No. 642, November 8, 2012
Top Five Priorities for Obama's Second Term
Election Day's over, but sadly we can't rest. The most pressing environmental issues of our time -- from climate change to the species extinction crisis -- remain as urgent as ever. Just hours after President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night, the Center for Biological Diversity released a to-do list for our second-term president: what ought to be his new top five issues.
Those priorities, detailed in an op-ed in The Huffington Post by Center Executive Director Kierán Suckling, are: 1. Address climate change and ocean acidification; 2. Stem the species extinction crisis; 3. Keep politics out of the Endangered Species Act and other vital environmental laws; 4. Safeguard our public lands, wild places and the Arctic; 5. Embrace clean energy.
Thanks to everyone who voted on Tuesday. There are challenges ahead, and we'll be counting on you to help us push all of our leaders to do what's needed to save our wildlife and our climate.
Read Kierán's piece in The Huffington Post and then share it with your friends on Facebook.
Superstorm Sandy Puts Climate Crisis Back on Front Page
Superstorm Sandy delivered terrible devastation and tragedy. It also pushed climate change closer to where it needs to be: at the forefront of American public consciousness.
Media outlets nationwide are running stories about the link between the storm and the deepening climate crisis. Even the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek declared, "It's Global Warming, Stupid." (Another Bloomberg, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed President Obama at the eleventh hour, said Sandy's impacts should compel leaders to take "immediate action" on climate.)
Shaye Wolf, the Center for Biological Diversity's climate science director, wrote an op-ed this week that went to hundreds of newspapers around the country about Sandy, our climate and the urgency of using the Clean Air Act to cut carbon emissions. "When it comes to climate change, we've been acting like the proverbial man with the leaky roof," Shaye writes. "When it's raining, we're too focused on the weather to fix the problem. And when the storm moves on, so does our attention. But kicking this problem down the road is no longer an option."
Read Shaye's full piece in The Miami Herald and watch Center attorney Bill Snape talking about the same issue on E&E TV.
Suit Filed to Save Sea Turtles From Hawaiian Fishery
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed suit Friday to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service from doubling the number of endangered sea turtles allowed to be caught and killed by Hawaii's longline swordfish fishery every year.
A new rule put out by the Fisheries Service, which we're opposing in court, rolls back protections we achieved in a 2011 settlement that capped the number of sea turtles that could be caught by the fishery at 17 loggerheads and 16 leatherbacks. The new rule lets the fishery kill 34 loggerheads and 26 leatherbacks.
"The ocean's biggest sea turtles will soon be extinct unless they're protected from drowning in fishing gear. It’s tragic that these large commercial fisheries are killing animals by the thousands for the sake of a few profitable swordfish," said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center's oceans director.
Read more about the lawsuit at ABC News.
Get Lead Poisoning Out of Sportsmen’s Bill -- Take Action
Just because the election's over doesn't mean we can take our eyes off the ball in Washington, D.C. As early as next week, the Senate could be voting on a provision that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from doing anything to protect wildlife that's poisoned and killed by toxic lead ammunition fragments left in the wild.
The NRA is pushing this provision in the so-called "Sportsmen's Heritage Act." If the language goes through, it will handcuff the government from evaluating or preventing lead poisoning of millions of animals each year, including endangered California condors, eagles, loons and swans.
We need your help to make sure this provision remains only an NRA pipedream. Please take action today.
Second Lawsuit Filed to Halt California Water Grab
On Friday the Center for Biological Diversity and partners filed a second lawsuit challenging the Cadiz Water Project in Southern California. The water grab would pump more than 16 billion gallons per year out of the Mojave Desert, robbing wildlife species like bighorn sheep, Mojave fringe-toed lizards and desert tortoises of their life-sustaining water.
The plan aims to support Orange County sprawl by sucking water out of an underground reserve near Cadiz, a town in eastern San Bernardino County. The project has been widely opposed and violates San Bernardino County's own groundwater ordinance -- originally created to prevent a similar scheme, proposed by the same company, more than 10 years ago.
"This shortsighted water grab will benefit those pushing more sprawl in Orange County, but it'll rob some of California's rare species of the water they need to survive," said Adam Lazar, an attorney with the Center.
Learn more about our work against the Cadiz project in our press release.
Tackle Climate Change With Nationwide “Do the Math” Tour
This year's devastating droughts, extreme storms and record-breaking heat waves create a simple equation: The effects of climate change are adding up, and we need to act now to change the odds in our favor.
