Tell FEMA to Stop Ignoring Climate Change

Target: William B. “Brock” Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Goal: Acknowledge the reality of climate change and include it in FEMA’s strategic plan for the next four years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the U.S. government’s first responder to natural disasters, and it has dropped all references to climate change from its latest strategic planning document, which will guide its actions for the next four years. Administrator Brock Long, the head of FEMA and the person who signed off on this Strategic Plan, was appointed to this office by President Trump. He has been publicly evasive about humanity’s role in climate change, and even about its very existence, stating, “The term climate change has become such a political hot button that, I think, it keeps us from having a real dialogue.”

FEMA’s Strategic Plan refers to “rising natural hazard risk,” and “pre-disaster mitigation,” but does not address any conditions causing those risks, and completely avoids using the terms “climate change” or “global warming.” In the Emerging Threats section of the document, terrorism and cybersecurity are mentioned, while weather events, rising sea levels, and anything related to the possible impact of the earth’s escalating temperatures are all conspicuously and thoroughly absent. Climate change poses threats to life around the globe, and it is therefore extremely dangerous to the world at large for America’s emergency management system to ignore it completely. Sign below to demand that FEMA include climate change and fully address its risks in the strategic planning document.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Long,

As leader of FEMA, it is your responsibility to ensure that our country is prepared to deal with emergencies it may face as effectively and efficiently as possible. There is absolutely no way to do this if one of the largest threats to our country and to the planet—climate change and the risks associated with it—is not even mentioned in FEMA’s strategic planning document.

Natural disasters, rising sea levels, and increases in the surface temperature of the earth are extreme dangers to our planet, its wildlife, and the whole of humanity. Yet FEMA’s Strategic Plan mentions none of these things in its Emerging Threats section, and skirts around the conditions behind the “rising natural hazard risk” we face. This is irresponsible and unacceptable, and must be remedied. I urge you to ensure that climate change and all its associated threats are thoroughly addressed in FEMA’s Strategic Plan for the next four years.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tumisu

Support Shoe Company’s Unconventional Role as Environmental Champion

Target: David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas

Goal: Back companies driven by missions of environmental sustainability and eco-friendly policies.

In response to the bold actions of some manufacturers in the wake of the Parkland massacre, a new tool for advocacy and reform has gained prominence: the ‘buycott.’ Rather than refusing to support certain businesses, as happens in a boycott, the buycott is designed to reward those organizations that step up to aid a popular cause. This approach reflects the increasing power of the consumer. For individuals advocating environmental and related animal welfare causes, a German shoe company has emerged as an unlikely but strong ally.

Birkenstock, a maker of comfort-based footwear, recently received an award from PETA’s youth branch for its strong advocacy of veganism. The company’s contributions to such causes—now spanning over five decades—are ingrained in its very production processes. Sustainability remains a key goal , with environmentally friendly materials such as water-soluble adhesives and natural cork safely taken from trees embedded in the makeup of Birkenstock’s popular sandals. These materials also make the shoes easily reusable at the point when many other types of footwear would have been discarded and relegated to waste piles. In addition to its products, Birkenstock likewise emphasizes environmental awareness in its packaging and even in its store designs. Carbon emission and consumed energy reduction are consistent priorities in these processes and in the planning of future campaigns.

Consumers can affect change by empowering organizations that share their values while sending a strong message to those who only value the bottom financial line. Sign this petition to support Birkenstock and other business leaders willing to support our environment and all its precious resources.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kahan,

Social responsibility and sustainability are prominently featured on your website. You consistently demonstrate these commitments in actions as well as words. Congratulations on the Libby Award given you by PETA’s youngest members. While your commitment to veganism is admirable, you provide an even more far-reaching benefit to all of this planet’s living beings through your dedication to environmentally sound processes and initiatives.

Every day, you are demonstrating how a company can succeed without sacrificing quality, comfort, or, most importantly, integrity. In a world where our environment is increasingly under assault, it is heartening to see progressive entrepreneurs who recognize the value of our world’s natural resources.

