A Sickening Sight: Trump's Seditious Mob

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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We Need Action Against Trump After Mob Attack on Capitol

The Center for Biological Diversity condemns the seditious, violent storming of the U.S. Capitol and the political leaders who fomented it and fed the fire with months of lies about Trump's election loss.

It's sickening but utterly predictable to see Trump's mob raise a Confederate flag in the Senate. Trump has aggressively weaponized racism from the beginning to end of his presidency.

Make no mistake: Trump will continue to try to overturn American democracy during the next 13 days — and beyond. The Center calls on all Trump cabinet members and White House staffers to resign immediately and for Congress to take emergency action to neutralize Trump's powers. Democracy demands nothing less.

Monarch butterfly

Launched: Lawsuit to Protect Monarchs, 10 Other Species

The Trump administration has protected fewer species than any other administration since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973. In the past four years, just 25 rare and vanishing species have been listed as threatened or endangered.

We're not going to let that stand.

On Tuesday the Center launched a lawsuit against outgoing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for delaying protection for 11 species that deserve endangered status but were put on a waiting list.

Those 11 are the monarch butterfly, eastern gopher tortoise, Peñasco least chipmunk, longfin smelt, Colorado Delta clam, three Texas mussels, magnificent ramshorn snail, bracted twistflower and northern spotted owl.

This isn't the first of our lawsuits over the Trump abandonment of hundreds of rare and vanishing species, and it won't be our last. We'll be working with the Biden administration to secure protections for imperiled plants and animals before it's too late.

Please support our fight with a gift to the Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Sandhill cranes

Trump Guts Bird Protections as Gift to Industry

In the final weeks of his presidency — and in defiance of a court decision finding the move to be illegal — President Trump attacked one of the United States' most important laws protecting wildlife. On Tuesday his administration published a rule that exempts polluters from prosecution or penalties under the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as long as they didn't "intend" to kill birds.

"Trump officials are giving oil companies and other industries a license to kill birds," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "Vast numbers of them will be electrocuted by power lines, drowned in oil waste pits, and killed in other easily preventable ways — with no consequences for the killers."

We're preparing to challenge this new rule in court, along with pushing the Biden administration to reverse course.

Learn more from The Washington Post.

Polar bear

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oil Leases Auctioned

On Wednesday the Trump administration held a sale of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It railroaded this sale through a global pandemic and economic recession with no regard for frontline Alaska Native communities, climate science, wildlife or public process.

And what happened? Almost no one showed up to bid on the chance to drill the coastal plain — an expensive risk that's not worth taking. The failed sale generated only $7 million, or less than 1% of what was promised by the feds.

President Biden has made permanent protection for the Arctic Refuge a top priority. It's crucial that his administration come in on Day One using all the tools at its disposal to stop the industrialization of this iconic national treasure.

Get more from the BBC.

Dynamiting for border-wall construction

With just weeks left in office, Trump is in a mad dash to build as many miles of border wall as possible, bulldozing protected public lands, dynamiting mountains, and severing habitat for endangered species. Watch our new video on Facebook or YouTube to see what's happening at the border right now — and hear President-elect Joe Biden's promise that "not another foot" of wall will be built under his watch.

Plastic beach trash

The Need for a Plastic-free President

Plastic pollution is not only pervasive in our oceans, as the Center's Miyoko Sakashita wrote Monday, but in our drinking water, our bodies, and even the placentas that nourish our babies in the womb. Yet the fossil fuel industry plans to make more plastic, not less.

It's time for the new president to embrace our Presidential Plastics Plan to tackle the problem — and in this editorial, the Los Angeles Times agreed. Single-use plastics are a climate change issue, wrote the newspaper's editorial board, and our action plan is a good way to start solving it.

Center Op-ed: Safer Boating Will Help Save Manatees

Manatees

As Center campaigner Sarah Gledhill writes in a new opinion piece, a staggering 593 Florida manatees died in 2020, many after being struck by boats. By improving its boater-safety education requirements, Florida could help save these fascinating imperiled "mermaids" — at the same time preventing boating accidents.

Read the op-ed to learn about the state's proposed "simple but much-needed measure in 2021 to help manatees and the rest of us safely navigate our crowded waterways."

Freshwater Mussels, the 'Faceless Fauna' That Clean Rivers

Sheepnose mussel

To tell the surprisingly epic, sad story of the decline of the Midwest's once-abundant freshwater mussels — and scientists' efforts to bring them back — the Missourian talked to biologist Tierra Curry. Tierra, who runs the Center's Saving Life on Earth campaign, can often be found tooting these mollusks' horn ... in fact, she has to be leaned on pretty hard to talk about anything else.

Read more about dams, pollution, buttons, pearls and Tierra's mussel fandom.

Radioactive stack

We just sued the feds over their approval of the use of radioactive phosphate-mining waste in road-building, even though that waste threatens human health and needs to be stored in special "stacks." In our new video on Facebook or YouTube, learn about the billion tons of radioactive waste in Florida right now — and why using it in roads puts profits before public health.

How to See — and Save — More Wildlife in Your Yard

Backyard hummingbird

If you want to make sure your backyard — big or small — is a friendly place for wild critters, check out this advice from writer and Center member Jeff VanderMeer.

The Do's include planting native flowers, bushes and trees and moving away from grass; the Don'ts include using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Revelator: Species Declared Extinct in 2020

Red handfish

A powerful new article by The Revelator's editor, John Platt, profiles the dozens of species that scientists declared extinct last year due to humanity's destructive effects on the planet. He also discusses why we must mourn them while still holding out hope they may be rediscovered — and doing all we can to prevent more unreplaceable animals and plants from disappearing in the years to come.

Read more and subscribe to The Revelator's email newsletter.

Valles Marineris

Wild & Wondrous: Deep Canyon, Red Planet

NASA has released stunning new photos of a canyon 10 times longer and three times deeper than Arizona's Grand Canyon. Called the Valles Marineris, the massive canyon sits some 87 million miles beyond Earth — on Mars.

The largest known canyon in the solar system, Valles Marineris may have been formed in part by an ancient river.

Read more at LiveScience.

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Photo credits: U.S. Capitol by Cameron Smith/Unsplash; monarch butterfly by Justin DoCanto/Unsplash; sandhill cranes by Mark Moschell/Flickr; polar bear at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Susanne Miller/USFWS; dynamiting to build border wall in Arizona courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; plastic bottle on beach by seefromthesky/Unsplash; manatees courtesy NOAA; sheepnose mussel by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS; radioactive phosphogypsum stack; backyard hummingbird by Joshua J. Cotton/Unsplash; red handfish by Thor Carter/CSIRO; Mars' Valles Marineris courtesy NASA/JPL/UArizona.

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