Tell the EPA: Protect Our Soil From Dangerous Pesticides
A new, peer-reviewed study by scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland shows pesticides can devastate soil life. Published Tuesday, it’s the largest, most comprehensive review of its kind ever done.
Just one shovelful of healthy soil contains more living organisms than the planet has human beings. This subterranean community is constantly working for us — growing our food, filtering our water, recycling nutrients, and helping regulate the Earth's temperature.
But when the Environmental Protection Agency approves pesticides, it doesn’t consider how they affect beneficial, soil-dwelling invertebrates like earthworms, ants, beetles and ground-nesting bees.
With hundreds of millions of acres of U.S. land being sprayed every year — and most of those pesticides ending up in the soil — it’s time for the EPA to stop ignoring the harm being done to the web of life below our feet.
Tell the EPA to protect soil from dangerous pesticides.
Petition Seeks Ship Speed Limits to Save Whales
The Center just petitioned to set mandatory speed limits for ships off California to save whales from getting hit and killed. Fatal ship collisions are a leading cause of death — and terrible suffering — for blue, fin and humpback whales off California’s coast.
This follows a January lawsuit over federal agencies’ failure to follow the Endangered Species Act in consulting on ways to reduce the number of whales struck by ships off California.
“Five dead whales have washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area since March 31,” said Center lawyer Catherine Kilduff. “This has to stop.”
Help us save whales and other species by donating to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. If you do it now, your gift will be matched one to one.
California Island Sparrow, Plants Saved From Extinction
On Wednesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing protection from the San Clemente Island Bell's sparrow and four plant species, having deemed them recovered. These species are found only on San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands off the southern coast of California.
Protected in 1977, these species were pushed to the brink of extinction by the introduction of invasive livestock. But thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the Bell’s sparrow population has bounced back to more than 4,000 adults. And the removal of goats and other non-native herbivores has let the island’s unique native plants recover.
We’re Suing to Protect Waterways Nationwide
On Monday the Center and allies sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its permit allowing “streamlined” development of oil and gas pipelines through wetlands, creeks and rivers nationwide. “Streamlined” means “with less oversight.”
The permit allows dirty, dangerous fossil fuel pipelines to be constructed through waterways that wildlife and people rely on. Plus the Corps didn’t consider the environmental impacts of pipeline construction, violating the Endangered Species, Clean Water and National Environmental Policy acts.
“There’s no justification for allowing destructive and dangerous pipelines to avoid rigorous environmental review,” said Center attorney Jared Margolis.
Members of Congress Ask for Monarch Money
There are now more Starbucks in California than monarchs — only about 1,900 were found in the Golden State in this year’s count, where once there were millions.
So 56 members of the House of Representatives have asked the Appropriations committee for $50 million a year to save and recover these backyard beauties.
“I’m grateful that members of Congress recognize we need to act quickly before America’s most iconic butterfly is lost forever,” said the Center’s Stephanie Kurose.
Mexico’s Highest Court Asked to Protect Maya From Hog Waste
Environmental groups and public-health experts, including the Center, have filed a brief with Mexico’s Supreme Court supporting the constitutional rights of Mayan children to a healthy environment and autonomy as Indigenous people. Mayan communities are threatened by a 49,000-hog industrial animal operation in the Yucatán Peninsula.
“Pollution from industrial pig operations has already disproportionately degraded huge swaths of Indigenous land and water in the Yucatán,” said Hannah Connor, a lawyer at the Center. “Adding another mega-operation will overwhelm this fragile ecosystem with farm-animal excrement and noxious gases.”
First Steps Taken to Fix Border-Wall Harm — More Needed
After tireless advocacy by a coalition of frontline voices, supported by the Center’s border team, finally the Biden administration is taking action to stop and fix the devastating damage caused by Trump’s border wall. It will work to address erosion and flooding risks posed by wall sections and will cancel military-funded construction contracts.
“This long-overdue reprieve is a huge step toward justice for people and wildlife in the borderlands,” said the Center’s Laiken Jordahl. “Our attention now turns to stopping construction not funded by the military, locking down funding for mitigation and wall removal, and working with legislators to repeal the REAL ID Act waiver and reinstate protections for the borderlands.”
Op-ed: Biden Hasn’t Taken on Beef, But He Should
Right-wing media recently brewed up a tempest in a teapot by claiming President Biden is trying to take away people’s burgers, writes the Center’s Stephanie Feldstein in The Washington Post.
That was false, but it’s too bad. Reducing red-meat consumption should absolutely be on the president’s agenda: Americans eat four times as much cow as the global average, and the country’s livestock are a leading source of methane emissions.
The truth is, the Biden administration should promote a more plant-based diet, writes Stephanie. It would help the planet and make us healthier, too.
The Revelator: The Wonder and Peril of Páramos
We’ve all heard of rainforests, but what about páramos? In South and Central America, writes researcher Daniel Henry Rasolt in The Revelator, these high-altitude moorlands are crucial ecosystems whose rich soils and unique roles in water storage and release bring an abundance of life and food to tens of millions of people. They’re biodiversity hotspots, host to vast arrays of species of plants and animals that live nowhere else.
But páramos are threatened by climate change and the expansion of land uses like cattle-raising and potato-farming — and the time for coordinated, effective action to save them is now.
Read more and, if you haven’t yet, sign up for The Revelator’s e-newsletter.
That’s Wild: The World’s Stretchiest Mouth Goes To …
The Guinness Book of World Records can help answer key existential questions like: Which dog can hold the most tennis balls in its mouth at the same time? (The answer: one Finley Molloy. This extremely good boy, a golden retriever, can gum six at once.)
But if you’re wondering which mouth is the stretchiest in the whole animal kingdom ... well, that’s a bit more complicated.
Is it a Burmese python in Florida who swallowed a white-tailed deer? Is it the blue whale who can hold 26,000 gallons of krill-filled water at a time? Or is it someone else altogether — who dwells almost 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface?
Read about it at LiveScience and follow Finley Molloy on Instagram.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
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Photo credits: Tomato plant seedlings courtesy USDA; humpback whale by Christopher Michel/Wikimedia; San Clemente Island lotus by Stickpen/Wikimedia; Kalamazoo River oil pipeline spill by Kevin Martini/Flickr; monarch butterfly by Justin DoCanto/Unsplash; pigs by minkuni/Flickr; U.S.-Mexico border wall by Laiken Jordahl/Center for Biological Diversity; high Andean páramo ecosystem within Purace National Park, Colómbia, by D.H. Rasolt; Burmese python by Brian D./Flickr.
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