list could put additional pressure on nations worldwide to increase their efforts to combat the harmful effects of excessive carbon emissions and other forms of pollution. Please look into the scientific evidence regarding the outlook for this species and the threats they face, and act accordingly before it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg.NZ

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

Trump: Don’t Dismantle Safety Rule Protecting Dolphins From Oil Spills

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Do not eliminate safeguards and risk another catastrophic oil spill like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Trump administration is not only pushing to expand offshore drilling despite the extreme environmental threats it poses, but is now also trying to eliminate key safety rules that are in place to prevent future oil disasters. The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, a catastrophic oil spill in 2010, had devastating effects that are still being felt today. The Well Control Rule is a safeguard that was put in place after this tragedy to prevent such a thing from happening again. It is one of the few safety measures we have, and the Trump administration’s proposed revisions to this rule weaken it deeply and render offshore drilling even more dangerous.

Over 200 million gallons of oil were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico during the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. After an exploratory well blowout, the company’s rig exploded, killing 11 crew members and resulting in 87 days of spillage before engineers managed to seal the blowout. Oceana reports that multiple studies have confirmed that oil contamination is a critical factor in the Gulf of Mexico’s longest and largest recorded dolphin die-out. The organization states, “Make no mistake: right now, in the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins are still suffering from the effects of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe.” Research shows that dolphins currently living in this area only give birth to calves 19% of the time, and estimates that it will take as long as 40 years for their populations to recover. It is unacceptable to further increase risks of this type of devastation occurring again. Sign below to demand that the Well Control Rule be left intact, preserving the safeguards against catastrophic oil spills and protecting the dolphins.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

Your administration’s intent to weaken the Well Control Rule—one of the only safeguards against devastating oil spills, which even now does not provide sufficient protection—is unacceptable. These types of disasters are catastrophic for the environment and for dolphin populations, not to mention dangerous for workers and for coastal communities. It is nothing short of reckless and irresponsible to roll back protections while your administration simultaneously seeks to expand offshore oil drilling.

The horrific effects of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster—the spill that claimed the lives of 11 crew members, dumped over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days, and contributed to the worst dolphin die-off in that area’s recorded history—are still being felt. This type of catastrophe must be avoided at all costs. The proposed dismantling of safety standards would make offshore drilling even more dangerous, which must not be allowed to happen. I urge you to protect the safety of our environment, our marine life, and our coastal communities. Do not weaken the protections of the Well Control Rule.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Green Fire Productions

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 Allow Trophy Hunters to Bring Back Heads From Slaughtered Lions

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Reverse decision to allow trophy hunters to gain permits to bring back the heads and other body parts from slaughtered lions.

American trophy hunters are being given permission to bring back the severed heads and other body parts from lions they have killed in various parts of Africa. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appears to be condoning this barbaric practice, issuing at least three dozen such permits over the past two years.

The news that so many permits have been issued for lion trophies is unsurprising, given the fact that the Trump administration has also recently allowed hunters to start bringing back trophies from slain elephants as well. However, the fact that many of these hunters are wealthy Republican donors has raised more than a few eyebrows among environmental watchdog groups.

The idea that hunting somehow helps to protect vulnerable species has been proven time and again to be false. If lions and other threatened African wildlife are to survive in their native land, they must be allowed to live without the threat of being shot by trophy hunters or poachers. Sign this petition and demand that President Trump stop allowing Americans to bring back lion trophies from their bloodthirsty expeditions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

Trophy hunting is a wasteful and barbaric practice that does nothing to help the conservation of threatened and endangered species. Despite this fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has issued three dozen permits over the past two years to allow American hunters to bring back the severed heads and other body parts from lions they have killed while abroad. Many of these hunters are wealthy donors for a variety of Republican fundraising efforts, which seriously calls into question the ethics and motivation behind granting these permits in the first place.

Being allowed to kill a lion for the thrill of bringing home a trophy should not be given as a reward for political contributions or other favors. The survival of all lions and many other iconic African species is on the line. We demand that you stop allowing American hunters, regardless of political ideology, to bring back trophies from lions they have killed.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

Stop Algae Bloom From Killing Endangered Turtles

Target: Jonathan P. Steverson, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Goal: Investigate and end the cause of hundreds of sea turtles’ deaths in Florida.

Hundreds of sea turtles have washed up on Florida’s shores, most likely due to an abnormally long algae bloom in the waters. According to a report from turtle researcher Kelly Sloan, the deaths of these turtles coincides with the start of this year’s algae bloom, which she calls “[the] longest continued bloom since 2006.” The loss of this many turtles impedes their ability to recover their numbers after years of endangerment.

Reports state that it us unknown if red tide poisoning is indeed responsible for the deaths of these turtles, but that it is the most likely cause. Algae blooms are one of the most highly toxic naturally occurring events, and while animals usually know to avoid the reddened waters, the toxins can remain in the water supply for months after the end of a bloom. These toxins affect the nerves and the gills of sea creatures, leading to instant or inevitable death.

We cannot let the deaths of these turtles go unsolved, nor can we allow another mass mortality event like this one in the future. Sign this petition to ensure that no more turtles or other aquatic wildlife die under such circumstances.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Steverson,

Hundreds of sea turtles mysteriously died, their bodies washing up on Florida’s shores. While the exact cause has yet to be determined, the prime suspect is the yearly algae bloom that has lasted longer than average. Algae blooms and red tide poisoning are directly responsible for the deaths of many sea creatures each year, due to the toxins remaining in the water long after the end of a bloom, and a prolonged bloom just may have ended the lives of these turtles.

You must fully investigate the matter and take measures towards putting an end to it so that another mass mortality event does not occur. The deaths of this many turtles impedes their chance of survival as a species, and their ability to repopulate their numbers. The lives of many turtles are in the balance, and you must ensure their survival.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bocken Inaglory

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