Trump Rushes to Open Arctic to Drilling

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
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Trump Pushes Oil Industry for More Arctic Drilling

With his presidency now nearing its end, Trump is rushing through a process to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain to lease for oil drilling.

The administration has invited oil companies to name the areas they'd like to drill in one of the nation's most iconic and sacred landscapes. The Center for Biological Diversity joined Indigenous groups this week in condemning the move.

"On his way out the door, Trump is trying to lock in climate chaos and the extinction of polar bears and other endangered Arctic species. This is unconscionable," said the Center's Kristen Monsell. "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge can't be replaced, so we can't let this president give it away to Big Oil."

Learn more and speak up for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Bumblebee

Tell the EPA: Choose Pollinators Over Poisons

We can thank pollinators like bees for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat. We owe a lot to them — and now they urgently need our help.

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to approve yet another toxic pesticide. Called tetraniliprole, it's acknowledged by the agency to be "highly toxic" to bees and aquatic insects. This new approval for its use on many pollinator-attractive plants — including peppers, tomatoes, peaches, cherries and oranges — will likely fall to the next administration.

Roughly 40% of the world's insects may be facing extinction. The last thing they need is another poison to contend with. Tell the EPA in the Biden administration to keep tetraniliprole off our food and away from our bees.

Canada lynx

Legal Roundup: Montana, Wyoming and the Virginias

The Center's legal work of the last few weeks has focused on protecting interconnected resources: habitat, climate, and clean air and water.

In Montana we filed a legal protest challenging a massive logging project that would clearcut thousands of acres — including old-growth trees — and threaten an imperiled population of grizzly bears and protected Canada lynx habitat.

In Wyoming we challenged a plan to approve the sale of fracking leases on 275,000 acres of public land. Fracking those leases would destroy habitat for greater sage grouse, worsen air quality and cause up to 43 million tons of climate pollution.

And an appeals court has sided with the Center and partners by issuing an immediate stay of Mountain Valley Pipeline's stream and wetland crossing permits in northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia: a win for both people and imperiled species.

What Biden Can Do as a Climate President

Joe Biden

The Biden administration is set to take office in January, but it's unclear whether a Democrat majority in Congress will follow. Either way, as soon as he's president, Biden will have executive authorities he can use to take visionary and progressive climate actions to rapidly address the climate emergency — without Congress.

Read this article interviewing our Energy Justice Program Director Jean Su on how Biden can become a true #ClimatePresident.

Wolf

Center Op-ed: What's Next for Wolves

Gray wolves face an uncertain future after the Trump administration's recent move to strip their Endangered Species Act protections.

But as the Center's Collette Adkins writes in a new Chicago Tribune op-ed, President-elect Biden will now have the chance to break from the path taken by his predecessors. He can direct federal wildlife agencies to embrace a science-backed, full recovery of wolves in the lower 48 states.

And if Biden chooses instead to let the delisting to stand? Well, we've been in that fight before. Whatever comes next for wolves, we'll be on the front lines to protect them.

American marten

Saving Humboldt Martens — New Hopes, New Threats

"Martens belong to the weasel family and look a bit like squirrels that have been stretched out and trained for battle: cute, but ferocious."

That's one of our favorite sentences from this engaging new article on the plight of Humboldt martens, secretive carnivores usually associated with old-growth forests. One marten population, however, has managed to survive in the sand dunes of Oregon in a tiny strip of shore pines.

Follow along as a conservationist and her marten-tracking dog sniff out these rare, fascinating little mammals. You'll learn the latest on the species' plight, including from the Center's Tierra Curry, who's helped lead our successful decade-long campaign to win federal protection for Humboldt martens.

Revelator: Lessons From a Life in Conservation

Linda Cayot

Linda J. Cayot knows a thing or two about what makes conservation biology work. She devoted 40 years of her life to protecting the Galápagos Islands, including supervising breeding programs for giant tortoises and land iguanas.

Cayot retired earlier this year. The Revelator has an in-depth interview with her about her work, the value of taking the long view, and the importance of human relationships in conserving wild places and wild species.

Read the interview with Cayot and subscribe to The Revelator's weekly newsletter.

Will the Border Wall Come Down After Trump?

Border wall

Construction of Trump's border wall has been a disaster for Indigenous communities, endangered species, and the landscapes along the Arizona–Mexico border.

"It felt like someone took a dagger and drove it through my heart," Christina Andrews, a chairwoman of the Hia-Ced O'odham, told NBC News.

With the incoming Biden administration, the Center and allies will now be pushing to reverse Trump's actions along the border, including by halting wall construction and even tearing out what's been built. Read more at NBC News.

Human spermatozoa

Read This to Prepare for World Vasectomy Day

Tomorrow, Nov. 20, is World Vasectomy Day, a global movement to draw attention to men's crucial role in sexual and reproductive health. As the human population grows, we're crowding out the plants and animals we share the planet with. Yet 45% of pregnancies are unplanned, and women often bear most of the family-planning burden. Learn more and check out our video series to hear three men's takes on vasectomies.

Meanwhile more people are becoming aware of our population problem. A new Center survey shows that 73% of Americans think the world's population is growing too fast, and almost three-fourths agree human population growth is driving other animals' extinction. Among other key findings, our survey also suggests Americans are starting to understand their outsized environmental footprint and think the United States should step up its conservation game.

Brown bear

Wild & Weird: Testing Facial Recognition for Bears

Silicon Valley developers have teamed up with biologists and conservationists to develop artificial intelligence software that can identify, with some success, the faces of individual bears. The app they developed, BearID, could one day be used to monitor the health of bear populations around the world.

Read more at The New York Times.

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Photo credits: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Danielle Brigida/USFWS; bumblebee by Jice75/Flickr; Canada lynx by Nicolas Grevet/Flickr; Joe Biden by Gage Skidmore/Flickr; wolf by Jethro Taylor/Flickr; American marten courtesy USFWS; Linda Cayot at Pinzon Island in 1982 (c) Theresa Kineke Brooks; border wall by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; human sperm by Enver Kerem Dirican/Wikimedia; brown bear by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online.

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