Support Victory for Conservation in Florida

Target: Rick Abbott, Chair of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

Goal: Congratulate Florida on passing a constitutional amendment to conserve precious Florida land.

The State of Florida recently passed a constitutional amendment requiring the state spend a billion dollars to purchase land for conservation efforts instead of allowing that land to be developed on. The move was an act by Floridians to ensure that they can keep a legal stake in their home state’s land without having to worry about the land being sold for industrial purposes. Thanks to the ruling by a local judge, Florida now has a billion more dollars to allocate towards land conservation.

Opponents of the move were big companies who wanted to develop on the very land that was up for auction and if they had gotten their way, the land would be demolished and polluted forever. Thanks to some dedicated Floridians and the tireless efforts of conversation groups, the conservation efforts will continue without roadblocks by private entities. Stand with us in thanking Florida for making the right choice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Abbott,

Thanks to the efforts of the Florida Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club, Florida no longer has to worry about losing a billion dollars worth of valuable resources to industries who only want to abuse that privilege. If we did not have conservation groups like yours fighting the good fight, who knows what would happen to our priceless heritage and resources?

Florida is an essential stitch in the tapestry of ecological diversity we have crafted here in the United States, if we do not protect this tapestry then the very values of America are at stake. We were built with respect for our beautiful ecology and it’s environmental decisions like this that allow us to continue respecting these ecologies. We thank you for your hard work.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Donkey Hotey

Success: Seattle Bans Plastic Straws

Target: Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle

Goal: Congratulate Seattle on banning plastic straws.

Seattle just scored a huge victory for their local ecology and the ocean waters around the Puget Sound by officially outlawing the usage of plastic straws. We have been talking about this issue for quite some time and Seattle just made leaps and bounds in the right direction. The ban of plastic straws in Seattle officially marks a step forward in the fight against disposable plastics.

Plastic straws are one of the top pollutants of the world’s ocean ecology and considering the U.S. consumes 500 million plastic straws on a daily basis, we’ve got a long way to go to undo some of the damage done by these harmful plastics. We still have petitions to the EPA, the United Nations, and many other worldwide organizations dedicated to protecting our ecology. We need your help to keep spreading the word that plastics have no place in our waters. Right now though, we congratulate Seattle on a huge step in the right direction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Durkan,

This victory in the fight against disposable plastics in our oceans is one of the many incredible news stories to come out of Seattle. Thank you for your help in turning Seattle into a place where people can truly vote with their progressive values. Thanks to the legislation of the Seattle City Council, the future of the oceans is looking a lot cleaner.

We encourage you in your progressive efforts and hope you continue to pleasantly surprise the rest of the world with your policy decisions. Thanks to your bright eyes for the future, our children have a home to look forward to. We thank you for your efforts, Seattle.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:JnL

Success: No More Permits Issued for Cruel Black Bear Killings

Target: Joe Stohr, Acting Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Goal: Comply with court ruling to stop issuing permits allowing brutal hunting and trapping of black bears on timberlands, and move toward shutting down the program entirely.

No new permits will be issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife authorizing inhumane methods of killing black bears, which were outlawed by state voters, on private timberlands. This is following outrage from activist groups and the public, including petitions like this one at ForceChange, and a recent ruling by a state court. The ruling comes as part of a case against the Department of Fish and Wildlife filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, challenging the legality of the program permitting the killing of certain bears as a whole.

After a winter of hibernation, bears are hungry, and when food is scarce they sometimes peel the bark from trees to eat the sapwood. The department’s program allows killing bears to protect commercial timberlands, but there is no evidence that the permits target tree-damaging bears—and even if there were, the unsporting methods of baiting, trapping, and using hounds are still illegal and unacceptable. In practice, the program only serves to create a private hunting season for favored hunters, completely disregarding the voices of Washington’s citizens as a whole.

