Protect the Ocean: Ban Plastic Straws

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

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

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

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Karen2754

Protect Alaska’s Bears, Wolves, and Other Rare Animals from Slaughter

Target: Greg Sheehan, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department

Goal: Ensure protection of Alaska’s endangered bears, wolves, and other predators.

Most recently on his laundry list of environmental blunders, President Trump has now overturned a crucial protection rule that was preserving Alaskan wildlife. The Refuge Rule was installed in the state of Alaska to protect animals such as bears and wolves from hunters who sought to control the populations in local areas. Initially the rule was created as a way to provide ecological balance between the caribou and the predators (such as bears and wolves) because of inhumane poaching techniques used by hunters.

The leader of the Humane Society called this move “an outrage for any animal lover in America” and his point is backed up by animal rights activists across the country. The only way to stop this act is to have the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department reinstate the Refuge Rule. Stand with us in demanding U.S. Fish and Wildlife protect endangered species and reinstate the crucial Refuge Rule.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Sheehan,

President Donald J. Trump seems to have a special hatred for the environment and all those who inhabit the land. His policies seem to directly support the belief that he does not care about what happens to any life aside from his. The Refuge Rule overturn is a huge loss for Alaska to take as the state fights to protect its evolving wildlife.

Laws like this may seem small because they are based on one state, but if we allow Alaska to start killing its wildlife, what is to stop other states from following suit? We need to stand up for our endangered wildlife immediately. We demand you do something about this outrageous ban.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Carl Chapman

Applaud the United Kingdom for Shutting Off Coal Power

Target: Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Praise the United Kingdom for temporarily suspending all coal-powered energy generation across the country for several days.

As part of a recent experiment, the United Kingdom successfully proved that it could power its nation without using any coal over a period of several days. As the country moves toward a 2025 deadline to completely phase out this dirty, greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuel, tests such as these are an encouraging sign and are worthy of praise.

While United Kingdom’s economy once ran entirely off of coal during the Industrial Revolution, the country is now interested in staying competitive with much of the rest of the world, where renewable energy is on the rise. By embracing clean energy, the United Kingdom is taking steps to reduce the impact of global warming, which most scientists believe will become an increasingly serious threat to human civilization in the decades to come.

Although this recent coal-free experiment lasted only 55 hours, it demonstrated that the nation can provide energy to its over 65 million residents without using coal. Sign the petition petition to applaud this successful effort and urge the British government to continue its progress in phasing out fossil fuel usage.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

I am writing to praise the United Kingdom for its recent decision to turn off all coal-powered energy for over 55 hours by allowing renewable forms like solar and wind to pick up the slack. The carbon emissions produced by coal are a major contributor to climate change. Even a temporary hiatus such as this is a welcome step in the right direction.

I am hopeful that tests such as these are a positive indicator that your nation is committed to meeting its 2025 goals to phase out coal usage entirely. I urge you to continue your progress toward this deadline and to expand the use of renewable sources of energy nationwide.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alexandru Serbuta

Stop Loggers from Damaging Solomon Islands Drinking Water

Target: Rick Houenipwela (Hou), Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands

Goal: Don’t allow developers to damage residents’ drinking water.

Land clearing in the Solomon Islands is causing excessive soil erosion that is negatively impacting residents’ drinking water. Developers have prioritized logging and their own economic gains over public health in an area where residents don’t have access to alternative clean water sources. These forested tropical areas are being consumed by logging with no regard for the downstream impact on water quality and delicate ecosystems.

Developers on the Solomon Islands are promoting excessive logging with no plan for the protection of sensitive areas. Deforestation leads to bare soil conditions, which can cause significant erosion. Erosion of soil into downstream areas degrades the quality of water that residents rely on for drinking and bathing. In an island area, no drinking water alternatives exist for these residents. Soil loss also prevents the regrowth of vegetation in logged areas, which slows reforestation. Soil cannot quickly be replaced naturally, and the infertile soil or rock left behind is unfit for residents to farm on to feed themselves or to reestablish these sensitive forested areas. Downstream ecosystems can also be destroyed.

A national policy is needed to link these loggers’ activities with metrics for the protection of drinking water resources instead of just economic growth. Please, sign the petition below to take a stand to protect these remote residents and their access to clean water.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Hou,

Loggers’ destruction of the Solomon Islands’ tropical forests for economic gain will only continue without action to protect water resources. It is vital to protect both your citizens’ drinking water and your country’s unique tropical forest ecosystems.

