Put an End to Food Waste in the United States

Target: Sonny Perdue, Secretary of United States Department of Agriculture

Goal: Assure that the USDA continues pledge to reduce food waste in the United States.

In the United States alone, over 70 billion pounds of food are wasted each year. Compared to Mexico, the US and Canada waste twice as much food per year. The U.S. wastes up to 40 percent of food that is produced in the country. A large portion of the food that is thrown away comes from us, the consumers. This food ends up in landfills and incinerators when it could be used to feed the hungry.

Although the USDA, EPA, and FDA have made a lot of progress since joining together to create the “Food Recovery Challenge,” it is not enough. The program needs to continue for the next 12 years, and we cannot allow the program to be cut. The Food Recovery Challenge was designed to stop 50 percent of food sent to landfills by 2030. The focus of this program is to produce less, feed the hungry, feed animals, use food for industrial uses, or as compost, and the last resort should be landfills and incineration. We need this Food Recovery Challenge in order to stop the waste of food in the United States. Demand that the USDA uphold its pledge.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Perdue,

The pledge that the United States Department of Agriculture made to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030 needs to be sustained. The initiative that the USDA has taken is extremely important, and the Food Recovery Challenge needs to continue in order to reduce food waste in the United States.

The United States wastes 70 billion pounds of food each year. This food could be used for feeding the hungry, feeding animals, industrial uses, or as compost. Programs such as the Food Recovery Challenge are essential in the process of reducing food waste and cannot be cut. Ensure the USDA continues this program, and food waste is cut 50 percent by 2030.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Susanne Kauz

Ban Dangerous Plastic Bags that Slaughter Marine Wildlife

Target: Thomas F. O’Mara, Chairman of the New York Senate Committee for Environmental Conservation

Goal: Ban plastic bags that are polluting the oceans and harming marine life.

April 22nd marked the 48th Earth Day, and this year’s festivities included a major call to action to end plastic pollution. Degraded plastic releases pollutants that threaten wildlife worldwide, especially in our oceans. Even non-degraded plastic bags and other material can create a dangerous hazard for animals that may ingest or become trapped in the material. Current estimates put the number of oceanic animals killed per year due to plastic pollution at around 100,000.

While increased education and awareness about this issue and about recycling can fuel future action, now our best tools for change rest within the legal framework. Currently, many countries and regions ban single-use plastic bags that cannot be reused. Americans go through 100 billion of these oil-based products per year and use each for an average of only twelve minutes. Those few minutes can create a lifetime of long-term damage. Consider if just one major US state could put a dent in this danger and set an example for the rest of the country.

Currently, New York leadership is considering just such a step. Sign this petition and encourage one of the leading US states to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags for the future of our water sources and the living beings who rely on these sources.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator O’Mara,

“A devastating toll on our streets, our water, and our natural resources…”

These are the powerful and true words Governor Cuomo used to highlight the tremendous impact plastic pollution has on our environment. The New York State Plastic Bags Task Force provided concrete form to Governor Cuomo’s grave assertions. Every lake, stream, and ocean provides irrefutable anecdotal evidence of this danger, from turtles with plastic traces found in their carcasses to fish trapped in discarded trash. The negative cycle of plastic pollution will inevitably pose a public health danger as well.

We urge you to join cities and states around the world by approving the bill that would ban deadly single-use plastic bags. Honor your governor’s vow to protect our environment and all of its inhabitants.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Derek Keats

Protect the Ocean: Ban Plastic Straws

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Ban plastic straws to reduce plastic waste in our oceans.

Aquatic life is dying all over the world due to our consumption and improper disposal of plastic consumption. Plastic is ending up in every ocean in all corners of the world, and sea life is slowly declining due to plastic ingestion. Several countries have already taken measures to reduce plastic waste, including Sweden and Britain, who recently banned plastic straws and are already seeing a reduction in plastic waste recovered off their coastlines.

If the United States adopted a similar policy, it would have a huge impact on the overall amount of plastic in our oceans, considering the US is a leader in plastic waste. We need to take every measure possible to reduce plastic waste before we end up with any more beached whales full of plastic. Tell EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to stand up for the planet and sign a ban on plastic straws.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

Your position in the EPA is the most crucial role we have on the front lines of environmental justice. Your influence reaches across all borders and far beyond the land mass we occupy. You have a duty to protect the Earth through any environmental policy you enact. The people have said enough is enough; we demand a ban on plastic straws.

