Success: Krill Fishing Companies to Back Antarctic Ocean Conservation

Target: Øyvind Eriksen, CEO of Aker ASA

Goal: Thank krill fishing company for supporting Antarctic conservation efforts.

Several krill fishing giants have agreed to halt their activities and support the creation of the world’s largest marine sanctuary. Among them is Aker ASA, a Norwegian company responsible for a large portion of the ocean’s krill shortage; several attempts have been made to convince them to stop their overfishing, including this one on ForceChange. The United Kingdom has also agreed to back this sanctuary, as well as Australia.

This decision is what ocean conservationists have been awaiting for months, after observing the decline in aquatic wildlife and seabirds who subsist on krill. Additionally, krill themselves are instrumental in reducing the carbon dioxide levels by feeding off of and excreting carbon-rich food on the surface of the waters. Not only will this much-needed sanctuary provide food and safety for the ocean’s wildlife, but it will play a small part in reducing the amount of toxic gases in the air.

The struggle of aquatic wildlife and seabirds will finally begin to end, thanks to the gradual increase in their food supply as well as the cleaner air provided by the krill’s feeding habits. Sign this petition to thank Aker ASA for their aid in creating this sanctuary.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Eriksen,

Thank you for joining several other krill fishing companies in supporting the creation of the Antarctica marine sanctuary. Thanks to your company’s agreement to halt krill fishing, even temporarily, aquatic mammals and seabirds will no longer suffer from a food shortage. Additionally, the krill’s own feeding habits will aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide in both the air and the water.

The ocean’s ecosystem is very delicate. Many species of aquatic mammals and seabirds are in danger due to various factors, with the loss of their food source being one of the worst struggles they have faced. Thanks to you and other krill fishing companies’ agreement to halt your actions, these creatures will have a chance to survive and repopulate. Your decision is a commendable one, and we are very grateful to you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: NOAA

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

Praise Chile for Nationwide Plastic Bag Ban

Target: Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile

Goal: Congratulate Chile on being the first nation in the Americas to institute a nationwide plastics ban, and ask that it encourage others to do the same.

Chile just became the first country in the Americas to institute a nationwide ban on plastic bags. Chile’s leadership is crucial in beginning a trend of similar legislation all over this part of the world.

Outspoken support of the plastic bag ban by the president resulted in a vote that was near unanimous in Chile’s Congress for passing the legislation, with wide public support as well. The ban was originally focused only on Patagonia, the southernmost tip of Chile, but was broadened to include the entire country. Within the next six months, all major retailers will no longer be allowed to use plastic bags. Smaller businesses will have two years to comply with the ban. Chile’s previous president had already banned the use of plastic bags in many coastal regions.

Plastics pollution, especially single-use plastics, plagues the ocean environment and marine life all over the world. Estimates by Sea Turtle Conservancy reveal that marine mammal deaths from plastics pollution total around 100 million per year. This nearly incomprehensible statistic is just one of the reasons for instituting plastic bag bans around the world, as has already been done by Bangladesh, Rwanda, Kenya, and other nations. Sign the petition to congratulate Chile on their nationwide plastic bag ban as an important step in protecting Chile’s coastline, as well as the ocean in general.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Piñera,

Your government’s ban on the use of plastic bags is monumental, both in its protection of the environmental and its importance in beginning this trend in the Americas. The ocean is of vital importance, as are its inhabitants. However, they are plagued by pollution all over the world.

Conservation organizations estimate marine mammal deaths in the millions per year due to plastic pollution, so eliminating Chile’s 3.4 billion plastic bags per year is commendable. I applaud your leadership in reducing the threat of plastics pollution to marine life and ecosystems. I hope you encourage your neighboring countries to do the same.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew Latham

Success: Humane Solution Found for Controlling Wild Horse Population

Target: The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Support the passing of a law banning the culling of Kosciuszko brumbies.

New South Wales has introduced a bill that will save thousands of wild horses if passed. The Kosciuszko brumbies in particular have been targeted by humans who find the animals a “disturbance” to the environment of the national parks despite scientific research proving otherwise. The proposed solution prior to the bill would have destroyed all but 600 of these horses.

There are always much more humane methods of controlling animal populations than simply killing them, and this bill would ensure the use of such methods. Simply relocating a portion of the population, or allowing for the expansion of their habitat, would be superior solutions. Petitions such as this one have circulated in defense of the brumbies, demanding their protection as well as pointing out the contradiction to the claims that the horses are damaging their environment.

