Protect the Amazon from Deforestation

Target: Juwang Zhu, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development (DESA)

Goal: Amend Brazil’s new Forest Code to protect the Amazon.

The Amazon is in danger thanks to Brazil’s new Forest Code. The code, which was approved in the country’s Supreme Court recently, will have negative effects on the environment, as it places lax regulations around deforestation and does not protect the environment. In short, the new code, which replaces the 2012 code, puts economic interests above environmental protection. This new code is critical to Brazil’s future, as the Amazon nears a tipping point at which the forest will permanently become a savannah. This has implications for biodiversity, water supply, and climate change.

The new code was supported by an agribusiness lobby that ran propaganda in the news promoting ruralist interests and presenting them as scientific information. As a result, many parts of the code allow deforestation and development. An example is that deforesters who illegally cleared forest before 2008 will not be forced to pay the fines enforced on them. A member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences claims that this new code regularizes deforestation and and holds nobody accountable.

Conservations are concerned that illegally deforested lands will not be reforested without strict enforcement. Others are doubting the country’s judicial system and its ability to deliberate on complex technical questions regarding deforestation, socio-environmental issues, and climate change. Although the new code recognized the consequences of deforestation and set a basis for future socio-environmental cases, the Supreme Court did not uphold the constitution when it came to protecting the environment. They are allowing development and deforestation to continue. Sign the petition below to urge the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, which holds the Committee for Forestry, to urge Brazil to amend the new code and implement more pro-environment policies.


Dear Mr. Zhu,

In Brazil, a new code that replaced the 2012 Forest Code was approved recently. In it, it is obvious that the agribusiness and economic interests are favored over environmental protection. Farming on floodplains, urbanization projects, and no obligation to reforest illegally deforested areas are only a few of the policies deemed constitutional under the new code. Illegally deforested land may never be reforested again, as offenders are not being held accountable for their actions.

This new code is critical in Brazil’s history as the Amazon might reach its tipping point soon—the point at which the forest will turn into a savannah—causing extremely negative consequences. These consequences are tied to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and social and environmental issues. Without a voice to defend the environment, Brazil’s forests will continue to be cut down, with little hope of recovery.

As the Director of Sustainable Development and overseer of the Committee for Forestry, you are in a unique position to urge Brazil to amend the code. Although the code may now be the law of the land, perhaps they can set a precedent and amend a Supreme Court ruling if it means protecting the environment. I hope that you speak out against the new code and all the future consequences that will stem from it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Josh Estey

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.


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.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PxHere

Investigate Suspicious Death of Imprisoned Wildlife Advocate

Target: Seyyed Alireza Avaei, Iran Minister of Justice

Goal: Urge Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into alleged suicide by imprisoned conservationist.

Iranian-Canadian conservationist Seyed Emami was found dead in a high-security prison, where he allegedly committed suicide. However, his family and the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights suspect foul play and are urging Iranian authorities to conduct a non-biased investigation to uncover the truth. The tension between conservatives and other more progressive groups have led to many disputes, including other environmentalists’ arrests around the same time as Emami.

A sociology professor and director of the private environmental organization Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Emami pursued social and environmental changes in Iran. He was accused of being a spy for the United States and Israel. Authorities claimed that the cameras installed by his foundation to track rare animals like the Persian leopard were actually being used to monitor Iranian missile activities and report to foreigners. Emami’s sons claim that these charges are ridiculous, especially since the cameras are cheap, can be bought anywhere, and could only capture up to 25 meters or 82 feet.

After his funeral, a deputy prosecutor revealed footage from the prison to Emami’s sons. In it, he is seen making the bed, putting a shirt around his neck, and going into the bathroom. Seven hours later they bring him out dead. His sons suspect foul play because the prison is high security and they feel that the whole incident was staged. Furthermore, Emami’s character was positive and unrelenting, and suicide would not have be an option, according to his sons.

Environmentalists should not be imprisoned on weak charges and be put in danger. Urge the Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into his death. This might prevent further deaths for the six other environmentalists being detained with no access to legal council should it be revealed that authorities were involved in his death. Protect rights of people who are only trying to protect the environment; people who serve the public and the environment.