Please continue your eco-friendly approach and know that consumers who care stand behind you every step of the way.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Osakabe Yasuo

Denounce Dog Cloning

Target: Kitty Block, Acting CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

Goal: Protect worker dogs and shelter dogs by helping to stop dog cloning.

Dog cloning is made possible by worker dogs who donate eggs and carry a litter. Those who have money and those who never want to say goodbye to their pet spend more than $50,000 to replicate their dog. The process includes a group of female dogs donating their eggs and acting as surrogate mothers. While surrogacy might be common among humans, dogs have no say when they are used for cloning purposes. They are subject to medical procedures for which they don’t sign waivers or consent forms. 

In addition to exploiting female dogs, cloning hurts countless other dogs that could be rehomed if only these canine lovers adopted instead of replicating their dogs. Instead of letting dogs move on, people who replicate their dogs choose to never say goodbye because they are privileged. In this way, they see dogs as tokens and things to be kept and collected, not as beings that should be valued for their individuality.

Instead of cloning dogs, pet owners can seek bereavement counseling and pet loss care. Cloning a dog will not replace the original pet; cloning a dog condemns animals to serve as a means to an end and condemns shelter dogs to be put to rest. Sign the petition below to urge The Humane Society of the United States to stop dog cloning and prove that it does indeed care for all animals’ welfare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Block,

Pet owners condemn many animals to medical procedures when it comes to dog cloning. Involved female dogs are harvested for their eggs and serve as surrogates for pet owners who do not want to say goodbye to their dogs. Many spend more than $50,000 when they can just respect the pet’s passing or adopt a shelter dog and possibly save a life.

We should not treat dogs as things to be kept and collected, but as beings that should be valued and respected. This statement applies to working female dogs and to dogs that pass away. Instead of dog cloning, pet owners can seek pet loss counseling and look into adopting from a shelter. As CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, you have the clout to speak out against dog cloning and endorse adopting from shelters. We cannot claim to value dogs when we subject many of them to medical procedures and treat the ones that pass away as collectibles that should be preserved. I hope that you help stop this practice and ensure that all canines are protected.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David, Flickr

Save Rapidly Disappearing Whales from Extinction

Target: Angela Somma, Division Chief of the NOAA Office of Protected Resources, Endangered Species Conservation Division

Goal: Protect future generations of a critically endangered whale.

Amazing sea creatures that inspired awesome tales once roamed freely and plentifully in the North Atlantic Ocean. Now these awe-inspiring beings stand at a worldwide level of 450. The right whale, a long-time victim of unrestrained human practices, is on the brink of extinction.

In late February, researchers offered a status update on these vulnerable animals and the results were not promising. Whale sightings off the coast of Georgia and Florida—frequent winter destinations for right whales—remain extremely sparse. More disheartening still, no young calves have been found in the vicinity. The prospects for this population renewing its ranks grow murkier by the day.

The right whale is a sight to behold, spanning up to sixty feet and weighing upwards of 300,000 pounds. Their striking nature unfortunately made them vulnerable to whalers, who craved these animals for their benevolence, their near-to-the-coast swimming patterns, and their high blubber content. While the danger from these hunters abated after the right whale received endangered species protections, trends in global warming have disturbed these animals’ migration patterns and endangered the homes they rely upon for safety and sustenance. Addressing the dangers of global warming remains a work in progress, but the dangers imposed on right whales from other careless human activity can be more immediately rectified.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and other officials have been proactive in developing guidelines that helped significantly reduce two major dangers to right whales: ship strikes and fishing net entanglements. Critical calving and breeding grounds, however, have not received the needed level of protection. For example, a little over six years ago. the US Navy was granted permission to build an underwater training structure within short distance of one key whale calving area. Since then, a few calving areas have been given critical habitat designation, which helps protect them from some, but not all, human intrusion.

