Stop Plastic Pollution From Killing Seabirds

Target: The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Goal: Stop plastic pollution from harming New Zealand’s seabirds.

New Zealand’s seabird population is at risk of severe endangerment, possibly even some extinctions, due to plastic pollution. More seabirds live in New Zealand than in any other country; unfortunately, this is the main reason why they are at such risk. It is not the amount of plastic pollution that is the problem, but the number of seabirds and the fact that several species are already endangered.

The birds’ habit of scooping up and swallowing whatever they spot during their hunt for food is how they end up ingesting plastic bags or other waste, as they act too quickly to realize their mistake. Chicks and adults alike face starvation as the plastic fills their stomachs. Since plastic does not dissolve or digest easily, it takes up space and attaches itself to their insides. Additionally, the toxins found in plastic enter their bloodstream, causing various health risks.

We cannot risk the disappearance of New Zealand’s immense seabird population. The country’s environmentalists are working to achieve a ban of single-use plastic bags, but this is only one step. Pollution laws must be tightened, and protection of the birds must be strengthened. Sign this petition to save New Zealand’s seabirds from potential disaster.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Ardern,

Plastic pollution could wipe out New Zealand’s seabird population due to the birds’ continued accidental ingestion of the substance. The birds swoop down and devour plastic bags too quickly to realize their mistake, and the plastic takes up space in their stomachs while blocking the absorption of much needed-nutrients into their systems. The number of seabirds means more are at risk of extinction, as many of them are already endangered.

Environmentalists are currently working to get single-use plastic bags banned, but this is only the first step. You must not only support this ban, but strengthen the country’s anti-pollution laws and enact stronger protections for the birds to ensure that they do not ingest more plastic while feeding. You must not let these birds disappear from our planet.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Patte

End the Destruction of the Rainforests for Palm Oil

Target:  Kuok Khoon Hong, CEO of Wilmar International

Goal: Cut ties with companies that rely on deforestation to turn a profit.

One of the largest palm oil producers in the world has allegedly broken its commitment to sustainability and has instead engaged in practices and trade agreements that are contributing to deforestation.

Wilmar International has a “No Deforestation. No Peat. No Exploitation” commitment. However, Greenpeace alleges that Wilmar is breaking this promise by trading palm oil with Gama, a palm oil business reportedly leading deforestation efforts in Indonesia.

Wilmar must hold true to its commitment. It must protect the rare and endangered rainforests of Indonesia. Sign the petition to demand that Wilmar cut ties with Gama and protect the world’s rainforests now and in the future.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Hong,

Your company made a promise: “No Deforestation. No Peat. No Exploitation.” You vowed to protect the rainforests. Instead, you have reportedly been destroying them.

Your partnership with Gama stands in direct conflict with your vow. Gama reportedly engages in deforestation, stripping Indonesia of its rare forests and resources. I demand you hold true to your promise and cut ties with Gama to protect the rainforests of Indonesia for posterity.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: WidodoMargotomo

Don’t Allow Oil Companies to Drive Gorillas to Extinction

Target: Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Goal: Don’t put critically endangered gorillas and other species at risk by allowing oil drilling within the boundaries of the Virunga and Salonga National Parks.

The Democratic Republic of Congo government is discussing the possibility of opening up one-fifth of the protected Virunga National Park to oil exploration and drilling. This park, along with nearby Salonga National Park, is home to critically endangered mountain gorillas, as well as bush elephants and another endangered ape known as the bonobo.

Members of the DR Congo government have stated it is within their rights to drill anywhere in the country, but allowing oil companies into these parks could pose a global risk by contributing to the worldwide climate change crisis. If the cabinet approves the decision, up to 664 square miles of Africa’s oldest wildlife reserve would be declassified and up for grabs for international oil companies to exploit at will. While Virunga National Park has remained closed following conflict with poachers and kidnapping incidents earlier this year, it is one of the few places mountain gorillas have survived relatively unscathed.

