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Let’s Make This A Better Year for Wildlife!

If your New Year’s Resolution involved walking more gently on the planet, practicing compassion or being a more conscientious consumer – then this blog is for you!     

Seeing the Amazon and Malaysia rainforests burn, as well as the animals and plants that call these forests home, just to grow cheap palm oil, breaks my heart. The videos of endangered orangutans being shot out of trees infuriates me.  So much cruelty and brutality for cheap, unnecessary products. 

Palm oil has become ubiquitous in so many products as American corporations, shareholders and consumers greedily demand cheap products.  

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. The palm fruit yields both palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and is an edible oil used in food. Palm kernel oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit and is used in the manufacture of cosmetics.

There are two main species of oil palm tree; Elaeis guineensis, native to West Africa and Elaeis oleifera, native to Central and South America. Both species grow in tropical regions including Colombia in South America, New Guinea in the Pacific, Ghana in Africa and Indonesia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. Palm oil plantations are the main driver for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. These two regions account for 85 percent of global production of palm oil.

When consumers try to purchase products without palm oil, the industry and corporations make it difficult for consumers to even know if a product has palm oil by using many different names on the labels. They literally try to trick us and this behavior should be illegal.   

If you do an internet search for “products without palm oil” many lists will pop up.  However, many of the products do have palm oil – just using a different name for palm oil. Some products market themselves as environmentally produced, such as Seventh Generation, Burt’s Bees and Toms of Maine but they contain palm oil. To stop purchasing palm oil one must read labels very carefully.  

Here is a list of names that are palm oil from the World Wildlife Fund:  

INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol  

Sidenote:  Not all vegetable oil is palm oil however if a product does not disclose a particular oil, such as peanut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil etc. then it is probably palm oil. Palm oil is a saturated fat, so if a product lists vegetable oil and contains saturated fats as more than 40 percent of its total fat content on its nutritional information label – then you can 99% assume it would be palm oil. If you are still unsure, ask the company.

Deforestation photo credit Wikimedia

Burning rainforests and lying corporations made me angry –  so I took action. I did research to find better products for me and the planet.   

Corporations, politicians and lazy consumers will make it seem too difficult to be a conscientious consumer.  But it’s not! There is a false narrative that one consumer can’t make a difference and only government action will solve problems.  

I hope the government will take action but at this point they are not and won’t for a long time. Even if a bill requiring transparency passed the House, Senate and was signed by Trump today – it would not go into effect for a few years and that may be too late for some species. In fact, the government right now is rolling back safeguarding environmental regulations. 

Only consumer choices make a difference right now – today.  

Personally, I sleep better knowing I am trying not to harm people or animals.  

Food is easy – just do not purchase processed foods.  Buy fruits and vegetables, they are palm free! Buy cereals and breads with a few clear ingredients and try to buy organic – great way to avoid palm oil.  Avoid nutella, most candy and junk food in general and you are avoiding palm oil. Your healthy choices help your body and the forests and the plants and animals that live there! 

The bathroom and laundry room are more complicated but there are great products available now.  

I use all these products and love them. 

Everything on this list is palm oil free. 

They are vegan. 

They are cruelty-free. 

Many are organic. 

Almost all avoid single use plastic. Massive amounts of single-use plastic (only approximately 9% of plastic is recycled in the USA) ends up in wildlife habitat and animal and human bodies. 

You can even purchase directly from the company and do not need to use Amazon.

Let’s encourage these businesses to keep doing the right thing by supporting them!      

These are just my recommendations. There are more products being created every day.  As for price, I am not sure if these products are cheaper or more expensive than what you can buy at a chain corporate store, but those products do not internalize their externalities.  You pay for corporate pollution with your health – both mental and physical – and they get the financial profit. Flip it over! Buy products that benefit you in their utilitarian purpose, as well as help your health both mental and physically.  

And let the good guys make a profit!   

And if they are more expensive and you can afford them, buy them.  Economies of scale will bring prices down for everyone. 