If you were to create a simple ban outlawing the use of plastic straws, our plastic waste would be significantly reduced. There are direct effects we’re seeing across the world when a country bans plastic waste, and the US should step up to the plate next. Stand with us in banning a harmful pollutant.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Karen2754

Stop Poisoning Our Water With Pharmaceuticals

Target: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 

Goal: Protect imperiled animal species from deadly water pollution caused by pharmaceutical companies.

Trace amounts of prescriptions, including everything from narcotics like Hydrocodone to mood stabilizers and antibiotics, have been detected by increasingly sophisticated water testing techniques in the public drinking supplies of over 24 U.S. states since 2011. The potential for this to endanger humans has been indicated by the noticeable effect on wildlife, such as the vulture population in several cities in India being rendered nearly extinct as a result of local drug contamination. The federal government has refused thus far to address this issue or take measures to establish safety laws and regulations on pharmaceutical companies to work toward creating more eco-friendly means of administering their medications. This has to change.

By raising a public outcry about the dangers to our water supply, we can prompt action to eliminate pollution from pharmaceuticals. Take action by signing the petition below.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator McConnell,

Pharmaceutical pollution is causing proven and significant damage to both wildlife and public health in several communities, ranging from the Indian white-rumped vulture population being nearly wiped out due to an excess of the drug Diclofenac poisoning their drinking water supply, to synthetic Oestregen traces in wastewater emissions wiping out nearly the entire population of Toronto’s fathead minnows as a result of altered gene expression. Endocrine disruptors found in hormone supplements have resulted in the Potomac river’s population of male bass to begin producing eggs, and the effects of such contamination on humans have never been researched or determined.

Short-term solutions include funding for more prolific medication take-back programs, particularly throughout rural areas in which patients may be more inclined to flush their unwanted medications as opposed to traveling long distances to dispose of them properly, or even establishing a mobile service intended to collect “waste drugs” and dispose of them in environmentally sound ways to avoid wastewater and drinking water contamination. These are, however, only a scratch upon the surface of the problem.

The federal government has refused to acknowledge or take steps toward establishing regulations necessary to prevent the extinction of any one of the many species directly threatened by trace medication pollution in water supplies throughout the U.S. and globally. Research must be funded and conducted to determine the most effective means of regulating and eradicating drug pollution in public waters, as the more the pharmaceutical industry develops and produces stronger and more effective medications, the worse the effects of water pollution will become. The first step is addressing the issue, and we urge you to start there.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Michal Jarmoluk

Don’t Increase Pollution From Cars and Trucks

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Don’t allow car companies to increase climate change and air pollution.

Trump’s EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, wants to roll back car and truck efficiency standards that were created by the Obama administration to reduce pollution and climate-warming carbon emissions. Vehicular tailpipe emissions contribute significantly to the degradation of local air quality as well as to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Several states, including California, have already declared their intentions to maintain the stricter standards in the face of the federal rollback, which would cleave the automobile industry market in two, causing conflict in industry standards as well as potential economic impacts to consumers.

Carbon pollution from transportation are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and also imperil public health by releasing pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and others. Greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles contribute directly to manmade climate change while other air pollutants, in addition to acting as secondary contributors to greenhouse gases, are a risk to public health. The previous progress made to curb these emissions will not only be nullified, but reversed, continuing on the path to worsening impacts from climate change.

The proposed change in vehicle emissions standards is simply a political move to setback the progress set into motion by the previous administration, and represents a detriment to the environment and a potential economic burden on consumers. Please, take a stand by notifying your government that we will not tolerate this assault on our health and the environment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump:

The EPA’s proposed reversal of automobile emissions standards set in place by the Obama administration will degrade local air quality and increase greenhouse gas emissions. Whether or not you believe in human-made climate change, these tailpipe emissions can cause issues for human health and the environment, and many states have already declared intentions to support and uphold stricter standards.

