Don’t Put a Price on the Lives of Endangered Species

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

Goal: Don’t put a price on the protection of endangered species.

Endangered species not deemed “economical” may soon be left for dead. The Trump Administration is proposing changes to the federal Endangered Species Act that would decide the fate of a species based on monetary factors, not scientific ones.

These changes came about after complaints from the logging, mining, and farming industries who argued the Endangered Species Act was making it hard to profitably continue business. This will put gray wolves, whales, and even the bald eagle, our national bird, at risk.

While proponents of these changes say they will give a boost to the economy, what they fail to realize is endangered species actually add economic value to our country by improving land, air, and water quality. Meanwhile, a price can never be placed on the value of living things. Sign the petition to demand that the Trump Administration abandon these plans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Sheehan,

Endangered species may soon be left for dead if they’re not considered “valuable.” Logging, mining, and farming industries feel burdened by “limitations” of the Endangered Species Act and ask that they be lightened to allow for industry to profit.

However, whatever gains are made in industry will quickly be eliminated by the irreparable damage to our land, water, and air. A price cannot be placed on the future of living beings. I demand that you abandon these plans to alter the Endangered Species Act.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFW

Phase Out Non-Recyclable Plastics

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

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

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Wheeler,

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

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

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hans Braxmeier

Trump: Do Not Lift Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Stop the Trump administration from lifting ban on pesticides linked to the declining bee population.

An Obama-era ban on pesticides has been lifted by the Trump administration, endangering the already at-risk bee population even further. Neonicotinoid pesticides, which are banned in the United Kingdom, were once outlawed in the United States as well, but are now being allowed “to ensure adequate forage for migratory birds” such as ducks and geese. The move also aids farming practices via the use of GMOs consistently found in neonicotinoids.

This move could wipe out the bee population for good if not stopped immediately, leading to the breakdown of the ecosystem. Bees are pollinators, responsible for spreading seeds across the land and aiding in the growth of plants and trees worldwide; without them, flora growth will suffer a harsh loss. Worse, the use of these lethal pesticides and crops modified to contain them will negatively effect human consumption of foods such as corn and soybeans, which are among the most genetically modified plants on earth.

We cannot allow the complete destruction of all bee life in the United States. Sign this petition to demand the Trump administration replace the ban on neonicotinoids immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. President,

Your administration’s rollback of the neonicotinoid ban is dangerous and unethical. These pesticides are toxic to all living beings, but especially to the already endangered bee population. Bees are highly important to the ecosystem due to their roles as pollinators; without them, we will suffer a great loss of important trees and flora.

The excuse that hunters and farmers need these toxic chemicals is unacceptable. Not only is excessive hunting of wildfowl illegal in the United States, but the farming industry does not need a boost the way wildlife does. You cannot put the entire planet’s bees at risk to help hunters and farmers make a larger profit. Put the neonicotinoids ban back in place immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Marciej-A Czyzewski

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

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 Trump’s Attack on Clean Air

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States of America

Goal: Don’t allow the Trump administration to roll back rules that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

The Trump administration appears to be hard at work on dismantling regulations nationwide aimed at curbing greenhouse gases and ensuring Americans have clean and breathable air. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce a plan that will prevent California from enforcing its own vehicle emissions laws that have helped cut harmful smog significantly statewide, as well as other rules intended to boost vehicle fuel efficiency.

This plan, if announced, could result in a dangerous increase in air pollution that has been linked to preventable health issues ranging from heart disease to premature births. Even car manufacturers oppose the idea of rolling back these changes, as it could hold up production on vehicles currently being made to meet the Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

Although many of Trump’s conservative supporters claim to support the idea of ‘state’s rights’, Trump’s attack on California’s clean air laws would greatly reduce this state’s ability to make and enforce its own environmental policies. This, combined with any other attempts to roll back fuel efficiency laws nationwide, could be disastrous for America’s efforts to curb air pollution and fight climate change. Sign this petition to oppose Trump’s plan to block states from enforcing their own climate laws and to roll back federal fuel efficiency standards.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

I am writing to express my opposition to any proposed plans that would limit the ability of states like California to make and enforce their own climate and air pollution laws, as well as any plans that would reverse federal fuel efficiency standards. Toxic carbon emissions from vehicles are harmful not just to the environment, but to human health as well.