Luckily we aren't alone in the fight. The Center for Biological Diversity is partnering with 350.org and its founder Bill McKibben on a nationwide trek -- the "Do the Math" tour. Events across the country feature guest speakers who explain the scary math of climate change and lay out a plan to take on that challenge.
The tour hits both coasts next week -- from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Boston and New York City -- but there are events scheduled across the country. Find out if "Do the Math" is stopping in a city near you and get more info on the tour here.
Learn more on our events page. You can also contact Rose Braz, the Center's climate campaign director.
Washington State’s Elhwa River Runs Free
After a dynamite explosion, the reservoir known as Lake Mills drained through the rubble of Glines Canyon Dam last week, setting free Washington's majestic Elwha River -- one of the few Pacific Northwest rivers that's still home to all five native species of Pacific salmon, which now will be able to return to healthy runs again. The Elwha is the site of the largest dam-removal project in U.S. history.
Once dam removal is complete, salmon will recolonize 70 miles of river habitat in Olympic National Park. About 50 feet of the Glines Canyon Dam remain standing at this time; the last pieces of the former 210-foot-tall structure will be gone by May.
Today the river crashes over what's left of the dam in a murky waterfall. While the river will take a little longer to reclaim its natural state, the reservoir-and-dam system that hampered the river and its wildlife for decades is now history. Said Andy Ritchie, a restoration hydrologist for the National Park Service, "She's all river now."
Read more, and see dramatic before-and-after pictures, in The Seattle Times.
Biodiversity Briefing: Conservation in the Anthropocene -- Listen Now
In the Center for Biological Diversity's latest "Biodiversity Briefing" phone call with key supporters, Executive Director Kierán Suckling discussed the recent debates among some conservationists and scientists over renaming our geological era "the Anthropocene." Some are, rather ominously, pushing a new conservation ethic along with that renaming -- one that claims that because humans have become a dominant force on the planet, conservation work should focus first and foremost on efforts they say directly benefit people.
The Center, of course, believes wild places remain a vital part of our world and our culture, and that we must fight to make sure they endure. Yes, the human influence on the planet is extreme and growing, but that's all the more reason to save the wild places animals and plants need to survive -- not only for the intrinsic value of other life forms, but for our own future welfare, both physical and emotional. This is exactly not the time to give up on nature.
You can now listen to the first part of the briefing. These personal phone briefings, Web presentations and Q&As with Center staff are open by special invitation to members of the Center's Leadership Circle and Legacy Society. For information on how to join this group of supporters and participate live when the calls happen, email Major Gifts Associate Julie Ragland or call her toll-free at (866) 357-3349 x 304.
Wild & Weird: Did You Vote Donkey, Elephant or Boar Hog?
Animals have long played an important symbolic role in electoral politics. There's the Democratic donkey, which first served as a slur against Andrew Jackson for his hardheaded or "jackass" ways; there's the Republican elephant that first appeared in a cartoon in Harper's Weekly in 1874. Both are highly recognizable symbols of political affiliation.
And let's not forget the numerous critters that have been nominated -- often in mocking protest or simply for fun -- for a position in the larger circus of human government, a few of which have actually won:
- Boston Curtis, a mule, won the Republican precinct seat in Milton, Wash., in 1938.
- Pigasus the Immortal, a 145-pound boar hog, was nominated by the Yippies for president of the United States at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. During the announcement of his candidacy, Pigasus was seized by Chicago police, and many of his constituents were arrested.
- Clay Henry III, a beer-drinking goat, served for many years as the symbolic mayor of the unincorporated community of Lajitas, Texas.
- Stubbs, a house cat, was elected mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, in 1997.
Read more about how other species interact with democracy in the New Scientist and the Mother Nature Network.
Photo credits: loggerhead sea turtle courtesy Picasa Creative Commons/Joseph and Farideh; I voted courtesy Flickr/BXGD; Bill Snape courtesy E&E TV; leatherback sea turtle by Scott R. Benson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; trumpeter swan by Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service; bighorn sheep by Steve Elkins; "Do the Math" tour logo courtesy 350.org; coho salmon courtesy Flickr/Dan Bennett; Yosemite Valley courtesy Flickr/msauder; party mascots courtesy Flickr/DonkeyHotey.
This message was sent to .
The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us.