Sight this petition to urge the NOAA to be even more proactive in taking the necessary measures to save one of the world’s great living beings.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Somma,

Efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale have proven successful. The 2006 Strategy to Reduce Ship Strikes , the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction plan, and breeding ground revitalization efforts all address critical facets in ensuring this species’ continued survival.

We fear, however, that at a time when these animals’ well-being stands at its most precarious tipping point, you have scaled back your protective efforts. The latest reports from researchers indicate the already-sparse right whale population of 450 continues to shrink by the day. New members of this species are nowhere to be found. Rulings such as a 2012 decision to enable naval under-seas training near a calving ground constitute significant steps backward and an affront to conservation efforts.

Habitat loss, net entanglements, overhunting, and ship strikes have stood as some of the driving forces behind these animals becoming endangered. You have addressed several of these dangerous factors but others still need more work. Broadening your critical habitat designations (particularly relating to calving grounds) and leaving no room for loopholes and exceptions to these designations could become the most vital step yet.

Please recommit your resources and your best minds to saving some of the world’s most magnificent creatures from a tragic fate.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Catanzarit

Demand Protection Against Rising Sea Levels

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Prevent widespread damage from flooding caused by climate change.

Rising sea levels are now an immediate threat to coastal cities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, recently reported that rising sea levels are creating conditions for high-tide floods to occur on a far more regular basis than before. Major coastal cities like Miami and San Francisco are already experiencing more flood days than usual. The reports show that within 100 years major coastal cities will be flooding daily, with San Francisco sinking into the earth with every passing day.

Currently, some cities are adopting measures to prepare for the inevitable and reduce damage wherever possible. The extent of the damage is entirely dependent on how cities react, so it’s absolutely urgent that they begin enacting legislation to protect coastal towns now. Sign the petition below to demand the EPA get the ball rolling on tangible solutions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

No community should have to worry about extreme flooding of their homes. Yet, people in major cities like New York, Norfolk, San Francisco, Miami, and more are at severe risk of losing their homes due to climate change-related sea level rises.

The one thing you can do is enact policies that require coastal cities to create a budget for dealing with sea level rises. Several cities already started without you, so get on the right side of history with this issue. I demand you enact a policy of this sort; it’s the least you can do.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann

Trump: Reinstate Trophy Ban on Elephant Parts

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Reinstate ban on elephant part imports that promote trophy hunting.

President Trump has repealed a ban on the import of legally hunted elephant remains, or “trophies,” from Zimbabwe and Zambia that was put in place while President Obama was in office. This is the second time this year that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has brought up the idea of easing trophy import restrictions. The first time, Trump criticized trophy hunting, calling it a “horror show.” This time, however, his actions speak louder than words.

In November 2017, when discussions on lifting the elephant part import ban first came up, public outrage ensued. Conservationists as well as celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Leonardo DiCaprio spoke out about opposing the lift of the ban. In response to the outrage, President Trump announced that he would “review all conservation facts” before making any decision. He went on to say that he would be “very hard-pressed” to lift the ban and that, in his opinion, big game hunting doesn’t help the “conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

Despite the remarks that President Trump made in November, an official FWS memo dated March 1, 2018 states that imported trophies will now be considered “on a case-by-case basis” as opposed to banning the trophies outright. The agency has rationalized the decision by assuming that big game hunters will assist in conservation efforts in an attempt to be able to continue their cruel leisure activity. Conservationist groups like the Humane Society and Save the Elephants have stated continuously that trophy hunting is never beneficial for the animals being hunted and is especially worrisome for the elephant populations in the countries that the ban was protecting: Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sign this petition to urge President Trump to reinstate the ban on all elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

In January of 2018, Piers Morgan interviewed you. You stated that you “[didn’t] want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this [country].” You have also referred to big game hunting as a “horror show.” These public remarks contradict the actions taken by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under your command to lift the Obama-era ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Big game hunting needs to be stopped not only in order to save animals that are endangered or part of a declining population, but also because the practice itself is cruel towards other living things. I urge you to stop considering any big game hunting appropriate, even on a case-by-case basis, and reinstate the ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Charles-J-Sharp

Stop Cruel Plan to Slaughter Pigs Faster

Target: Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Goal: Stop proposal that would lead to more painful deaths for slaughtered pigs.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System would remove speed limits at pig slaughterhouses. This means slaughterhouses can increase production even more, totaling up to 1,300 pigs or more per hour, an increase from the average 1,100 every hour today. This is problematic for animal and workers’ welfare.