A final decision will be issued by the court later in the year regarding the program in its entirety. In the meantime, the court’s ruling to stop any further issuing of permits is a much needed victory. As Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity states, “This ruling will save numerous bears from a cruel death, and that’s a big relief….In ruling against the department, the court recognized the risk to bears and the merits of our case against this inhumane bear-killing program. Now we’ll focus on shutting down the program for good.” Sign below to support this ruling and ensure that this inhumane program is stopped entirely.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Stohr,

The state court’s ruling that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife be suspended from issuing any new hunting permits for black bears on Washington’s timberlands is a vital step for the protection of innocent wildlife, as well as for Washington’s citizens, who voted to outlaw the inhumane hunting methods that your department’s permits allow. These unsporting methods like baiting, trapping, and using hounds are not acceptable under any circumstances, especially considering that there is no evidence that the program targets bears who have damaged property and are thereby excluded from the public’s hunting outlaw.

Your program effectively creates a private hunting season for those in the department’s favor, using methods deemed illegal by the people the government is supposed to represent. You have a responsibility to those people, as well as to your state’s wildlife, which your department should be protecting. As Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity says, “In ruling against the department, the court recognized the risk to bears and the merits of our case against this inhumane bear-killing program… We think the court will ultimately decide that those permits should never have been issued, and we urge the department to immediately suspend all outstanding permits.” Please heed this advice and protect Washington’s black bears.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brigitte Werner

Take Interior Department to Task for Damaging Anti-Environmental Decisions

Target: Michael Nedd, Acting Deputy Director for U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management

Goal: Do not diminish efforts to conserve America’s natural landscapes.

America’s natural environment is in more danger than ever. For decades, conservation of lands has stood as one of the primary missions of the United States Department of the Interior. Yet as this federal agency—like many alongside it—becomes increasingly politicized, the values and mission of the organization are disappearing, now supplanted by new ‘priorities’ that include “protect[ing] the border” and “strik[ing] a regulatory balance.”

In a broad move that will have a strong impact on environmental conservation efforts nationwide, the department is considering significantly slashing funds for conservation grants it offers to community and state land preservation efforts. A more low-key but equally detrimental move in the long term involves new guidelines the department has put in place that will hobble the ability of geologists to attend the field’s two major scientific conferences. In new guidelines critics label censorship, materials to be used in presentations will be screened not by expert professionals but a departmental political appointee. If the materials do not support the department’s new priorities, then these scientists will be stifled from collaborating with their colleagues on matters of urgent importance.

Geologists provide critical insights on a host of environmental issues, including habitat restoration, water contamination, and the impacts of natural disasters. Their work must be allowed to continue unhindered by politics. Sign this petition to demand the Interior Department abide by one of its core missions and stop assaulting conservation and key research efforts.

PETITON LETTER:

Dear Mr. Nedd,

Land management stands as a fixture of the Department of the Interior, yet with each passing day this vital effort seems to be under assault from within. As the leader tasked with overseeing the operation of land management programs nationwide, does it trouble you that the financial lifeblood of such efforts is being squeezed with every new undermining policy? If grants for the conservation efforts that preserve and sustain our nation’s precious lands are curtailed, then at some point in the increasingly near future, you will be managing nothing but remnants, ghosts, and wisps of once-vibrant habitats.

In the same vein, hobbling the efforts of the geological professionals who should be valued colleagues and allies via political interference will only further diminish protections for our lands and its resources. While you may not have direct authority over these matters, you can be a strong, powerful voice that speaks for the lands that cannot speak for themselves.

Please fulfill your mission and advocate for our country’s most irreplaceable natural marvels.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Walton LaVonda

Protect Endangered Dragonfly from Extinction

Target: Greg Sheehan, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Enact protections for the rare and endangered southern snaketail dragonfly.

A rare dragonfly found in America’s south may soon go extinct. The southern snaketail dragonfly is found in Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana. Scientists, conservationists, and dragonfly experts classify the green dragonfly as “vulnerable.”