Dear Mr. Avaei,

An Iranian conservationist in prison was recently pronounced dead, allegedly having committed suicide in a high-security prison. Seyed Emami was a professor of sociology and director of the environmental organization Persian Wildlife Foundation. He was charged on suspicion of being a spy for the United States and Israel because of the cameras his foundation installed to monitor rare animals such as the Persian leopard. Authorities claimed that these cameras were actually being used to record Iranian missile activities and that these records were being reported to foreigners.

These weak charges are hardly cause for arrest, and furthermore, his family and even the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights suspects foul play. Surveillance revealed that he made his bed, put on a shirt around his neck, and then brought out dead seven hours later. The incident seemed staged, according to his family. The UN is urging Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into Emami’s death, something he deserves. He believed in protecting the environment and the public, and creating positive changes in Iran.

Mr. Avaei, show the rest of the world that Iran has a judiciary system that respects its citizens and allows them a fair trial. Help uncover the truth behind Emami’s death if there was foul play, and conduct a fair investigation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Seyed Emami family

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.


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.”


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kentee Gardin

Protect Critically Endangered Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home

Target: Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, Australia

Goal: Register federally endangered habitats so that their species and resources can be preserved for generations to come.

It has been well over a decade since Australia has listed a critically endangered habitat on its federal registry, meaning that endangered species have not been protected and resources have been plundered for over ten years. Despite having more than 1,800 federally threatened species in the country, Australia has not taken steps to protect the habitats these animals call home.

The situation facing endangered species in Australia is dire. Several million hectares of forest are set to be cleared in the coming decades, robbing thousands of plants and animals of their homes. Habitat loss, argue scientists, is the leading cause of plant and animal extinction.

Listing a species as endangered is simply not enough. Stronger actions must be taken, beginning with protecting the lands these animals live in. Sign the petition to demand that the nation of Australia start to declare habitats as federally endangered so that more steps can be taken to protect and preserve the lives of more than 1,800 endangered species.


Dear Minister Frydenberg,

More than 1,800 species in Australia are listed as critically endangered by the federal government. However, the government has not listed any habitat as endangered for over a decade. This has allowed deforestation to continue, robbing endangered species of their habitat and resources.

Habitat loss is the leading cause of endangered species extinction. Listing species as endangered is not enough. Their homes must be protected as well. I demand that critically endangered habitats be federally listed and the animals that call these habitats home be protected.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: The Central Intelligence Agency

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.


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.


[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.


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.


[Your Name Here]

Ban Offshore Drilling

Target: Craig Coughlin, Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly

Goal: Support finalization of bill to ban offshore oil drilling in New Jersey.

New Jersey may soon ban all offshore oil drilling. The New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee has approved a proposed bill to stop any offshore oil drilling along the state’s coast. This bill would prohibit all forms of drilling, including the lease of submerged lands for the production of natural gases.

Oil drilling is one of the chief culprits of environmental destruction. It not only contaminates the sea, land, and air, but hundreds of animals are caught in oil spills each year, and many do not survive. People lose their homes due to these spills, or are forced to relocate when the land becomes unstable and the air unbreathable. New Jersey, a coastal state, would benefit greatly from such a law to protect the coast’s natural beauty and the lives of the people and animals living there.

The pushback against the current administration’s efforts to revive fossil fuels is a never-ending battle, and every victory must be appreciated. A complete ban on offshore drilling in New Jersey would be a tremendous victory. Sign this petition to support the finalization of this bill.


Dear Assemblyman Coughlin,

A proposed bill to ban offshore oil drilling along New Jersey’s coast is one step closer to becoming an official law. This would mean the end of dangerous oil rigs or leasing of submerged lands for the production of natural gases, thus keeping the waters safe for the aquatic wildlife.

