Protect Alaska’s Natural Legacy: Do Not Strong-Arm Damaging Drilling onto Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Target: Mark Fesmire, Alaska and Pacific Regional Director of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement

Goal: Stop downplaying and ignoring environmental threats from drilling in Alaska.

When the controversial tax cut package passed Congress, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski slipped in a special interest provision that propelled Arctic drilling efforts forward. In the process, she essentially sold out some of her state’s most precious lands for a vote. Now, the Trump Administration is looking to fast-track this destructive process, shunning environmental dangers in the process. As a result, within a year one of the world’s last undisturbed wonders could be open for corporate pillage.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a true sight to behold, sprawling nearly 15 million acres. The lands host an array of wildlife, from polar bears to water fowl to porcupine caribou: magnificent but vulnerable animals that may soon have their habitats, and their livelihoods, altered forever. Further, proposed activities such as seismic testing will likely mar and reshape a diverse landscape that encompasses marshes, rivers, hills, lakes, coastal plains, and a collection of plant life perhaps unrivaled in the northern hemisphere. Much of the proposed drilling would take place in a section of the plains area that will significantly impact caribou and the native Gwich’in people who depend upon these animals and the surrounding lands for much of their physical and spiritual sustenance.

Despite public outcry from these and other concerned citizens and despite words of caution from scientists, this administration is demanding fast approval of leases for the Congress-certified drilling efforts. This acceleration forces key agencies to complete a review process that would normally take years in only a few months. Not only will this shrunken time frame stifle much of the local citizenry’s debate, but it will likewise curtail the voices of many key environmental analysts and experts. The Fish and Wildlife Service has already been left out of much of the decision-making process, and Interior Department officials are limiting environmental assessments to only 150 pages within the expected review. For context, one environmental organization alone submitted an analysis of harmful impacts that spanned well over 150 pages.

Sign this petition to demand the Interior Department take time and care with a process that could radically redefine the Arctic landscape for generations to come.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Fesmire,

Senator Lisa Murkowski, in her continued promotion of arctic drilling, once proclaimed that ‘outsiders’ should not determine the fate of Alaska’s arctic landscape . Perhaps, then, Senator Murkowski and others should listen to the voices of the people who have inhabited these lands for centuries….the people who rely on these lands for survival in every sense of the word.

The Gwich’in people have joined droves of their fellow Alaskans in calling for compassion and caution in fundamentally altering their environment and their lives. We are concerned that in the name of speed and profit, you are not listening to these voices or the voices of countless experts who devote their lives to studying these lands. In order to hear these voices and in order to deem you analysis truly trustworthy, you need time that extends well beyond a few months.   You also need detailed, accurate analysis that is not limited to a few  pages.

Even the organizations with whom you are negotiating drilling contracts have urged you to take your time. Do the one thing that every side of this heated debate can agree upon: make informed, holistic decisions that ensure no animal, no piece of pristine land, and no voice is left behind.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Praise San Francisco for Eco-Friendly Restaurant Changes

Target: Malia Cohen, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Goal: Praise San Francisco for making their restaurants more ecologically friendly.

San Francisco has approved a ban on the use of plastic straws in all restaurants and has mandated that plastic utensils only be provided upon request. These changes have been needed for a long time, particularly the ban on plastic straws due to the increasing amounts of plastic pollution over the years.

Plastic is one of the least biodegradable materials in the world, with its chemicals making their way into the water and soil for animals to ingest. Plastic particles choke the soil, preventing the roots of plants and trees from absorbing nutrients. For years, restaurants have handed out millions of unnecessary plastic straws and utensils, which go unused and end up in landfills.

This is a much-needed step in the fight to end plastic pollution. If even one city can make one ban, no matter how small, we are on our way to a cleaner future. Sign this petition to thank San Francisco’s board of supervisors for making these changes to the city’s restaurants.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Cohen,

Your approval of a ban on plastic straws, in addition to other changes in San Francisco’s restaurants, is much appreciated, and one we have been needing for quite some time. Millions of unused plastic straws end up in landfills to contaminate the soil and the water, leading to the ingestion of plastic particles by wildlife. The same goes for plastic utensils, which in the past has been given out automatically with takeout orders.