More must be done both to protect these parks and to address the growing instability and violence within the region. Sign below and demand that no drilling be allowed in these beautiful and unique parks.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Kabila,

The future of Virunga National Park, the oldest such reserve on the continent of Africa and home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas, is in jeopardy. If your government moves ahead with plans to open up parts of this park and nearby Salonga National Park to oil drilling, widespread environmental destruction will almost inevitably occur. That is why we, the undersigned, demand that you not open up any sections of these parks to oil exploration that would most certainly put endangered wildlife at risk.

Oil drilling in these parks will also release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which will contribute to global warming. For this reason, and for the well-being of the gorillas and other living creatures that call these jungle-cloaked volcanic mountains home, we urge you to oppose all plans to allow oil exploration within these parks and to do what you can to improve stability and reduce conflict within this troubled region.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fanny Schertzer

Stop the West From Turning Thailand Into a Toxic Rubbish Dump

Target: Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior

Goal: Shut down electronic waste recycling plants in Thailand.

Factories in Thailand burn massive amounts of electronic waste every day. This waste is illegally shipped from the west to Thailand and dumped in front of an old factory, after which it is taken to recycling plants where workers extract whatever precious metals they can before burning the rest. The lesser heavy metals in all of the broken computers, TVs, and printers pollute the air, water, and soil.

This is extremely dangerous. These electronic waste recycling plants are the exact opposite of the practice meant to reduce pollution and contamination. The air will quickly become too dangerous to breathe if they continue to burn so much plastic, and the contaminated water and soil harms humans and wildlife alike. Additionally, the factories cannot even burn the waste faster than it is dumped in the country, leading to skyscraper-high levels of broken electronics becoming an eyesore.

Authorities and environmentalists are beginning to fight back against the illegal dumping and these factories, and the United States must aid them in fighting for a cleaner environment. Sign this petition to stop the illegal export of electronic waste into Thailand, and to shut down the dangerous factories.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Thailand is becoming the world’s rubbish dump thanks to the west illegally exporting its electronic waste into the country. The waste is taken to factories where workers conduct dangerous methods of extracting valuable metals while burning the rest, allowing the lesser heavy metals to pollute the air, water, and soil. This is extremely dangerous to all living beings in Thailand, and the never-ending piles of broken electronics are an eyesore.

The United States is heavily responsible for this problem, and we must put a stop to it. We cannot continue to allow the west to dump its electronic waste into Thailand, and we must aid the authorities in shutting down the dangerous factories polluting the country. You must outlaw the illegal export of electronic waste immediately, to ensure a better future for Thailand.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jacopo Werther

Protect Millions of Children and Infants by Reducing Air Pollution in the UK

Target: Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, United Kingdom

Goal: Reduce the amount of air pollution in the UK.

Millions of children are in danger due to deadly air pollution. According to a report done by UNICEF, millions of children are being exposed to dangerously high levels of air pollution. The UK is failing to address this air pollution problem, and children are dealing with the repercussions.  Around 4.5 million children are living in zones that are considered the worst in the country, with London and Glasgow being among the worst cities.

This lack of environmental protection is causing people to suffer. Amy Gibbs of UNICEF UK commented, “Worryingly, one third of our children could be filling their lungs with toxic air that puts them at risk of serious, long-term health conditions.” These children need to be protected. Action needs to be taken to reduce the harm to children. The country has yet to modify a plan to tackle the air pollution problem for good. Sign this petition to demand change in the UK and have the government create funding to reduce the amount of air pollution.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Gove,

I am writing to urge you to execute a plan that reduces the amount of air pollution in the UK. Children in the UK are breathing in high levels of polluted air. Over 4.5 million children and as many as 270,000 infants under the age of one are living in areas that are considered the worst areas in the country for air pollution.

It is estimated that 23,500 people die every year from complications due to nitrogen dioxide. Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution, which is why action needs to be taken now. These children do not deserve to die because of poor air quality. We demand that the UK creates funding for programs that reduce the air pollution.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alfred Palmer

Shut Down Whale and Dolphin Meat Market

Target: His Excellency Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Goal: Shut down the whale and dolphin meat market for good.

Several regions of the world still consume whale and dolphin meat, despite efforts to stop the trend. An in-house cafe at a Japanese marine park features dolphin on its menu, whale meat makes up most of the Alaskan Inuit diet, and Greenland’s natives and tourists alike feast on whale. Despite countries like Iceland and Britain cutting down their consumption, the sea mammal meat market continues to be a problem.