Workers might resort to excess force using electric prods when moving animals down the line. Furthermore, pigs might not be stunned efficiently, meaning they could become conscious during the killing process. Workers might handle the animals more roughly because they are being pressured to work more in order to kill more pigs in a day. This proposal mirrors the National Chicken Council’s petition to speed up poultry slaughter, which was rejected by the USDA.

Slaughtering pigs is already an inhumane act, and this new proposal to remove speed slaughter limits would impose even harsher conditions for animals. Sign the petition below to urge the USDA to stop the proposal and consider animal welfare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ramaswamy,

As the Director of the National Institude of Food and Agriculture, you have a responsibility to help solve challenges regarding food and agriculture. Recently, the USDA announced a New Swine Slaughter Inspection System, which would remove the speed limit of killing pigs in slaughterhouses. This would mean an increase from 1,100 pigs to 1,300 pigs per hour. This might also mean pigs are not stunned properly, resulting in pigs gaining consciousness during slaughter. Workers might feel the need to use excessive force through electric prods and rough handling to speed up slaughter and meet daily goals.

There is no need for a greater production from slaughterhouses. Already, they produce over 120 million pigs per year to feed the meat industry. We should be taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint through less meat consumption and looking into plant-based alternatives. Faster slaughter speeds will not only overwork slaughterhouse employees, they will jeopardize animal welfare. USDA has already rejected the National Chicken Council’s proposal to speed up poultry slaughter, and I hope USDA does the same for pigs. It would be hypocritical and unjust for you to pass a proposal similar to one that was rejected. I hope that you speak out against this new proposal and help protect animal welfare.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PxHere

Stop Purging Climate Change Information From EPA Website

Target: Harvey Simon, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Information

Goal: Reinstate climate change information for local governments to the EPA website.

“To reflect the approach of new leadership.” When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently defended the decision to remove anti-discrimination language from HUD’s mission statement, his words echoed an equally controversial defense from EPA chief Scott Pruitt. In mid-2017, the agency began quietly removing any references to human-induced climate change from its website. They more recently compounded this highly questionable maneuver by ‘archiving’ subpages and links intended to help local governments prepare for the effects of global warming. The climate change deniers who now run the EPA are denying the public essential facts and information.

In the April 2017 purge, specific sections devoted to climate change topics were taken down, replaced with indefinite messages about website ‘updates.’  Now, countless pages of scientific studies and factual information have been relegated to the EPA archives. An assistant to Pruitt argued for this purge and touted how the EPA wanted to strengthen its partnerships with local agencies, yet just a few short months later vital sources of information and aid were stripped away from these local partners. The most recent omissions include state strategies for emissions control and extreme weather response. In addition, at least 15 references to climate change on the former Climate and Energy Resources(now simply Energy Resources) page were removed.

Suppressing information is a favorite tactic of current officials, if the alleged Centers for Disease Control list of forbidden words –among these “science-based”—is any indication. Recently released documents show that the Trump administration targeted the EPA website as early as its first week in office. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt personally oversaw all material removed from the website, with special focus on Clean Power Plan goals and a climate change page for children with upwards of one million views monthly.

Do not let the EPA strike another blow through its dangerous denial of the environment’s greatest adversary. Demand the EPA website and, more importantly, the agency itself acknowledge the reality of climate change today.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Simon,

Your website has become a repository of updates and archives. This has allegedly been done to “reflect the priorities of the current administration.” Do not forget that your number one and guiding priority—your allegiance—is found in the very name of your agency: environmental protection.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do….I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Nearly every reputable scientist in the world would disagree with Administrator Pruitt on this point. The final outcome, however, is not for the Administrator or for any scientist to decide.