Toothpaste – 

Davids has no palm oil, vegan, cruelty-free, made from renewable energy and comes in a metal tube. 

https://davids-usa.com/

Moisturizers, shampoos, lip balms, deodorant, soaps etc.-

All vegan, cruelty-free, no palm oil and almost all the products are organic. 

Products do come in plastic containers and I am asking them to find a way to return and refill.

https://fancifulfox.myshopify.com/

Paper goods for people and planet –

Have the choice to purchase paper products made from bamboo and no dyes or 100% recycled and no dyes. 

Everything comes in recycled paper – no plastic.  

https://us.whogivesacrap.org/

Palm oil free laundry products – 

Vegan and cruelty-free. 

Almost all laundry detergent has palm oil – but not at MyGreenRefills. 

You get a plastic container with your first purchase, then refill packets that come in paper.  

https://mygreenfills.com/

Glass, bathroom, and other cleaning products – 

Vegan, cruelty and palm oil free.

No single-use plastic because the first order includes containers, after that refill packets in paper.

Refill is the new recycle!    

https://www.blueland.com/pages/our-mission

Please let us know if you are using other great products.  We need to inform and educate each other and promote these companies for doing the right thing! 

Urgent action needed for Idaho wolves

The state of Idaho has long been a hostile environment for gray wolves. Since losing Endangered Species Act protections through congressional interference in 2011, wolves in this state have faced increasingly gruesome threats.

Submit your opposition online through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) website. Scroll down and vote no on each proposal.

Just a few weeks ago, the state changed its rules to permit a single individual to kill up to 30 gray wolves annually. Now, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is considering a series of measures that will make their state even more inhospitable to wolves.

IDFG is proposing to:

1: Lengthen the legal wolf hunting season from 7 months to 11-months in much of the state;

2: Permit year-round wolf hunting on public and private land in southwest and south-central Idaho;

3: Allow deadly and inhumane snares in some areas, and;

4: Create 173 days of new wolf trapping opportunities on public land.

The state is accepting public comments through the end of day on February 10th. Please vote “do not support” on all proposals on their form.

Part 1: Borneo Burning: One of the Faces of Climate Change

This post is a part 1 of a 4-part guest series by Sherri Harvey

According to the United Nations, 2019 was one of the most disastrous years on record for Climate Change disasters. In fact, in the month of July alone, there was a climate crisis disaster reported each week. Climate Change is real, although looks different in every single part of the world. No matter the face, there is no denying we need to find solutions. In Australia and California, fires ravaged the land. Fires in the Amazon have destroyed a large portion of the rainforests. In Indonesia, industrial-scale forest clearing has resulted in a 31 percent loss of rainforest in the past twenty-five years. In Borneo alone, the home of one of our biggest rainforests, mining, logging, and palm oil cultivation, has resulted in the destruction of a large portion of trees, a natural defense against climate change. And we need our rainforests. 

Tropical rainforests are located in five major regions: America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and New Guinea, with smaller outliers in Australia. They offer biological and cultural diversity as well as climate stability. In Borneo, the rainforests host the perfect balance of flora, fauna, soil, water, and animals to create an antidote for climate change, but what do the threats facing one of the biggest rainforests in the world actually look like? Borneo is ablaze. Rainforests are being replaced by palm forests. Dayak culture is disappearing. Orangutans face extinction. Indonesians need our help. Indonesia needs the world’s attention. 

In February 2020, I will be visiting places in the jungle that have fallen victim to the effects of the local and global demands for Borneo’s commodities and for the entire world’s natural remedies against climate change: the trees. My mission includes traveling upriver on canoes, driving through the jungle landscapes and staying in long homes with the traditional Dayak culture to paint a picture of one of the largest rainforests in the world. 

Through photos, essays and video, I plan to give a voice to the rainforest, the Dayak community and the orangutans in order to magnify the issues facing Borneo, and ultimately, all of us. Help me by following my journey to magnify the voices of Borneo in order to begin to see the ugly face of climate change. I aim to show the world what life is like for one of the last remaining rainforests on the planet.  

Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved” says Jane Goodall. Follow me here and at www.sherriharvey.com to view the effects that deforestation, mining, soil erosion, and illegal wildlife trading have on the people who live there. Could ecotourism bring awareness to the region and help the world realize that Borneo is burning and that they need help from the rest of the world before it’s too late?

David Attenborough’s Orangutan vs. Bulldozer photo

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Sher Harvey/The Accidental Advocate

www.sherriharvey.com

Orangutan photo credit USFWS/Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

Wildlife Protection Legislation Advances in Congress

Today, the House Natural Resource Committee voted in favor of protecting wildlife, nature, and America’s legacy for future generations. 

We are in the sixth mass extinction event—the first caused by humans. One million species could be threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pollution, invasive species and climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. This report indicates that we have time to stem the crisis, but not without immediate action to protect wildlife and plants, especially imperiled species. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Grijalva (D-AZ), passed several bills today that will help us take immediate action to protect America’s web of life.

One bill overturns new rules issued by the Trump Administration that severely weaken the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4348, Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish In Need of Conservation (PAW and FIN) Act of 2019, will terminate those new rules and restore the primacy of science, not politics, in wildlife decision-making.

In addition, two important pieces of legislation will help safeguard wildlife (and in many cases people) via the creation and support of wildlife corridors. H.R. 2795,Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act,”  will establish National Wildlife Corridors to provide for the protection of habitats and migration routes of native fish, wildlife, and plant species on federal public land. H.R. 5179, “Tribal Wildlife and Corridors Act” support wildlife corridors on tribal lands.

Other bills that advance responsible stewardship of our natural resources address extreme weather and climate change on wildlife, plants and fisheries; protect habitat by establishing a new wildlife refuge in California; and address nutria, a very harmful invasive species.

“This is a great day for oday, the House Natural Resource Committee voted in favor of protecting wildlife, nature, and wildlife and for all Americans who wish to be free to experience our country’s natural heritage. Millions of Americans have asked Congress to address the biodiversity crisis, and today Members of Congress took a significant step forward. The bills passed in the US House Natural Resource Committee can help restore and create protections for threatened and endangered species across the country. We applaud the committee members and will continue to work to ensure these bills are soon passed by Congress,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.      

“We thank all Endangered Species Coalition member groups and activists for all their efforts to get these important bills moved out of committee,” continued Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.    

HR 4679, 2748, 5179, 2795 passed – 22-15.  

Democrat Reps. Brown, Cartwright, Case, Costa, Cox, Cunningham, Degette, Dingell,  Gallego, Garcia, Grijalva, Haaland, Horsford, Huffman, Levin, Lowenthal, Napolitano, Neguse, Sablan, San Nicolas, Soto and Tonko voted yes. 

Republican Reps. Bishop, Cook, Curtis, Fulcher, Gosar, Graves, Hern, Hice, Lamborn, McClintock, Radewagen, Webster, Westerman, Wittman voted no. 

HR 4348 passed 21 – 16, with Congressman Costa joining the Republicans. 

HR 1240, 2956 and 3399 passed by Unanimous Consent, with no recorded vote.   

To read the bills, click on links:  