Transportation is one of the leading contributors to air pollution and reversal of the stricter standards could cause significant negative impacts to the environment, as well as to public health. On top of that, the constant changing of tailpipe emissions standards will create an economic burden on manufacturers that will most certainly be passed along to consumers, your constituents.

Don’t allow auto companies and the oil industry to take us backwards. Prevent this reversal of emissions standards that could negatively impact consumers and their environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Salvatore Arnone

Do Not Make Longtime Environmental Opponent Secretary of State

Target: Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader

Goal: Do not appoint a nominee who fights environmental causes to one of the nation’s highest government offices.

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo has faced scrutiny over his position on some human rights issues, but Congress has paid minimal attention to the former CIA director’s threat to environmental efforts. Pompeo’s hardline views on climate change and his cozy relationship with corporate environmental abusers distinguishes him as a looming danger that could prove even more destructive than the former big oil executive whom he will replace.

Pompeo stands accused of playing a prominent role in influencing President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, one of many efforts at climate diplomacy that the Secretary of State nominee has advocated against. Pompeo also stands as an alleged avid spreader of lies about climate change and a staunch advocate for big oil interests. If confirmed, he will likely push for Arctic drilling: a measure that would further devastate an already vulnerable, key portion of the world.

With enough votes, Pompeo’s nomination could be blocked, potentially averting more catastrophic environmental policies. While some senators have already pledged to veto the current nomination, stronger guidance and leadership can secure the necessary ‘no’ votes needed. Sign this petition and compel Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to take a stand for the environment and against a man who could unleash a fresh wave of environmental and subsequent human rights crises upon the world.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Schumer,

The United States has remained one of the world’s most prominent players in environmentalism, for good and ill. Anecdotal evidence tells us by the day what scientists have long warned: human-induced global trends in climate change pillage not only our environment, but also communities worldwide impacted by subsequent drought, mass migration, natural disasters, public health crises, and so much more.

Some of your colleagues have vowed to say no to a man who will likely propagate these dangerous trends: Mike Pompeo. Distressingly little attention has been given in the confirmation hearings to Pompeo’s questionable-at-best, deeply concerning record on environmental issues. From attacks on the Paris Climate Accord and other environmentally friendly initiatives to wholesale cheerleading for destructive drilling and similar actions that value corporate interests over global protection, Pompeo is poised to be one of environmental welfare’s strongest foes.

Please weigh the pros and the cons of confirming Pompeo and ask yourself if a ‘yes’ vote will be a long-lasting ‘no’ to the future of the world we all call home.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Demand Facebook Stop the Sale of Illegal Animal Parts

Target: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Goal: Urge Facebook to remove content featuring illegal animal parts on group pages.

Cruel poachers have allegedly been given an international platform to sell their the fur, horns, and ivory of endangered animals. Facebook has been accused of displaying ads for well-known corporations on group pages run by notorious ivory and rhino horn traffickers from around the world. Advocates for wildlife conservation have complained that the company’s failure to crack down on this illicit trade is turning the social media platform into a online marketplace for poachers. Facebook has a responsibility to put an end to this illegal behavior.

Undercover investigators claim in their complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the ads run were featured on the same pages that illegal ivory, tiger teeth, and other parts from endangered species were being openly marketed. Gretchen Peters, executive director of the Center for Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime, says, “I have looked at thousands of posts containing ivory, and I am convinced that Facebook is literally facilitating the extinction of the elephant species.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has yet to comment on these serious allegations as the company deals with its latest scandal involving an alleged breach of private user data.

As one of 20 tech companies that recently signed on to the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, Facebook must honor its agreement and ban this illegal content. Sign this petition to demand that the company act immediately to remove these ads and help officials punish those responsible for running them.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Facebook has recently come under fire for a number of reasons. Among these is the fact that undercover investigators have allegedly discovered scores of internationally banned wildlife products for sale in private and public groups on your site. Users have reported seeing endangered Bengal tiger pelts, rhino horns, and elephant ivory advertised for sale on what appears to be an online black market on your site.