The introduction of this bill is indeed a success, but it is only the first step. Sign this petition to ensure that this bill passes and becomes a law to protect these beautiful, intelligent creatures.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

A bill has been introduced to prevent the culling of thousands of wild horses in South Wales. Claims have been made that overpopulation of Kosciuszko brumbies is harmful to the environment, despite all evidence to the contrary; however, if the population must be controlled, there are far more humane methods, and this bill would legally require such methods to be used.

You must support this bill and ensure it passes. The introduction is a great step forward, but it is only the first step. Brumbies are beautiful and intelligent creatures deserving of protection and safety, and ensuring this bill becomes a law will grant it to them. Help us protect these horses from unnecessary deaths.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jimmyvandewall

Congratulate Minneapolis on Choosing 100% Clean Energy

Target: Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis

Goal: Congratulate Minneapolis on being one of the biggest cities in the world to unanimously voting in clean energy.

The city council in Minneapolis celebrated a huge victory in progress with their most recent unanimous vote to commit the city to clean, renewable energy by 2030. Part of the city’s commitment include a passage on reversing past negative effects of environmental program on lower income areas: “The City Coordinator’s Office blueprint shall also include strategies ‘to ensure that all consumers, especially those who have been left out of the benefits of energy programs in the past, communities of color, low-income communities, renters, and communities that have borne the brunt of past environmental racism, receive equitable benefit from this transition.”

This commitment is exactly the sort of step this country needs to take if we ever wish to reverse the serious damage done by climate-ignoring politicians of the past. Minneapolis is a landmark example of the sort of victories we need to move this country forward and truly make America great. Sign the petition below to encourage more victories like this.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Frey,

Thank you for everything you have done to commit yourself to clean energy and transparent accountability as the leader of Minneapolis. So far, the country has been incredibly impressed with your abilities as mayor to lead the city in the right direction.

Please continue making decisions as radical and remarkable as this one, so that we may stand a chance to counteract the harm done by our past politicians. Thank you for your commitment to environmental justice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: August Schwerdfeger

Praise Georgia City For Choosing Clean Energy

Target: Edward Terry, Mayor of Clarkston, Georgia

Goal: Congratulate Clarkston, Georgia for committing to 100% clean energy.

The Sierra Club has made a mission to get 100 cities to commit themselves to 100% clean energy and a city in Georgia is a special example of this which deserves praise. Clarkston, Georgia is the first city to be governed by a council of a millennial majority and is considered the most ethnically diverse square mile in the country. Clarkston is also one of the latest cities to commit themselves to 100% clean energy.

The move marks a shift in tides as the younger generation takes office and begins implementing the actions that need completing. The shift to clean energy is a huge step in the right direction for a town that is making waves with every decision they make. Sign this congratulations below to show Clarkston that their efforts are not going unnoticed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Terry,

Thank you for dedicating your city’s resources to renewable energy. This step is the first of many that we will remember Clarkston by. Your dedication to a cleaner, more accountable future is one that will surely be copied by minds all over the country, for good reason.

If we had more great minds like yours in office, we might be able to permanently reverse the damages made by generations before us. We need more effective leadership like yours, hopefully this next election cycle will bring in more change like this. Thank you for your commitment to a better future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Georgia Secretary of State

Success: Australia to Invest Millions in Great Barrier Reef Protection

Target: Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Commend the Australian government on their strides to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian government has stepped up to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef, encouraged by the ForceChange community and this petition, which called for funding restoration efforts to replace damaged or lost coral. Since that time, Prime Minister Turnbull announced the investment of $500 million (AU) in the protection and restoration of the reef through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. This investment is “the single largest funding commitment ever for reef conservation and management in Australia’s history,” according to Josh Frydenberg, the Minister of the Environment and Energy, and it represents a step in the right direction for continued protection of this important and sensitive ecosystem.

The Great Barrier Reef is an incredibly biodiverse coral reef supporting a myriad of marine life and representing a boon to Australian jobs and the economy. The reef is also incredibly sensitive to small changes in temperature and has experienced two major bleaching events in the last two years due to climate change. Australia’s investment will help to improve water quality, reduce the threat from the harmful crown-of-thorns starfish, monitor the reef’s health, and restore damaged coral through techniques such as coral spawning and breeding adaptive, more resilient coral. The government’s acknowledgment of the importance of this issue may encourage additional private funding in support of this important cause.