The fight to end plastic pollution is an ongoing one, especially as we realize the extent of the damage done by even the smallest plastic particles. San Francisco may be only one city, but every step is an important one. Thank you for banning both the use of plastic straws and the automatic handout of plastic eating utensils.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan

Save Endangered Lynx From Extinction

Target: Blendi Klosi, Albanian Minister of Tourism and Environment

Goal: Ensure that the Munella Mountain region is made into a protected habitat for Balkan lynx.

Albanian environmentalists are trying to save the estimated 40 Balkan lynx that remain in the remote region around Munella Mountain. However, because this area is not yet recognized as a protected habitat, the future of this critically endangered species is at risk.

One of the many threats lynx living around Munella Mountain face is a large copper plant that poses a severe environmental threat while being the area’s largest employer. Lobbyists from the mining industry in Albania have consistently shut down attempts in the past to declare Munella Mountain a protected natural preserve, even after the endangered lynx were discovered in the area only as recently as 2011.

While the lynx themselves are legally protected against harm, they cannot survive without having a protected habitat in which to live. Sign this petition to urge Albania to do more to protect its rare wild lynxes by protecting this area as a natural preserve.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Klosi,

Albania is home to an estimated 40 Balkan lynx, all of whom are believed to live in the remote Munella Mountain region despite facing threats from mining, logging and illegal hunting in the area. Although this species is making a slow recovery, Balkan lynx are recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and need our help if they are to survive. With so few lynx remaining in both Albania and Macedonia, each cat’s life is precious and must be preserved.

Although the lynx have only recently been rediscovered in the Munella Mountain area, lobbyists from the mining industry have already blocked efforts numerous times to establish a protected habitat for these cats. While copper mining is a major employer for the region, there is a potential for ecotourism and jobs related to conservation to also help the local economy if this area is made into a preserve. We, the undersigned, urge you to find ways to help these lynx coexist with people and to do what you can to ensure their long-term survival by establishing a natural preserve in this region.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard Landgraf

Stop Trump’s Attack on Clean Air

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

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

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

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

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

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Metro Library and Archive

Stop Construction of Open-Cast Coal Mine in Unspoiled Valley

Target: The Right Honourable Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Goal: Halt construction of coal mine in Northern England valley.

Energy firm Banks Group is building a coal mine in the previously untouched Derwent Valley in County Durham, ending 40 years of peace and protection. Despite endless protests and efforts to keep the valley unspoiled, as well as the government’s constant promises to phase out coal by the year 2525, the firm has been granted permission to disrupt the peaceful and quiet life led by the residents.

England has one of the worst air pollution problems across the globe in general. The coal industry as a whole is responsible for half the world’s air pollution; hundreds of people suffer from health problems due to the condition of the air, with several even dying each year, and many species of wildlife and plants cannot thrive without cleaner air. “The government says it wants to be a world leader but is not putting its money where its mouth is,” says June Davison, a longtime protester and resident of Derwent Valley.

We cannot allow this formerly unspoiled, peaceful area to be marred by an unnecessary coal mine. Sign this petition to stop the construction of the mine as soon as possible, and to halt plans for any future mines.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Gove,

The Banks Group energy firm is constructing a coal mine in the preciously unspoiled Derwent valley, despite the residents’ protests and the government’s promise to be a world leader in the phasing out of coal altogether. This area has been clean and safe for 40 years, and all of that has been taken away by an inconsistent government and a company seeking a profit.

Coal is one of the leading causes of air pollution, and England has one of the worst pollution problems across the globe. Many people die of pollution-related health issues each year, and the air is not conducive to the survival of wildlife or plant life. Furthermore, the government’s inconsistency regarding its stance on coal is dishonest and problematic. You must stop this mine from being built as soon as possible, and ensure that no future mines will be planned. Derwent valley deserves more than 40 years of peace and protection.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe

Don’t Let the Endangered Species Act Die

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Bishop,

What do the words threatened and endangered mean to you?

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

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

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

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

Protect the Endangered Species Act….protect our future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stop Needlessly Exterminating Native Wildlife

Target: Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture

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

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

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

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

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: National Park Service/Kent Miller

Save Dolphins and Seabirds From Drowning in Nets

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

Goal: Do not let protection for Europe’s dolphins and seabirds falter due to Brexit.