  •  
  • H.R. 4679 (Rep. Cunningham), To require the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report examining efforts by the Regional Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare and adapt United States fishery management for the impacts of climate change, and for other purposes. “Climate-Ready Fisheries Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 2748 (Rep. Cartwright), To establish an integrated national approach to respond to ongoing and expected effects of extreme weather and climate change by protecting, managing, and conserving the fish, wildlife, and plants of the United States, and to maximize Government efficiency and reduce costs, in cooperation with State, local, and Tribal Governments and other entities, and for other purposes. “Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act.”
  • H.R. 5179 (Rep. Gallego), To require the Secretary of the Interior to establish Tribal Wildlife Corridors, and for other purposes. “Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 2795 (Rep. Beyer), To establish National Wildlife Corridors to provide for the protection and restoration of certain native fish, wildlife, and plant species, and for other purposes. “Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 4348 (Rep. Grijalva), To terminate certain rules issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce relating to endangered and threatened species, and for other purposes. “Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish In Need of Conservation Act of 2019.”
  • H.R. 1240 (Rep. Young), To preserve United States fishing heritage through a national program dedicated to training and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen. “Young Fishermen’s Development Act of 2019.” 
  • H.R. 2956 (Rep. Calvert), To provide for the establishment of the Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge.
  • H.R. 3399 (Rep. Harder), To amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003 to include California in the program, and for other purposes.

Positive Steps for Wildlife as House Natural Resource Committee Passes Protection Bills

Some Bills Include Bipartisan Co-sponsorship

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House Natural Resource Committee voted in favor of protecting wildlife, nature, and America’s legacy for future generations.

We are in the sixth mass extinction event—the first caused by humans. One million species could be threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pollution, invasive species and climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. This report indicates that we have time to stem the crisis, but not without immediate action to protect wildlife and plants, especially imperiled species. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Grijalva (D-NM), passed several bills today that will help us take immediate action to protect America’s web of life.

One bill overturns new rules issued by the Trump Administration that severely weaken the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4348, Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish In Need of Conservation (PAW and FIN) Act of 2019, will terminate those new rules and restore the primacy of science, not politics, in wildlife decision-making.

In addition, two important pieces of legislation will help safeguard wildlife (and in many cases people) via the creation and support of wildlife corridors. H.R. 2795,“Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act,”  will establish National Wildlife Corridors to provide for the protection of habitats and migration routes of native fish, wildlife, and plant species on federal public land. H.R. 5179, “Tribal Wildlife and Corridors Act” support wildlife corridors on tribal lands.

Other bills that advance responsible stewardship of our natural resources address extreme weather and climate change on wildlife, plants and fisheries; protect habitat by establishing a new wildlife refuge in California; and address nutria, a very harmful invasive species.

“This is a great day for wildlife and for all Americans who wish to be free to experience our country’s natural heritage. Millions of Americans have asked Congress to address the biodiversity crisis, and today Members of Congress took a significant step forward. The bills passed in the US House Natural Resource Committee can help restore and create protections for threatened and endangered species across the country. We applaud the committee members and will continue to work to ensure these bills are soon passed by Congress,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.     

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Contact: Leda Huta, lhuta@endangered.org, (202) 320-6467

Our House is On Fire

VOTE – SPEAK – ACT!

Every day we see more examples of wildlife being hurt and killed by climate change.  In Australia, more than a billion native species have burned to death, including kangaroos and koalas. Fires in the rain forests of Malaysia and Brazil contribute to global warming and kill endangered orangutans and giant armadillos. Plants and animals are taking the horrific brunt of human excess and greed. 

Sometimes I feel alone in my understanding of how terrible this crisis really is and how urgently we must act.  People often seem apathetic and behave as though someone else will solve the problem. 

But I am not alone. We are not alone. 

Firedrill Friday

Jane and Corry being arrested. Photo by Karen Ramsey

In response to the crisis, Endangered Species Coalition has been participating in Fire Drill Fridays in Washington DC.  Fire Drill Fridays were created by Jane Fonda, in order to support the efforts of Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists, to demand real climate action and a Green New Deal.  The events included educational webinars, inspirational speakers and civil action and disobedience.  

Hundreds of brave souls were arrested.  Jane Fonda was arrested four times and spent one night in jail. I was arrested twice.   

Getting arrested is scary. Fire Drill Fridays provided training on civil disobedience and the process of getting arrested. They warned us that we would be in painful handcuffs for hours, it would be very cold, and the bathroom situation was not ideal. 

When laws are created to protect corporations that hurt and kill people and animals, and our government defends those laws and corporations and not its citizens and voters, it’s time to challenge the law and engage in civil, non-violent disobedience.  