Oil drilling has been a problem for decades, with fumes contaminating the water and air while the spills have harmed and killed hundreds of animals and cost people their homes. The country has been fighting an endless battle against the revival of fossil fuels since President Trump’s inauguration, and every ban counts towards victory. Approve this new law to ensure the safety and preservation of New Jersey’s coastline.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Wilson

Stop EPA Head Scott Pruitt from Killing the Earth

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Demand the EPA stop adopting agendas that actively damage Mother Earth and her inhabitants.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is potentially the biggest threat we’ve seen to the environment since the first climate change studies were released. Every policy he implements is done behind closed doors, without public consultation, and these meetings typically end in some extremely important regulation being rolled back. One recent example is how the EPA found that neighborhoods of color are far more likely to suffer consequences from city pollution, yet Pruitt still planned to remove existing protections for areas affected by pollution.

Pruitt’s climate agenda is not only reckless, but it appears to be anti-environment altogether. Pruitt’s EPA has announced plans to lift bans on toxic chemicals and remove our clean water protections, and treats climate change as if it were a blessing to the planet. Back when Pruitt was just an Oklahoma attorney general, he sued the EPA over a dozen times over clean air and water regulations. Now that he’s in charge of the EPA, he’s just removing those regulations himself. Demand that Pruitt stop enacting these dangerous policies.


Dear Mr. Pruitt,

It is your sole responsibility to enact regulations that keep the Earth alive and healthy; why are you seemingly doing the exact opposite? You’ve been entrusted to protect the most valuable home we have, and yet you seek to burn the house down instead of safeguarding it.

When you can prove that people of color are more affected by pollution than their white counterparts, you should take measures to heal that damage, not worsen it. Attacking clean water will only make the rivers dry up faster, not preserve them. You need to implement policies that actually represent your job title.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Coast Guard

Praise China’s Fight Against Pollution

Target: Zhang Jianlong, Director of the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China

Goal: Encourage the restoration of millions of acres of forest in ravaged regions.

One of the world’s largest countries is doing its part in restoring our environment. As part of an ambitious plan to ensure up to one quarter of its lands are populated by forests within the next five years, Chinese leadership has enlisted the country’s army to take up arms against Earth’s most dangerous enemy: pollution. Roughly 60,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese police forces will be tasked with planting enough trees across the expansive lands to cover an area the size of Ireland.

This step continues a promising commitment to green initiatives for China. Projects such as the Grain for Green program have proven successful in encouraging rural landowners to plant trees in the hopes of preventing flooding and damaging soil erosion. While issues like lack of biodiversity arose with this project, the new initiative by the State Forestry Administration has the benefit of strong leadership and a clearer plan of action. Recognizing the important role of trees in neutralizing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and in combatting pollution, the government has already devoted $80 billion to reforestation efforts at a time when many countries are beset by deforestation. This largest initiative yet will add millions more trees to the landscape. Many of these trees will surround areas beset by heavy smog, offering some counterbalance to harmful pollutants.

China is transitioning into a world advocate for environmental causes on all fronts, with other longstanding efforts currently ongoing in areas such as solar power, waste reduction, and the curtailing of development projects that could damage precious resources like rivers and lakes. The country is also actively encouraging individuals and organizations to participate in its reforestation efforts.

Sign this petition to support and encourage China’s progressive drive to boost the health of our environment and our world.


Dear Director Jianlong,

“Development must be scientific development, and we must persist in unswervingly carrying out the concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.” In a world that sometimes loses sight of this fundamental principle, it is immensely encouraging to see these words enshrined in China’s central philosophy. The ambitious plan to increase China’s forest coverage is so meaningful because it represents more than just an idea; it is a course of action that will be realized and implemented with the full support of your government.

As in many other facets of your green initiatives, you are ensuring that China will be part of the solution rather than a driver of the problem. Every day, we witness the effects of environmental carelessness in our water, our weather, our food supplies, and in the very air we breathe. As countries, we may celebrate different ideals and drape ourselves in different symbols and colors, but at our core we all live under one color: green.

Please stand strong in your commitment to our shared environment. Green initiatives are the essential key to your country’s future and the future of our world.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kevin Utting