The impacts of erosion on drinking water resources and downstream ecosystems can be devastating to residents. They have limited access to alternative drinking water sources, if clean water sources are negatively impacted by land clearing activities. In addition, the resulting soil loss will slow reforestation and choke downstream ecosystems. These factors need to be considered when weighing the economics of development.

Don’t allow these developers to prioritize their own economic gain over the well-being of your citizens. We urge you to adopt a policy to protect clean water and the beautiful ecosystems of the Solomon Islands.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Roosevelt Garcia

Stop Fishing from Destroying National Park

Target: Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia

Goal: Stop illegal overfishing from destroying the natural beauty of Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Komodo National Park is at the tipping point of destruction. Its natural beauty is being ravaged and its wildlife endangered by excessive tourist fishing, which while illegal is still happening every day. Through both line fishing from boats and net fishing from dive sites, aquatic wildlife is being stolen from the seas or becoming entangled and left to die in nets or lines.

Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, many of which are in danger due to the thoughtless and selfish actions of humans. Fishing is illegal in such places, yet people continue to do so anyway, robbing the oceans of valuable aquatic wildlife and doing damage to the ocean’s fragile ecosystem. Komodo Park is losing much of its wildlife, most notably sharks who are fished and killed for their fins. The park’s namesake, the Komodo dragon, is also listed as vulnerable; this status could change for the worse at any time.

We must protect this beautiful heritage site from thoughtless, law-violating fishermen, not only to preserve a national treasure, but for the sake of the ocean’s delicate ecosystem. Sign this petition to demand tightened laws against fishing at Komodo Park.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Widodo,

Komodo National Park’s natural beauty is being ravaged by overfishing of various vulnerable species. Despite fishing being illegal at this World Heritage site, tourists continue to bring their lines and nets, robbing the sea of at least a thousand creatures every day, especially sharks who are killed for their fins and the park’s namesake, the Komodo dragon, which is listed as vulnerable.

This park is at the tipping point of destruction. Thoughtless fishermen continue to violate the no-fishing laws, threatening the ocean’s delicate ecosystem in addition to the park itself. You must enforce stricter laws against fishing and stronger protection for the park’s wildlife before this beautiful site disappears forever. We cannot let the actions of selfish humans rob us of Komodo National Park’s natural beauty.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Adhi Rachdian

Don’t Abandon Recycling Programs

Target: Andrew Antoniolli, Mayor of Ipswich, Australia

Goal: Preserve recycling programs in the community and focus on building out local recycling facilities.

The Australian city of Ipswich has decided to scrap its waste recycling program, and instead will be sending all recyclable materials to local landfills, where they could pose significant environmental hazards. The move comes as the cost to recycle cans, bottles, and plastic goods has risen following China’s decision to block the import of recyclable materials, and it is feared more communities in Australia will soon follow suit. Human-generated waste is a huge problem worldwide, and measures must be taken to encourage recycling wherever possible.

While sending all garbage to area landfills may seem like an effective cost-cutting measure, it may cause more harm in the long run, especially to the environment. Government officials have complained that the rising costs have been worsened by the fact that many people do not sort their recyclables correctly, or that many recyclable materials arrive contaminated with other trash. A program that helps to educate the community and relies on local recycling facilities could create jobs, while also reducing the amount of contaminated or incorrectly sorted waste.

Landfills are an unsustainable solution to the serious problem of handling the tons of garbage communities like Ipswich and others generate each year. Sign the petition below to urge this Australian community to reverse its decision immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Antoniolli,

Recyclable waste, such as cans, bottles, and paper goods, should not be allowed to clutter landfill space simply because the cost of recycling has risen in recent years. These nonbiodegradable materials will sit in heaps for centuries, or perhaps for even thousands of years, when they could be put to much better use. This waste can be harmful to the health of the environment, or even pose a human health risk.

Your community can make a positive environmental impact by opening local recycling facilities that do not rely on the expensive export of recyclable goods. This could create jobs, and you could also educate the community in how to recycle properly to reduce the number of items that are incorrectly sorted or discarded. I hope that you will implement these changes and help protect the health of the environment and all Australians.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rupert Ganzer

Do Not Resume Hunting Endangered Fin Whale

Target: Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf. (roughly translated to Whale Inc.), Iceland

Goal: Do not resume the barbaric hunt of endangered fin whales after two years hunt-free.