We have spent decades in court, published scientific reports, created petitions and action alerts and politely asked elected officials to do the right thing. Many of us have engaged in Get Out the Vote activities and vote in every election.  It has not been enough. Decision-makers are not listening. For some, it’s time for civil disobedience. 

Fire Drill Fridays started on Friday, October 11 and ended (in Washington DC) on Friday, January 10.   They are now moving to Los Angeles, California – and beyond.  

Greenpeace, an ESC member group, was the lead conservation organization helping Jane Fonda and will be coordinating Fire Drill Fridays throughout the country moving forward. 

Fire Drill Fridays’ specific topics included climate change and: the Green New Deal; oceans; women; war & military; environmental justice; water; food-justice-agriculture; justice and immigrant rights; jobs & communities; health; forests; and holding fossil fuel companies accountable.  

We most definitely are not alone!  Thousands of people joined the rallies, even on rainy and cold days. It was very inspiring. And the rallies had amazing speakers, experts, and celebrities who raised their voices and were arrested to call attention to the climate crisis! 

Endangered Species Coalition at Fire Drill Friday

Over the course of three months, the speakers on Thursday night webinars and Friday Capitol Hill rallies included: Abigail Leedy (Sunrise Movement), Jasilyn Charger (Indigenous Environmental Protector), Matt Nelson (Presente.org), Whitney Crowder, Jennifer Jacquet, (NYU), Denise Patel (GAIA), John Hocevar (Greenpeace), Rachel Carmona (Women’s March), Asali Devan Ecclisiates, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK), Krystal Two Bulls (Veterans Against the War), Ben and Jerry, Phyllis Bennis, Ciarra Taylor, Robert Kennedy Jr., Khadlja Khokar, Abigail Disney, Mark Magana (Green Latinos), Yvette Arellano, Von Hernandez (Break Free from Plastics), Nick Brana (Extinction Rebellion), Garett Reppenhagen (Veterans for Peace), Mary Grant (Food and Water Watch), Kallan Benson, Gail Taylor, Ricardo Salvador (UCS), Lindsey Allen (Rainforest Action), Jim Goodman (Farm Activist), Sarah Schumann (Commercial Fisherman), Joel Alejandro Salazar (Resilience Force), Rev Dousa, Rabbi Devorah Lynn, Rabbi Shneyer, Joshua Alvarez (Sunrise Movement), Claudi Quinonez (United we Dream), Rev Anderson, Imam Saffett Cadov, Liz Butler (FOE), Diamonte Brown (Teachers Union), Winona Laduke (Economist, author), Gloria Steinem, Roshi Joan Halifax, Laura Seydel, Dolores Huerta (labor activist), Al-Jen Poo, Rev. Barber, Rolando Navarro (CIEL), Veronica Coptis (Center for Coalfield Justice),  Kat Taylor (Beneficial State Bank), Annie Leonard, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Indigenous Climate Action) and Bill McKibben.  

Celebrities included Sam Waterston, Ted Danson, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Diane Lane, Piper Perabo, Manny Jacinto, Amber Valletta, Paul Scheer, Ian Armitage, Maura Tierney, Kyra Sedgewick, Taylor Schilling, Sally Field, Casey Wilson, Lily Tomlin, Josh Fox, Ian Armitage, Naomi Klein, Martin Sheen, Joaquin Phoenix and Amber Valletta.

We must not relent.  We must keep demanding real climate action now. Please create or join a Fire Drill Friday in your community! To get involved and plan a Fire Drill Friday in your community text 877877 or go to firedrillfridays.com.

How to help wildlife victims of fires in Australia

The deadly brush fires are burning in Australia have scorched nearly 18 million acres of land and caused massive devastation. Undeveloped areas such as forests and national parks have been particularly hard-hit and have caused great suffering and loss of wildlife.