Pollution is the main factor in the rapid decrease of the dragonfly’s numbers. Mining, logging, and pesticides from runoff create water pollution that destroy the dragonfly’s larvae. Without healthy offspring, the dragonfly cannot hope to survive.

The southern snaketail dragonfly is just one of the more than 40 plant, animal, and insect species the Center for Biological Diversity is demanding protection for. Sign the petition to demand the federal government act immediately to classify the southern snaketail dragonfly as endangered, and demand the government award it all of the protections that come with such a title.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Sheehan,

The Center for Biological Diversity has recently released a list of over 40 plant, animal, and insect species it believes deserve protection. The southern snaketail dragonfly, found in America’s south, is quickly facing extinction. Water pollution is killing its offspring, ensuring that the population cannot grow.

I demand action be taken now to preserve the future of this insect. Every living being, no matter its size, deserves a chance at survival. Classify the southern snaketail dragonfly as endangered and award it all of the privileges and protections such a title carries with it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: De terre

Save America’s Wolves: Do Not Remove Their Endangered Species Protections

Target: Bridget Fahey, Chief of the Division of Conservation and Classification, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Do not expose wolves to trophy hunters and the threat of extinction.

Nearly all wolves across all of the lower 48 states of the U.S. may be left exposed to trapping, trophy hunting, and the threat of extinction, as the Trump Administration confirmed that it is considering a proposal to remove their Endangered Species protections. As Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity states, “It’s deeply troubling to see the Trump Administration trying to prematurely kick wolves off the endangered species list. Time and again the courts have told the Service that wolves need further recovery before their protections can be removed. But the agency is dead-set on appeasing special interests who want to kill these amazing animals.”

The Center for Biological Diversity reports that Gavin Shire, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chief of Public Affairs, said in an email statement that the department expects to propose reversing the gray wolf’s status “by the end of the calendar year.” It has already stripped the wolf of protections in the Great Lakes region, resulting in the cruel and unnecessary killing of hundreds of wolves. When the agency tried to extend this decision to apply to the rest of the country in 2013, courts not only ruled against it, but restored protections in the Great Lakes and later upheld both decisions. The courts said the Service’s removal of wolf protections in the Great Lakes region unlawfully ignored the consequences to wolf populations in other areas of the nation that are still recovering. These court rulings must not be ignored, or America’s wolves may face the threat of extinction due to trophy hunting and political corruption. Sign below to demand that wolves remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Fahey,

As a leader of the Endangered Species Program, it is your responsibility to ensure the protection and restoration of our nation’s wildlife. Nearly all of America’s wolves will be put at risk if they are stripped of their Endangered Species protections. This is why courts have ruled to maintain these protections in the past. Wolf populations are still recovering and taking their protections away prematurely irresponsibly exposes these innocent creatures to threats of extinction through cruel trophy hunting and trapping.

It is vital that wolves’ protections under the Endangered Species Act be upheld. Political interests and the whims of trophy hunters must not be put before the survival and well-being of innocent creatures who are integral to the landscape of our country as we know it. As Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity says, “Like so many Americans, I treasure having wolves and grizzlies in the wild and don’t want to see them shot and trapped for blood sport or pelts. We’re ready for a fight, and we’re going to do all that we can to make sure the feds fulfill their obligation to restore wolves and grizzlies across the country.” I urge you to ensure the rejection of any proposal that would remove protections for America’s wolves.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mark Kent

Save Britain’s Wild Mammal Population

Target: Her Excellency Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Protect Britain’s wild mammals from extinction.

One fifth of Britain’s wild mammal population is at high risk of extinction due to habitat loss. Their homes are being paved over and destroyed to make way for more roads, farmland, and industry, leaving many species with nowhere to comfortably live and forage for food. Those in the most danger are currently the Scottish wildcat and the greater mouse-eared bat, plus rabbits, hedgehogs, and water voles.