The decline of the Great Barrier Reef is a serious issue, but this funding encouraged by the ForceChange community is a sign that positive change is coming, Sign the petition to thank the Australian government for stepping up funding for protection and restoration of the Great Barrier Reef and to encourage continued investment in this underwater wonder.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

Your funding of millions of dollars for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef is an important step in reducing the reef’s decline due to climate change and other environmental threats. I commend you for your efforts to reduce the pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish population that damage the reef, as well as your efforts to restore the lost and damaged coral.

The Great Barrier Reef is an important resource, both for Australia’s economy and the surrounding ecosystem, that is constantly under siege by climate change, pollution, and other threats. Australia’s significant contribution to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will have a profound positive impact on the hundreds of miles of reef that need attention as well as the global attitude towards reef restoration.

Thank you for your leadership in funding this significant undertaking. I urge you to continue funding the protection of this unique ecosystem, not only for its economic importance but also its incredible biodiversity.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Wise Hok Wai Lum

Success: Bee-Killing Pesticides Banned Across Europe

Target: His Excellency Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

Goal: Applaud the European Union for banning widely used pesticides linked to bee deaths worldwide.

The European Union has decided to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been identified as posing a significant threat to bee populations. Because bees are so vital to pollinating the crops people rely on for food, the ForceChange community petitioned the head of the European Council to ban the use of these pesticides entirely. In response to public outcry such as this, and recently released reports on the devastating impact these substances have, the EU has at last decided to put an end to any outdoor use of neonicotinoids.

For years, scientists have known that these commonly used pesticides wreak havoc on the insects’ nervous systems. Reports have also shown that all forms of outdoor pesticide use can contaminate soil and water, resulting in pesticides poisoning wildflowers and crops planted in later years. The EU’s decision to ban these harmful substances will prevent further damage and allow the environment and bee populations to slowly recover over time.

While the ban will not be in effect until the end of the year, it is an important sign that international leaders are making the planet’s biodiversity and future food production priorities. Sign the petition below to congratulate the president of the European Council for this historic ban.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Tusk,

Millions of people across the world are grateful that the European Council has agreed with some of the best scientific minds that neonicotinoids pose a grave threat to global bee populations. We now know that the decision to make these pesticides available over a quarter of a century ago was a colossal mistake that has resulted in the contamination of water and soil across Europe and around the world. Thankfully, your council’s decision to ban these substances will provide a beacon of hope, offering both bees and the environment a chance to recover.

This vote will likely be remembered as a historic decision and hopefully help secure food production and biodiversity for the future. We, the undersigned, wish to thank you for not listening to the fear-mongering propaganda peddled by pesticide manufacturers, and for putting the health of our planet before these corporations’ profits.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jon Sullivan

Success: UK to Introduce Ivory Ban

Target: The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Praise United Kingdom for finally introducing a ban on the ivory trade.

The United Kingdom will be banning all ivory sales, thanks to public pressure and persistent efforts from conservationists. The ban will reportedly be “the toughest in Europe and one of the strictest in the world,” cracking down on the sale of products containing ivory made in the last 30 years and containing more than 10 percent ivory; there is nothing to be done about vintage products with trace amounts, but the ban assures that no new products will be made or sold.

This ban has been a long time coming. For five years, the UK was the largest exporter of legal ivory in the world, with thousands of elephants per year being killed to produce it. Public pressure and petitions such as this one on ForceChange have challenged this grim reality, fighting for the rights and welfare of the elephants targeted by poachers and ivory dealers for their tusks, and these efforts have finally paid off.

The news of this ban is most welcome after years of the UK stubbornly clinging to their ivory trade. Every country that stops the sale and exportation of ivory is a step towards the phasing out of ivory products overall, meaning a brighter future for the elephant population. Sign this petition to thank the UK government for finally stopping their irovy trade.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

The United Kingdom’s recent announcement of a ban on ivory sales is most welcome. For years, the UK has been one of the chief ivory exporters in the world, causing the deaths of thousands of African elephants each year, and the most reluctant to change this despite mounting public pressure. At last, though, the efforts of environmentalists and animal conservationists have paid off.

Ivory is fast on its way to becoming as obsolete as fur coats, as objects traditionally made of ivory are now crafted with other materials, and the more countries that reflect this, the better. This ban is a major step towards a brighter future for the elephant populations and is much appreciated. Thank you for listening to the demands of the public and putting the welfare and survival of elephants above the sale of an obsolete material.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sokwanele Zimbabwe