Scientists estimate that 480 million animals may have already perished and expect that that number is likely to be much higher. While the situation is catastrophic, there is work being done on the ground to provide aid to or otherwise assist the many animals that have been affected by this tragedy.

In the immediate term, you can help by donating to organizations that are working to provide this aid and assist Australia’s wildlife.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and organizations that are working along with it have created a Gofundme page to raise needed funds to set up drinking stations for animals that remain in burned areas and to create a koala breeding program to recover this species.

WIRES Australia is rescuing and caring for victims of the fires and drought and reports that it attended more than 3,000 rescues in December.

The Minny Kitty Commune is accepting donations to organize emergency food and water delivery.

Animals Australia is providing support to wildlife veterinarians that are providing medial care to surviving animals.

The New South Wales RSPCA is working at evacuation centers to treat affected animals and is going into cleared areas to search and provide aid.

The New York Times has compiled an additional list of organizations working to respond to these fires. Please comment below if there are organizations doing direct service in Australia that you are supporting.

‘Chasing Presidents’ Urges Candidates to Support Endangered Species Act

Candidate Questionnaire Asks Presidential Candidates to Strengthen Protections for Imperiled Wildlife

Washington, D.C. – On the eve of the 46th birthday of the Endangered Species Act, a wildlife conservation group is asking all presidential candidates to strengthen our legacy of protecting imperiled fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Unveiled today by the Endangered Species Coalition and 13 of its member groups, Chasing Presidents is a new voter education project that asks each candidate for President of the United States to answer eight questions on imperiled wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. The questionnaire was sent to every candidate, regardless of party affiliation. 

Citing the recent weakening of the Endangered Species Act by the Trump Administration and a global assessment foretelling the extinction of one million species, the questionnaire asks candidates if they will commit to reversing these damaging rules, and if they will support robust funding for protecting imperiled wildlife.  

The Endangered Species Act is our safety for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction,” said Corry Westbrook, Senior Grassroots and Policy Advisor for the Endangered Species Coalition. “Our members and the voting public deserve to know where the candidates stand on protecting imperiled wildlife and the special places they call home.” 

The Trump Administration’s rules weakening the Endangered Species Act were issued in August by Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt. The regulations were finalized despite the overwhelming opposition of American citizens—more than 866,000 submitted comments opposing the new regulations. A decade of polling has consistently shown that the American public strongly supports the Endangered Species Act—90 percent in the most recent poll. And in 2017, more than 420 conservation organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, Secretary Bernhardt has come under fire for ethical issues and for hiding his lobbying against protections for an endangered fish.

The Endangered Species Act has a 99% success rate. Species such as the bald eagle, American alligator, humpback whale, Santa Cruz island fox, Tennessee purple coneflower and many more have recovered thanks to the Act. Hundreds more species have seen an incredible resurgence including the grey wolf, Grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, and Whooping crane.

Candidates must return the questionnaires by January 31. Responses will be posed online at www.endangered.org/chasing-presidents. 


Contact: Corry Westbrook, cwestbrook@endangered.org (202) 841-6371

Leda Huta, lhuta@endangered.org, (202) 320-6467

Your 2019 Holiday Shopping List is Here!

The holiday season can be pretty tough on the planet. The miles of saran wrap, tissue and wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, and garland are just a few of the single-use products that permeate our winter festivities. To make matters worse, picking out presents for our loved ones can be stressful. 

There are so many things to consider: Will they like it? Use it? Return it? Then there’s the environmental impact. Does the gift contain plastics? Or palm oil?

If you’re like me, you want your gifts to be thoughtful, useful, and good for the planet. But this isn’t always an easy task. That’s why we’ve put together a list of products and businesses to help make your yuletide decision-making a little easier!

First, let me say gifting experiences can be a powerful alternative to buying more stuff. Avoid the clutter and environmental impact by gifting your busy mom a massage. Or treat your BFF to a cooking class or a day at the natural history museum. There’s nothing like a no-waste gift that the recipient won’t soon forget! 