It is time that Facebook stop giving these illegal traffickers a platform where they can initiate their sales. You must remove this content immediately and assist in all efforts to track down and severely punish those responsible for advertising animal parts from endangered animals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Facebook

Remove Anti-Animal Rights Politician from Job in “Wildlife Protection”

Target: Ryan Zinke, United States Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Remove avid anti-animal rights figure from a position that would give her complete control over the fate of our nation’s endangered species.

A woman who has spent most of her political career fighting against the protection of endangered species has been promoted to a leading role in the United States Department of the Interior. Despite her stance against endangered animals, Susan Combs will help oversee federal wildlife policy.

No endangered species will be safe under Combs’s rule. She has referred to endangered species lists as “incoming scud missiles.” These words and other harmful political stances have prevented Combs from receiving official Senate confirmation. However, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has found a loophole by awarding Combs an acting role in the interim.

Susan Combs will not protect natural landscapes of the United States. She will destroy them. Sign the petition to demand that she be removed from her position immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Susan Combs, a woman who has spent her entire political career fighting against endangered species, is now in charge of their “well being.” She has been given this duty despite Senate opposition.

Combs will not serve the American people’s interests. She will not do her duty to protect the United States and its natural landscapes. I demand she be removed from her position in the Department of the Interior immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management

Trump, Tell Unethical EPA Chief ‘You’re Fired!’

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Remove the EPA administrator for ethics violations.

Seemingly every day, more details emerge about the egregious ethics violations committed by EPA head Scott Pruitt. With this continuous stream of allegations, more demands for Pruitt’s resignation or firing emerge as well. Recently, over 60 members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump calling for the embattled EPA chief’s resignation.

Most of the allegations swirl around gross financial abuse of organizational funds, including millions of dollars in extravagant travel expenses, office furniture worth more than the annual salary of the average American worker, use of emergency vehicles as ‘escorts’ to a  lavish restaurant, and a security detail that far eclipses security for the president himself.

Even more troubling , however, are the actions that have a direct impact on the future of a vital American agency. In line with the unprecedented number of lobbyists now circling the EPA, Pruitt rented a luxury room from a well-known lobbyist in the energy industry that falls under EPA regulation. When concerned EPA employees exposed these abuses, they were punished with demotion.

While other EPA employees categorize Pruitt’s tenure as a “low point,” President Trump continues a wholehearted defense of his foot soldier in unprecedented assaults on environmentalism. Sign this petition to hold the president to his campaign promise of “draining the swamp.”

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

‘Drain the swamp.’

This was one of your most consistent and passionate rally cries. With your continued defense of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, you have broken this pledge.

Will you stand in support of someone who views office furniture as more valuable than a year’s worth of work from the average American? Will you pat the back of an individual who believes he is entitled to travel, accommodations, and security rivaling that of the president? Will you pledge your allegiance to a ‘swamp creature’ who uses his influence and taxpayer dollars to advance his own interests, or will you pledge allegiance to the United States of America and the individuals who elected you to be ‘their’ champion?

The choice is clear. Back Pruitt, or back the people.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Demand Michigan Reject Nestle’s Exploitative Water Program

Target: Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan

Goal: Demand that Michigan reject the proposed water extraction program by Nestle.

Nestle has plans to build a water extraction plant in Michigan, and when the public was questioned for approval, over 80,000 negative comments came in. The plant was still approved by the state legislature to begin construction later this year. There were less than 100 total approvals of the plant submitted through public comment, so why is Michigan still moving forward with the plant?

Nestle is a corporation known for destroying whatever environment it touches. Counties and states from all over the country have previously rejected Nestle’s plan for bottling plants, leaving them to search for whoever will say yes. Unfortunately for the people of Michigan, who are still recovering from the water crisis, Michigan said yes. Stand with us and sign the petition below demanding Michigan reject this plant before it’s too late.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Snyder,

Michigan has been through enough in the last few years in regards to water quality. The state finally ended its free water bottle program and declared the water in Flint safe to drink again. These are landmark actions of progress that show the state is moving forward.

So, why are you so content on poisoning the water again? Nestle is known for polluting the environment it drills into, and Michigan is already a sensitive environment. There’s no good reason to destroy a landscape that is currently recovering from previous damage. We demand you stand on the right side of history and reject Nestle’s proposal. The people of Michigan have spoken, and it’s time to listen.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alan Murray-Rust