The loss of even one species is dangerous to the ecosystem, and this many losses at once could spell complete disaster. Wild mammals are essential in controlling certain insect populations, as well as spreading pollen via their fur to aid the growth of wild flora or fruit-bearing trees. Additionally, while industrial progress is a good thing for humans, it should not come at the expense of living creatures who have been inhabiting the forests and the woods for centuries.

Many mammals have survived the brink of extinction to rebuild their numbers in the past, so there may be hope yet for these currently vulnerable species. But it will take great efforts to ensure their protection. Sign this petition to support the conservation of Britain’s wild mammal population.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

Several wild mammal populations are at risk of extinction due to the loss of their habitat, which is being paved over or chopped down to make way for more industrialization. While the growth of industry is beneficial to humans, it should not have to rob innocent wildlife of their homes in order to exist. Currently, the Scottish wildcat and greater mouse-eared bat are in the most danger, with only one male of the latter species remaining.

You must make the effort to prevent these animals from disappearing. They are vital to the ecosystem, as they control insect populations and spread pollen to aid the growth of flowers and fruit-bearing trees. The loss of this many species could spell a large-scale disaster for Britain’s ecology, and you must prevent this. Please fund and support the preservation of forests and woods in order to allow these species a fighting chance.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Peter Trimming

Stop Sanctioning Cruel Wildlife Hunts on Nature Reserves

Target: Johannes Nobunga, CEO of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency

Goal: Do not allow wildlife hunting for sport at Kruger National Park or the adjacent private nature reserves—lands supposedly dedicated to “conservation.”

Tragically, a male lion was killed when he was most likely lured with bait out of Kruger National Park and into Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, allegedly by an American trophy hunter. Unconfirmed reports by the Daily Maverick suggest that this lion may have been the leader of his pride. If this is the case, his cubs will most likely be killed as well, as the other males of the pride vie for leadership. This tragedy should have been avoidable: the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR), which owns the land where the lion was killed along with over 1,000 square kilometers of land supposedly meant for “conservation,” did not include this lion in its hunting quota. However, the Daily Maverick reports that permission to hunt was given anyway, under the licensing authority of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. The organization allowed this despite receiving a Cease and Desist warning from two non-profits, EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, threatening legal action if the hunt occurred.

This unfathomable cruelty is symptomatic of wider corruption. While the killing of this lion should have fallen outside the realm of permissible hunts as per the APNR quota sanctioned by the Kruger National Park and Provincial Authorities, many argue that no hunting should be allowed on these lands at all. The Daily Maverick article reports that the combined quota for hunting on the national private reserves Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat and Balule in 2018 was 4,467 animals, including “52 elephants plus a bull older than 50 in Umbabat which could potentially be a 100-pound tusker, which many argue should never be hunted. It also listed 36 buffalo (despite a 68% drop in numbers to 2,327 in 2017), 44 kudu, 19 warthogs, seven hippos, a lion, a leopard, eight hyenas, five giraffes and 4,171 impalas.” The killing of these innocent animals is a travesty that must be stopped. Sign below to demand that wildlife hunts be forbidden on national reserves and in Kruger National Park.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear CEO Nobunga,

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency must stop allowing wildlife to be hunted on lands that should be meant for conservation. The tragic killing of a male lion, supposedly lured out of Kruger National Park by an alleged American trophy hunter and killed in Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, was not permitted by the 2018 APNR hunting quota for those lands and never should have been sanctioned by your agency. The existence of this quota is itself an unacceptable cruelty, and should be eliminated entirely.

The innocent wildlife allowed to be hunted on these reserves must be preserved, especially as their numbers continue to plummet. Conservationists, activists, and tourists alike are fighting to stop the killing of these animals. Your agency even received a Cease and Desist warning from the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading regarding the hunt of the male lion that you permitted to be killed. In addition to the cruelty of the unnecessary deaths of these animals, banning hunts would benefit the tourism industry, which relies on keeping these animals alive. I urge you to stop allowing wildlife to be hunted at Kruger National Park and the surrounding national private reserves.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Johan van der Merwe

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