Or get crafty! Homemade gifts are often the most cherished. Here’s an amazing bat box DIY!

But in case that’s not your style, here’s a list of businesses and products, at a variety of different price points, that you can feel good about!

For the kiddos (and the young at heart):

 

For those that wear their hearts on their sleeves:

  • The “Save the Act” shirt from Jim Morris Environmental T-shirt Company

    We love supporting local businesses- especially locally businesses with a cause! Jim’s t-shirt company has donated over $180,000 and counting to environmental and wildlife groups. And they designed this shirt just for us! For every “Save the Act” shirt sold, they’ll donated $2 to our work!

  • The Endangered Species Coalition official merchandise from Bonfire 

    Show your love for wolves, wildlife, and grassroots engagement by sporting this (my personal favorite) Endangered Species Coalition t-shirt! Please note that these shirts are made to order, so shipping won’t start until December 27th. The proceeds help us continue to be a united and powerful voice for wildlife!

For the art lover:

  • Endangered Species Art Prints

    These are beautiful artistic renditions of endangered species from around the world. The original pieces were created by K-12 students in our Youth Endangered Species Art Contest. Those featured on the Ziggie website are finalists and semifinalists. We believe in the power of art and creativity to instill lasting change for the benefit of our wildlife. And as we look past our own generation to those of our children and grandchildren, we also believe that it is our young people that will lead us to a healthier future. Please support this program by sharing the gift of art with someone you love.

For the health nut:

  • Bluebird Botanicals

    Bluebird Botanicals is a CBD herbal supplement company and partner of the Endangered Species Coalition. We’ve done some great work together, including habitat restoration for the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse! Plus, they were just awarded their B-corp Certification! And that’s something you can definitely feel good about.

For the crafter:

  • eQuilter

    eQuilter.com has the largest online selection of high quality quilt fabrics and related products on the interwebs. What’s better? They LOVE wildlife and have raised over $1.6 MILLION for charitable organizations. And omg I cannot get enough of their beautiful wildlife panels.

For the outdoor-sy type:

  • Backpacker’s Pantry

    When you’re camping, one of the heavier things you have to deal with is the food. And when you’re walking long distances in the backcountry, that’s not exactly ideal. The rugged adventurers in your life will appreciate a few freeze-dried meals to lighten their load. They have great vegan and vegetarian options and an awesome packaging recycling program, so you can further reduce waste. Plus, they are a partner and supporter of the Endangered Species Coalition!

  • Fishpond 

    Here’s an awesome company whose founder goes above and beyond for healthy wildlife and waterways. Not only do they have super cool and sustainable products, their founder, John Land Le Coq, is a vocal Endangered Species Coalition activist!

But maybe you already have something in mind for that certain someone. If you’ll be shopping on Amazon.com, remember to choose the Endangered Species Coalition as your Amazon Smile charity!

We wish you all a happy, safe, and wildlife-friendly holiday! 

Hailey Hawkins

PS. If you are a business and would like to support endangered species and the Endangered Species Act, sign our letter here!

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Ornament photo credit NPS

Trump administration again reauthorizes wildlife-killing ‘cyanide bombs’ despite strong opposition

Via Western Environmental Law Center

The Trump administration today announced it will reauthorize use of sodium cyanide in wildlife-killing devices called M-44s. These “cyanide bombs” have received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite inhumanely and indiscriminately killing thousands of animals every year. They have also injured people.

“While it is encouraging that the EPA is taking at least some minimal action to protect the public from deadly M-44s, updating a few use restrictions –– nearly impossible to enforce and commonly ignored –– fails to meaningfully address the problem,” said Kelly Nokes, Shared Earth wildlife attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “EPA is blatantly ignoring its fundamental duty to protect the public, our pets, and native wildlife from the cruel, lethal impacts of cyanide bombs lurking on our public lands. We will continue to hold our federal government accountable to the law, and will continue our fight for a ban on M-44s once and for all.”