The EPA website was designed as a means of connecting the public to this organization. Each individual can draw his or her own conclusion, but this conclusion must come from a well-informed, objective place. Scrubbing evidence that does not fit with one’s personal agenda is doing a disservice to the EPA website’s mission and to the people it serves. More so, failing to connect your local partners with vital information sources that will better equip them to address climate change impacts on their communities is a serious dereliction of duty.

Do the right thing and restore these important aids as well as all climate change information to your website today. Give the people the facts, not “priorities.”

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kentee Gardin

Protect the Pacific Walrus Under the Endangered Species Act

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Do not deny the Pacific walrus endangered species protections.

The Pacific walrus is in increasing danger of losing its habitat, but is being denied protections under the law. Arctic sea ice coverage is at a record low, and the walrus relies on this ice to survive. In spite of this, the Trump Administration reversed the 2011 decision to protect the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act, and is now being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity.

As an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity states, “The Trump Administration’s outrageous reversal is a deathblow for the Pacific walrus.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found the walrus worthy of protection in 2011. Center officials concluded, based on evidence of climate change causing the dramatic disappearance of sea ice and a subsequent decline in the Pacific walrus population, that the species could face extinction in the foreseeable future. Listing these walruses as endangered would help protect their habitat, which is especially vital as the Trump Administration is also proposing to allow offshore drilling for oil and gas in the seas where the Pacific walrus lives. Sign below to demand that plans to put the Pacific walrus on the Endangered Species list be reinstated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

Over six years ago it was determined that the Pacific walrus was worthy of being included on the Endangered Species list due to the rapid disappearance of its habitat. Since then, threats have only worsened for the Pacific walrus. The sea ice that it relies on to survive is at a record low. Yet, under your administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completely reversed its position and denied protection to these animals.

Currently, your administration faces a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, which seeks to protect and preserve these innocent creatures. As an attorney with the Center said in a statement, “The Trump Administration’s outrageous reversal is a deathblow for the Pacific walrus. Arctic ice is disappearing at a record rate, and walruses are suffering catastrophic habitat loss. Rather than ignoring the science, the administration needs to give these magnificent creatures the protection they desperately need to survive which they legally deserve.” I urge you to heed her words, and to ensure that the Pacific walrus is granted protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Joel Garlich Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Trump Tricked Us – Oppose His Quiet Plan to Allow Trophy Hunting

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Do not make the U.S. complicit in the brutal killing of elephants for profit by allowing elephant trophies to be imported.

Without publicizing it, the Trump administration has decided to lift a ban on importing elephant trophies, permitting these cruelly sport-hunted items from certain African countries into the U.S. “on a case-by-case basis.” This move comes mere months after — amidst widespread uproar — Trump announced that he would pause the rollback of this important ban, tweeting that he “will be very hard pressed to change [his] mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

In the past Trump stated, “I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this [country].” He also expressed skepticism about the idea that hunting promotes conservation efforts — a skepticism shared by activists and conservationists, who say that it is unlikely that fees paid by big game hunters truly make it to the wildlife agencies they are meant to support. The quiet decision to lift this ban will be hugely damaging to elephant conservation efforts. Sign below to demand that the ban on importing elephant trophies remains in place.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

The rollback of the ban on importing elephant trophies is unacceptable and dangerous. It not only encourages the brutal killing of innocent and endangered elephants for profit, it also makes the U.S. complicit in that brutality. Additionally, conservation activists are doubtful that big game hunting fees actually benefit conservation and make it to the organizations they are intended to.

You expressed similar skepticism yourself, and have publicly stated your opposition to lifting the ban. You said that you “didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back,” and that you would be “very hard pressed to change [your] mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal.” I urge you to stand by those statements. Please help save innocent and endangered elephants, and do not allow the ban on the importation of elephant trophies to be lifted.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]