Not only is the consumption of whale and dolphin a major reason for the decline in both species over the past few decades, but the meat of these creatures is actually dangerous for humans. The bodies of dolphins and whales accumulate traces of heavy metals such as mercury or silver; when these metals are unknowingly consumed by humans, they can cause neurological disorders such as seizures and memory loss. Some territories are even aware of this; the Faroe Island government has issued a warning to its citizens against consuming dolphin despite it being a major part of their diet for years.

The sea mammal meat trade is a lose-lose situation for all involved. Innocent creatures are hunted and killed for their meat, and humans risk serious health problems by consuming it. Sign this petition to stop the whale and dolphin meat market once and for all.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Your Excellency Prime Minister Abe,

The dolphin and whale meat market still persists to this day, despite whaling and dolphin fishing being a major cause of the near-extinction of these creatures. Some countries have stopped their consumption of dolphin and whale, but others persist. Not only is this the cause of the species’ endangerment, but the meat is dangerous to humans due to its high concentration of heavy metals such as mercury. These can cause severe health problems such as memory loss, infertility, and seizures.

Your country is one of several that still consumes whale and dolphin meat, so you must set an example by outlawing the hunting of these creatures once and for all. Send the message to other countries and territories that the sea mammal meat market is not only cruel to the animals themselves, but that the meat is too dangerous for human consumption.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Buelow

Stop Allowing Luxury Towers to Cause Mass Pollution

Target: Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City

Goal: Crack down on rampant pollution caused by luxury high-rise towers, including Trump Tower.

Just two percent of the buildings in New York City, including luxury high-rise towers like Trump Tower, are responsible for creating over half of the city’s carbon emissions, according to a recent study. The report looked at the amount of energy each building took in from the public grid along with the amount of fossil fuels they burned, and concluded that these privately-held properties were among the worst offenders citywide.

Compared to the average multifamily home in New York City, which used 125 British thermal units per square foot (kBtu), Trump Tower was found to be consuming a whopping 208 kBtu. The most wasteful tower—the Baccarat— reportedly used a shocking 386 kBtu. Armed with this new data, environmental groups are now pressuring city lawmakers to enact strict emissions cuts at these and other properties.

Making these massive structures more environmentally-friendly is a relatively easy task that can be accomplished largely through modernizing boilers and water heaters alone. These buildings cannot be allowed to continue to fill the city’s skies with carbon emissions that are contributing to worldwide climate change. Sign below and demand that wealthy property owners, including Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, be held accountable in making the city a cleaner and healthier place to live.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Although New York City is not a factory town like Pittsburgh or Detroit, it contributes heavily to worldwide global pollution thanks to the wasteful carbon emissions coming from a small handful of luxury towers. While you have called for mandates in the past to cut emissions at privately-owned buildings, these measures do not go far enough to address this ongoing environmental crisis. Despite criticism from real estate developers, you must do more to ensure that these emissions cuts get passed and that they are enforced.

Please work with other city council members to come up with a comprehensive plan for holding these luxury towers and their wealthy property owners accountable for their wastefulness. It is the right thing for the city of New York and for the welfare of the planet as a whole.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bin im Garten

Denounce Repeal of Protections for America’s Marine Life and Oceans

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Don’t exploit marine habitats for oil drilling and other destructive practices.

Our country’s marine life is under attack. President Trump unveiled a new U.S. oceans policy that, like most of his executive orders, guts the legacy of his predecessor. This time, marine habitats and marine life could pay the biggest price. Gone from the policy are such words as “climate change,”  “ocean acidification,”  “biological diversity,” “protect,” “restoration,” and “conservation.” In their place is an emphasis on “ocean industries” and “domestic energy production.” By essentially repealing America’s National Ocean Policy, Trump has once again put corporate interests over the long-term health of our planet.

Much of the priorities outlined in the new policy focus on how agencies and industries can “use” the ocean to promote growth, such as the increased offshore drilling that Trump has long coveted. Guidelines and management that supposedly “prevent productive and sustainable use” are also targeted. In an ever-emerging trend under this administration, deregulation will very likely enable profiteers to exploit the environment with no consequences. Perhaps worst of all, the new order will significantly strip away current conservation plans being considered and implemented in areas like the Great Lakes and the north Atlantic coastal regions of America. The government-backed comprehensive data collection tools that help boost and build these efforts are largely absent under the new policy.