The EPA allows use of the devices by Wildlife Services, the animal-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EPA also authorizes M-44 use by state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas.

In August, the EPA issued an interim decision renewing sodium cyanide registration. Then a week later, it withdrew that interim decision for more discussions with Wildlife Services. Today’s announcement again reauthorizes use of the devices.

More than 99.9 percent of people commenting on the proposal asked the EPA to ban M-44s, according to analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center.

In response to concerns raised by the wildlife advocacy groups and others, EPA added some modest restrictions. For example, the devices cannot be placed within 300 feet of a public road or pathway, increased from 100 feet. Two elevated warning signs must be placed within 15 feet of each device, decreased from 25 feet. And no devices can be placed within 600 feet of a residence unless the landowner gives permission.

None of the restrictions will prevent killing of nontarget wildlife, however.

“This appalling decision leaves cyanide traps lurking in our wild places to threaten people, pets and imperiled animals,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA imposed a few minor restrictions, but these deadly devices have just wreaked too much havoc to remain in use. To truly protect humans and wildlife from these poisonous contraptions, we need a nationwide ban.”

“Tightening up use restrictions is turning a blind eye to the reality of M-44s,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “In my 25 years working with M-44 victims I’ve learned that Wildlife Services’ agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions.  And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals and potentially children from being killed. They cannot read them. M-44s are a safety menace and must be banned.”

“EPA’s minor revisions do little to reduce the risks sodium cyanide bombs pose to people, fail entirely to address risks to wildlife, including endangered species, and make clear the agency is prioritizing livestock interests over human safety and the environment,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute. “The simple solution to preventing further tragedies caused by these inherently dangerous devices is a nationwide ban.”

“USDA’s rampant, well-documented noncompliance with existing use restrictions has made clear that additional restrictions will not adequately protect the public, pets and wildlife from these deadly cyanide bombs,” said Carson Barylak, Campaigns Manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“Cyanide bombs randomly kill wildlife and place children and pets in danger,” said Tara Thornton, deputy director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “There is no place for them on the landscape.”

“The EPA restrictions are actually weaker than those that were already in place in Idaho when Canyon Mansfield and his dog were poisoned in 2017,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “It is absolutely appalling that the livestock industry, which is supposed to be regulated by the EPA, is instead dictating the agency’s policy to extend the use of deadly M-44 cyanide bombs and their lethal effects on native wildlife, families, and their pets.”

“New Mexico is a hotbed for sodium cyanide bombs and will continue to be with this announcement,” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “The only real solution to the problem of poison bombs on the landscape is to remove them entirely – they are ineffective, indiscriminate, cruel, and do not belong.”

According to Wildlife Services’ own data, M-44s killed 6,579 animals, mostly coyotes and foxes, in 2018, down from 13,232 animals in 2017. Of these, more than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including a bear, foxes, opossums, raccoons and skunks. These numbers are likely a significant undercount of the true death toll, as Wildlife Services is notorious for poor data collection and an entrenched “shoot, shovel, shut up” mentality.

Background

The devices spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait. Anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray.

In response to a 2017 lawsuit brought by the Center and its allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to analyze impacts of M-44s on endangered wildlife by the end of 2021. Another 2017 lawsuit by the wildlife advocates prompted Wildlife Services in Colorado to temporarily halt the use of M-44s while it completes a new environmental analysis on its wildlife-killing program.

Last year, EPA denied a 2017 petition authored by the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians that asked for a nationwide ban on M-44s.

M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two incidents in Idaho and Wyoming in 2017. A wolf was also accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon that year. In response, Idaho instituted an ongoing moratorium on M-44 use on public lands, and Oregon this year passed legislation banning them in the state.

Contacts:

Kelly Nokes, Western Environmental Law Center, (575) 613-8051, gro.walnretsew@sekon

Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, gro.ytisrevidlacigoloib@snikdac

Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003, gro.esnefedrotaderp@skoorb

Bethany Cotton, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2148, gro.enilnoiwa@ynahteb