For Immediate Release, October 31, 2013
Contact: Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960
Notorious Koch Brothers Win 2013 Rubber Dodo Award
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Koch Brothers, an ultra-secret and super-rich duo that shamelessly funnels money to the climate-denier movement and campaigns to ram through the Keystone XL pipeline, are the lucky recipients of the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2013 Rubber Dodo Award, given annually to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.
Previous winners include climate denier James Inhofe (2012), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011), former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007).
“When it comes to pulling levers behind the scenes for those who wreck our climate, destroy wild places and attempt to kill our last remaining wildlife, the Koch Brothers are in a class by themselves,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center. “These guys are the poster children for despicable corporate greed. The Koch Brothers get the 2013 Rubber Dodo for a terrible global legacy that could take hundreds of years to undo.”
Charles G. and David H. Koch have worked for years behind the scenes to prop up right-wing operations like the climate-denial movement, the Tea Party, and efforts to ram through Keystone XL and strip federal protection for the last wolves left in the lower 48 states. Along the way the billionaire brothers and their network have fought (with substantial financial backing) against pollution-control measures, clean energy and environmental regulations.
The Keystone XL pipeline project alone will facilitate the burning of so much fossil fuel that a leading climate researcher has said it equates to a “game over” for avoiding climate catastrophe. The pipeline will also put more than a dozen endangered species in harm's way, including whooping cranes and northern swift foxes, and pose a danger to hundreds of rivers and streams. The State Department estimates the pipeline could spill up to 34,000 gallons of tar sands oil each year.
“Either their moral compass is broken or they never had one in the first place,” Suckling said. “Whatever the case, the Koch Brothers have repeatedly put themselves on the wrong side of some of the most important environmental issues of our age, whether it’s Keystone XL, the climate crisis or wildlife extinction.”
More than 14,500 people cast their votes in this year’s Rubber Dodo contest. Other official nominees were Rep. Doc Hastings, who has pushed to erode the Endangered Species Act; Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company pushing the Keystone XL pipeline; and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, for endlessly opposing common-sense efforts to stop the poisoning of wildlife from toxic lead ammunition.
Background on the Dodo
In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it’s the dodo — possibly the most famous extinct species on Earth after the dinosaurs. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.
Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681 the dodo had vanished, hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover while pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.
The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse” (that nation’s name for the little grebe).
The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were likely produced by overfeeding captive birds.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.