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Bull Kelp Urgently Needs Protection
Kelp is a kind of seaweed that’s crucial to coastal habitats, blocking erosion and offering food and shelter to ocean wildlife. On the U.S. West Coast, sea otters, salmon and abalone depend on waving underwater forests of bull kelp. But in some areas, the species has declined by 90% due to climate change, development and other threats.
So the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned to protect bull kelp under the Endangered Species Act.
“Extreme heat events over the past eight years have caused immense damage to bull kelp populations, so we need to act quickly,” said the Center’s Mukta Kelkar, who coauthored the petition.
Of course bull kelp isn’t the only species being devastated by the climate emergency. As this summer’s extreme weather makes painfully clear, climate change threatens all of life as we know it — and calls for visionary action.
Read more in this new Newsweek op-ed by the Center’s Jean Su and Maya Golden-Krasner, and add your voice to our urgent call for President Biden to declare a climate emergency.
Take Action: Stop the Sea Port Oil Export Terminal
The Sea Port Oil Terminal is a massive crude-oil export project on the Texas Gulf Coast. If built it will pollute communities, worsen climate change, and hurt ocean wildlife.
The terminal will release harmful air pollutants, intensifying public-health problems in a region that already suffers from poor air quality. It will increase the risk of oil spills, one of which could destroy the Surfside Beach nesting grounds of endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles — a species still struggling to recover from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Spills also threaten people and industries like fishing and tourism that depend on healthy ocean ecosystems.
For years residents have fought Big Oil to stop this terminal. Tell the federal government to stand up for Gulf Coast communities.
Cold-Adapted Pikas Are Disappearing
As tough as they are tiny, American pikas are adapted to the cold climate of high-elevation boulder fields and alpine meadows in the mountains of the U.S. West. But the very adaptations that help them survive make them extra sensitive to climate change.
Now, research shows, pika populations at lower elevations in the Great Basin — and also at higher elevations in California’s Sierra Nevada — are disappearing as temperatures get hotter. A recent Nevada report confirmed pika sightings in only 22 of the state’s hundreds of mountain ranges.
The Center has been working to protect pikas under the Endangered Species Act since 2007. With their predicament more urgent than ever, we’re not about to abandon these little mountain mammals.
In Wyoming, Court Affirms Feds’ Halt of Oil Leases
In good news for western public lands and the species who live on them — from greater sage grouse to pronghorns — a federal judge in Wyoming has affirmed Biden administration decisions, made in 2021, to postpone oil and gas lease sales.
“Allowing any new fossil fuel projects on federal lands, including oil and gas leasing, is a dangerous mistake,” said the Center’s Taylor McKinnon. “We need to save our public lands for the wildlife that depend on them. And protect ourselves from climate catastrophe by keeping oil and gas in the ground.”
The Western Heat Wave Is Hurting Animals, Too
The heat wave and drought currently sweeping California, Nevada and other parts of the western United States are clearly harming people — but wild animals are suffering, too.
Those who can’t regulate their temperature or get away from the heat — including endangered tiger salamanders, chinook salmon and intertidal creatures like mussels and barnacles — are at particularly grave risk. Last summer, in the Pacific Northwest heat wave, 1 billion sea creatures are believed to have died.
“These extreme heat waves are really hitting many of California’s wildlife species really hard,” Center scientist Shaye Wolf told The San Francisco Chronicle.
144,000 Call for Old-Growth Protection
The Center and allies have delivered 144,000 public comments — including many from our supporters — urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Interior Department to protect old forests and trees from logging.
“Logging is the greatest immediate threat to the beautiful old trees and forests on our public lands,” said the Center’s Randi Spivak. “By letting old-growth and mature trees grow, we’ll be safeguarding carbon, clean water and air, and biodiversity. Our climate and future generations depend on it.”
If you submitted a comment to protect these climate champions, thank you.
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Revelator: Must Louisiana Divert or Die?
Due to climate change and sea-level rise, Louisiana is losing land along the coast more quickly than anywhere else in North America. From 1932 to 2016, almost 1.2 million acres of land disappeared, and more vanishes every day.
A controversial plan to save coastal communities and ecosystems would change the Mississippi River’s flow and sediment to make up for lost coastline land. What could that mean, and what are the risks?
Read more in The Revelator. And don’t miss the free e-newsletter bringing you each week’s best environmental articles and essays.
That’s Wild: If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal
In a new book about animal intelligence, If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal: What Animal Intelligence Reveals About Human Stupidity, scientist Justin Gregg explores questions of animal sentience and cognition — what we know, don’t know, and wrongly assume about the lived experience of fascinating creatures like dolphins, elephants and bumblebees. Read an excerpt at LitHub.
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Photo credits: Sea otters and kelp by Kieran Wood/Unsplash; Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling by Terry Ross/Flickr; pika by Sunny/Flickr; pronghorn by Dan Arndt/Flickr; California tiger salamander courtesy USFWS; forest by Randy Beacham; city via Canva; storm system via NOAA; narwhal illustration from the public domain.
Center for Biological Diversity
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