Sign this petition to condemn this destructive continued assault on our vulnerable marine ecosystems and to urge a return to environmental stewardship.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

“We learned through painful experience that the ocean is indeed exhaustible, but we also learned that if we are smart about how we use the ocean, it can provide a wealth of benefits for decades and decades.”

Heed the words of this marine ecologist and long-time leader when you so quickly praise the end of supposed “government overreach.” Our government at its best helps guide the country and its people to a better future. With self-destructive actions such as the revocation of the National Ocean Policy, you are putting the burden of environmental carelessness on future generations who will suffer the most from the thoughtless actions of today.

By taking away the federal government as a key ally of state and local governments in marine conservation efforts, these communities will suffer in the long-term from abusive practices that now have no restraint. Areas such as the Great Lakes that have adopted plans to improve and develop natural marine habitats will face abandoning these important efforts. And as the marine life and the beautiful landscapes these communities rely on for sustenance and growth continue to deplete and diminish, their erosion will be squarely on the shoulders of a government that can only think in terms of short-term profit and gain.

Reverse course or risk reversing this country and its natural wonders to places from which they may soon be forever lost.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: George Bosela

Save Declining Southern Resident Orcas

Target: Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of the San Juan Islands

Goal: Prevent further decline in the Southern Resident Orca population.

Southern Resident Orca numbers have hit their lowest point in 30 years, with only 75 remaining after one went missing and is presumed dead. These whales have been under constant watch for the past three decades, with conservationists doing all they can to help their numbers grow. However, with the decline of the species’ food source as well as a boom in human population, they have faced many dangers over the years as well.

The decline of the Chinook salmon is a major reason for the species’ struggles; these fish are the Orca’s main food source, with their disappearance leading to the threat of starvation. Human intervention is another factor, with plans to build oil pipelines running through the ocean and disrupting the whales’ habitat and living patterns. Whales are such gentle and beautiful creatures; they do not deserve to suffer the pains of starvation and habitat disruption. Additionally, they are a vital part of controlling the krill population of the oceans.

With numbers this low, it may not be long until we see the complete disappearance of the Orca from this planet. Do not let this happen. Sign this petition to protect the remaining Orcas and to give them a chance to rebuild their numbers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Cruz,

With the disappearance and presumed death of a Southern Resident Orca, the species’ numbers have reached their lowest point in the past 30 years. The decline in the species’ main food source as well as constant plans to build oil pipelines running through the oceans are a threat to the species as a whole, both the result of a boom in the human population of San Juan.

Whales are beautiful and intelligent creatures, as well as vital to the control of the ocean’s krill population. We cannot let their numbers go any lower, or they will disappear completely within a few short years. We, as humans, must strengthen our protection of the Orca by rejecting plans to build oil pipelines and by enabling the Chinook salmon’s return to the ocean. You must aid us in the protection and conservation of this species before it disappears forever.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Robert Pittman

Protect Rare Cuckoo Bird from Extinction

Target: Greg Sheehan, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect yellow-billed cuckoo bird from extinction at the hands of habitat loss.

A rare cuckoo bird may soon be taken off the endangered species list. Ranchers and miners have filed suit, demanding the yellow-billed cuckoo bird be removed. Sign the petition to ask that the bird, rapidly disappearing from our nation’s forests, be protected.

The bird plays an important role in the ecosystem. It preys on some insects and other small animals, controlling their populations. However, the birds have all but disappeared in the western part of the United States as their habitats have been destroyed by land clearing and development.

Sign the petition to demand that the bird remain on the endangered species list. The yellow-billed cuckoo bird must be protected, not abandoned.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Sheehan,

Ranchers and miners have filed suit, demanding that the yellow-billed cuckoo be removed from the federal endangered species list. However, this bird matches the very definition of endangered. It has virtually vanished from the American West due to habitat loss and development.

To remove this species from the federal list will ensure its extinction. I demand you keep the yellow-billed cuckoo on the endangered species list.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: National Park Service