It is unconscionable to take actions that will certainly expose millions of Americans to unhealthy air, which could result in increased rates for both heart disease and premature births. Environmental regulations on vehicle emissions, whether they are on a state or federal level, are necessary to protect the future health and stability of America. That is why I am urging you not to roll back any of these environmental protections or force states to abandon their own climate change initiatives.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Metro Library and Archive

Don’t Let the Endangered Species Act Die

Target: Rob Bishop, Chairman of House Committee on Natural Resources

Goal: Fight against measures that would remove protections for thousands of endangered animals.

July has marked a busy month for Republican lawmakers on the attack, but not on the issues that should matter. Rather, in the last few weeks, efforts have been advanced through Congress to slash funding to the tune of half a billion dollars for environmental and wildlife conservation efforts. In a related move, the gray wolf has moved one step closer to losing its federal protections. Yet this endangered animal may not be alone, as the Trump administration and Congressional allies’ latest attack strikes at the very heart of the only federal law that shields endangered species.

In a supposed maneuver to “balance the interests of all parties involved in and affected by species and habitat listings” – aka special interest groups –Republican representative Paul Gosar spearheaded a package of bills that would essentially nullify key portions of the Endangered Species Act. Oversight and regulations regarding species would move primarily to the states, and the 2,000-plus species that have benefited from federal protections since the act’s introduction would lose a critical shield in the process.

New rules would also strip many of the habitats occupied by endangered species of protection, giving agencies like the National Fish and Wildlife Service (agencies now filled with former lobbyists and corporate special interests) authority to roll back protections in the name of “economic impact.” Even a seemingly unrelated defense authorization bill contains, according to those with knowledge of the bill, several amendments that could harm wildlife and environmental conservation.

While similar efforts to weaken and ultimately defeat the Endangered Species Act have failed, with an administration and a majority Congress hostile to environmental values in full control of government, this popular act has arguably never faced greater peril.

Sign this petition to demand Congress stop sacrificing our vulnerable wildlife for profit and political gain.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Bishop,

What do the words threatened and endangered mean to you?

Do these words imply imminent danger and fear of harm or, in the worst cases, death? When we hear these words, we typically raise our defenses and seek protection from any potential dangers or threats. Yet in the latest of a long line of proposals aimed at gutting one of our most enduring laws, the aforementioned words have been stripped of their power…their warning.

If the set of more than a dozen bills targeting the Endangered Species Act come to fruition, animals—many numbering in the thousands if not hundreds—will face seemingly insurmountable difficulty in receiving the classification of threatened or endangered.  Therefore, they will likely lose much of the protections that come with these distinctions.

Further, the very scientists and professionals who know the plight of these animals better than anyone will see their voice ceded to corporate or other special interests. States that are ill-equipped and under-informed to make literal life-and-death decisions that could alter the fate of an entire species will have the strongest hand in making these decisions.

Worst of all, countless natural treasures, from the smallest beetles to the most magnificent wolves, may soon become just a faded picture in a science book. You may be thinking of short-term gain, but do you truly want the erosion and eradication of our natural world to be your legacy 100 years from now?

Protect the Endangered Species Act….protect our future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stop Needlessly Exterminating Native Wildlife

Target: Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Stop killing native species to protect lumber, farming and ranching interests.

Wildlife Services, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has a released a report that indicates 1.3 million native animals were killed by USDA officials in the last year alone. The data shows that over 23,000 beavers were slaughtered, along with thousands of birds from various species and over 1500 foxes. Hundreds of large predators, including wolves and mountain lions, were also targeted as well.

According to Wildlife Services’ Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHS), who ran the report, “[Wildlife Services] personnel recommend and conduct wildlife damage management activities to protect many types of resources.” Unsurprisingly, protecting agricultural resources has been seen as the top priority, especially when it comes to livestock or lucrative industries like timber.

There is no reason to slaughter native wildlife in mass numbers, especially when the threat they pose to livestock or other agricultural resources is so often overblown. The intense lobbying pressures from agriculture-related industries must not be allowed to continue to put these innocent creatures at risk. Sign the petition below and demand that these merciless killings be brought to an end.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been responsible for killing over 1.3 million native and non-invasive species in the last year alone. While conflict between humans and wildlife worldwide is a serious and growing problem, the vast majority of these creatures were proactively killed to protect various agricultural interests, ranging from timber to livestock, even when the evidence that these animals cause significant damage is minimal. More importantly, these native creatures are a vital part of the ecosystem, and killing them in such large numbers could have disastrous environmental effects.

We, the undersigned, demand that this onslaught on America’s many wild species be brought to an end. We cannot risk these animals becoming extinct simply for the convenience of the farming and ranching industries. Please take action now to change this destructive policy and end the killing of native wildlife to protect agricultural interests immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: National Park Service/Kent Miller