The endangered fin whale will once again be threatened by gruesome killings from commercial hunting in Iceland, as the company that conducts the hunt, Hvalur hf, announced plans to resume the hunt after two years hunt-free. The whales are tied with rope to the side of a harpoon ship, dragged to shore, and butchered so that their meat can be sent to Japan.

The head of the company, Kristján Loftsson, said that the hunt was stopped two years ago for bureaucratic reasons, but public opinion has also been increasingly against hunting these whales, whose numbers are considered critically low outside of the Central North Atlantic region around Iceland. The aim of bringing the hunt back is reportedly to use the bones to make gelatin, the meat to develop iron supplements for the anemic, and the blubber for medical purposes that remain unspecified. This is allegedly a marketing strategy created to justify commercially hunting whales again, despite the cruelty of the practice and the risk to the conservation of these endangered animals. Sign below to demand that the fin whale be protected, not hunted.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear CEO Loftsson,

Please do not resume commercially hunting the endangered fin whale. The previous two years without the hunt were an important step for conservation, and to undo that for the sake of corporate profit is inhumane and irresponsible.

The public is opposed to hunting these endangered creatures, and the nature of the hunt—slaughtering whales for their meat and stringing them up to harpoon ships—is cruel and unnecessary, regardless of your company’s use of the carcasses. I urge you not to resume this brutal practice, and to instead work to protect these endangered creatures.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Buelow

Ban Dangerous and Deadly Fracking in Pennsylvania for Good

Target: Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania

Goal: Ensure the natural landscape of Pennsylvania remains intact by banning the harmful practice of fracking for good.

Across the nation, fracking has led to serious environmental degradation and even deadly ailments for both humans and animals. New York has implemented a statewide fracking ban and other states are currently in the process of doing so as well. However, the state of Pennsylvania, with its rich landscapes and many important bodies of water, has yet to ban the dangerous practice.

In fracking, oil and natural gas are obtained from deep under ground by “hydraulic fracturing.” This has led to oil and natural gas leaks, polluted water, deadly explosions, and even man-made earthquakes. Our environment will never be able to recover from the damage this practice has inflicted.

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf supports a ban on fracking in some areas. Sign the petition to ask for his support in banning fracking statewide.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Wolf,

Fracking has destroyed landscapes across the United States. It has led to man-made earthquakes, deadly explosions, polluted water, and barren farmlands. People have fallen ill and endangered species have died. The damage we do now can never be undone.

Several states have already or are in the process of banning fracking. I ask that you join them and protect the forests, rivers, farms, and streams of Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ruhrfisch

Don’t Increase Pollution From Cars and Trucks

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

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

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

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

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

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Salvatore Arnone

Do Not Make Pipeline Protests Illegal

Target: Taylor F. Barras, Louisiana Speaker of the House

Goal: Do not pass a broadly defined bill that could make the act of planning to participate in a pipeline protest illegal.

Louisiana and two other states—Minnesota and Pennsylvania—are attempting to crack down on pipeline protests by making the very act of planning to participate in one illegal. While it is already against the law to trespass on property owned by energy companies responsible for laying down pipelines, a newly proposed bill would go one step further and allow would-be protesters to face severe penalties for merely ‘conspiring’ to protest in the first place. In a state with a long history of battles against major oil companies, this law could silence demonstrators once and for all.

Inspired in part by the success of protesters in North Dakota in impeding progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline, Louisiana activists have staged their own protests against the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in that state, which could endanger the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of residents. These actions have resulted in a backlash in the fossil fuel industry and the political groups they are allied with, resulting in the creation of this unfair bill that could label any group of two or more individuals planning to protest at a pipeline site as ‘conspiring’ to break the law. Even if they never disrupt operations or vandalize property, they could still face serious penalties, including arrest and time spent in jail.

Louisiana must not approve such a harsh law that could so severely restrict its citizens’ First Amendment rights. Tell the Louisiana Speaker of the House that this fossil fuel industry-backed bill must be rejected.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Barras,

We are writing to urge you to reject a recently introduced bill that proposes to penalize people guilty of ‘conspiring’ to enter property owned by energy companies to protest pipeline construction. Trespassing and vandalization are already illegal in the state of Louisiana, making this new legislation designed to protect these companies’ assets completely unnecessary.

Protesters have a constitutionally sanctioned right to express their concerns regarding pipeline construction and other potentially environmentally damaging actions. That is why we, the undersigned, demand that you do not allow them to be fined or arrested for simply planning demonstrations without causing any actual harm to property or infrastructure.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bart Everson