The advent of Brexit will weaken protection of Europe’s seabird and dolphin populations. The United Kingdom was said to be the strongest voice in fishery reform, which ensured that fewer dolphins or seabirds would get caught in fishing nets. Unfortunately, even with these reforms in place, a total of 600,000 marine mammals and birds still die each year from being caught in the nets, and this number could skyrocket once the UK officially separates from the European Union.

Dolphins are already one of the most vulnerable animals on this planet due to negative changes in the waters such as plastic and oil pollution, as well as being captured and hunted as trophies. Many species of dolphins are nearly extinct, as are many seabirds. Without the influence of the UK on fishery reforms, these species could disappear forever, causing great strain on the ecology of the sea.

We cannot allow Brexit to weaken existing protection of dolphins and seabirds. Sign this petition to demand the European Union strengthen its voice towards fishery reform and the protection of marine mammals and seabirds.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Your Excellency,

Europe’s dolphin and seabird population is in danger of extinction due to Brexit, as the United Kingdom was the strongest voice for fishery reform. Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and seabirds die of capture in fishing nets every year, even with reforms in place, and the weakening of those reforms could lead to mass extinctions.

You must strengthen the European Union’s voice towards fishery reform. Dolphins are already one of the most vulnerable animals on the planet due to being captured in nets as well as other dangers they face. The loss of even a single species of dolphin or seabird will wreck havoc on the ocean’s delicate ecosystem. Do not allow protection of dolphins and seabirds to weaken with the advent of Brexit.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pete Markham

Applaud Billion-Dollar Company for Cutting Ties with Deforestation Industry

Target: Corien Wortmann-Kool, Chairwoman of the ABP Board

Goal: Applaud leading financial company for putting the future of the planet before its bottom line.

A multi-billion dollar company in the Netherlands has cut ties with one of its lucrative international partners after learning that the company was involved directly in deforestation. Dutch pension fund ABP has divested its interests in Posco Daewoo, a company with palm oil plantations in Indonesia.

Palm oil plantations are one of the leading causes of rainforest deforestation. While many companies speak out against them, very few put those words into action. However, ABP is the exception, selling off hundreds of thousands of dollars in Posco Daewoo shares.

Sign the petition to thank ABP for taking a stand against deforestation. Ask that ABP continue to hold true to protecting the environment and urge other companies to follow their lead.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairwoman Wortmann-Kool,

Thank you for cutting ties with Posco Daewoo in the fight against deforestation. Unlike other companies in your industry and beyond, you have put your money where your mouth is and held true to your commitment to environmental protection.

Thank you for your actions. I hope you continue to follow suit in the future. I ask that you continue your efforts in protecting the planet and urge you to ask the same of other businesses in your industry.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Maclennan

Stop Sacrificing Public Health for Coal Industry Profits

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

Goal: Prevent the EPA from rolling back Obama-era coal disposal regulations.

The Trump administration plans to roll back the regulations placed on the coal industry. This measure is being taken at the expense of both the environment and the U.S. population’s health. This move will push back the deadline to close ash dumps and allow state regulators to handle the massive waste piles in whatever dangerous ways they please.

The coal industry is not the one that the government should be aiding or enabling in any way. Coal is a fossil fuel, one of the most dangerous there is; coal plants in the United States produce roughly 100 tons of waste that leaks into the water supply as well as the air. According to the Waterkeeper Alliance, “the rules that were created in 2015 were already very much to the bare minimum” thanks to the administration’s thoughtlessness and selfish motives.

These plans will endanger millions of lives all to help an undeserving industry save some money. We cannot allow them to go through. Sign this petition to demand the EPA leave the coal regulations in place.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Wheeler,

Your plans to aid the coal industry by rolling back the Obama-era coal disposal regulations are dangerous and unnecessary. Coal is one of the most dangerous fossil fuels, as the ashes from coal plants contaminate both the water and the air. People who live near coal plants are at great risk for various health complications due to this contamination. The coal industry does not need nor deserve financial aid.

Do not follow through on the Trump administration’s selfish plan. The lives and well-being of the population and the cleanliness of our water and air are more important than saving an undeserving industry some money. Do not push back the deadline for closing coal plants, and do not allow regulators to dispose of coal ash in unsafe ways.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe