Friday, August 26, 2016

Successes this week!

China Plans for National Panda Park.
Giant Panda - Fernando Revilla
Target: Yao Sidan, Head of Sichuan’s Provincial Forestry Department

Goal: Applaud authorities’ plans for a national panda park in China to protect the endangered species.

Efforts to create a national park that will preserve and protect the nation’s endangered species of giant pandas have been drafted by the forestry authorities of three Chinese provinces, Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi. The plans have been completed and have been submitted to Beijing where they are awaiting official approval. Various petitions on ForceChange, including this one, have long advocated for the protection of the giant panda species in China.

While the specific facts surrounding the park are still vague, including the exact location of the park, authorities say that it will stretch across the three Chinese provinces in charge of the proposal, where there are large populations of the endangered animal. Sichuan has the largest population of the animal in the country.

Although the giant panda population has seen an increase in recent years, there is still much that can be done to protect it. This national park is one of the first steps that may lead to the giant panda’s comeback in its natural habitat.

The national panda park is one of four national parks Chinese state media has announced will be built to protect the nation’s rare and diverse wildlife. National parks are also being planned for the preservation and protection of Asian elephants, Tibetan antelopes, and the nation’s tigers and leopards.

It appears that authorities have been listening. Sign our petition to applaud one of the authorities behind the plan, Yao Sidan, who is head of Sichuan’s Provincial Forestry Department. Thank him for taking action to protect this marvelous species.

Awesome Florida County Plans to Limit Plastic Balloons to Protect Sea Turtles. Humans don’t always realize how much our actions affect the world around us. It may not always seem like it, but our actions are wavelets upon our environment, forever rippling outwards and affecting more people and animals than we may realize. We only need to look to the example of how our plastic habit impacts the world around us to see this effect.
When we accept a plastic bag, when we discard a plastic straw or utensils or pick up a plastic water bottle on our way to work, we are putting materials in circulation that will take thousands of years to break down. Considering the fact that only 12 percent of the materials that are deemed recyclable are actually recycled, even when we dispose of our plastics “properly” many times they still end up in the ocean. It’s no wonder an average of 8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped in the ocean every single year.

While there is still much to be desired about our disposal process, there are a few notable strides being made to better the system, even at the community level. Just recently, Lake Worth City Commission, a South Florida County organization, passed an ordinance that will regulate the use of outdoor balloons and sky lanterns on city-owned property. The ordinance is in collaboration with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation, and education center, and came after the organization saw that balloons and lanterns that are released after use (we’ve all done it) return as litter and poses a threat to the county’s abundant sea turtle population.

Sea turtles, just like many other animals, mistake litter like balloons for food. Once ingested, the remains can potentially damage sea turtles’ digestive systems, lead to starvation, and even death. Considering many species of sea turtle are in danger of extinction and a recent study found about 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs, it’s very clear we need to take action … and fast.

While many of the commissioners feel that the ordinance is important and worthwhile, there are still some  details left to iron out, specifically, what the penalty will be for violators, how to convince voters that this is an issue worth prioritizing, and how the ordinance will be enforced. We hope that this ordinance is able to pass without hindrance. It can have an incredible impact on the life of marine animals, and bring an issue to light that many people may have not been educated on before. Every action taken to #CrushPlastic is a worthwhile one!

How You Can Help 
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Victory! Action for Nosey Now has just received word from Tom Mates, owner of Luke's Auction Barn and organizer for Kewanna Fall Festival, that Nosey will not be present at their event. 
Thank you advocates, for your ongoing support for Nosey! Click here to keep up to date with Nosey.

Wild Cougars Return to Tennessee.
Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Applaud conservation efforts that have enabled the cougar to return to Tennessee.

Cougars have returned to Tennessee after over 25 years of absence. After recording multiple sightings, wildlife officials now have reason to be optimistic about the cats’ long-term chances of survival in the area.

In the past year, there have been seven confirmed sightings of cougars in West and Middle Tennessee. The cougar’s presence in Tennessee was eliminated in the 1980s and 90s due to habitat loss and hunting, but now experts believe that the big cats have migrated east, coming from areas such as Western Canada.

Efforts to preserve cougar populations have been extensive, as evidenced by the ForceChange petitions found here and here. The cougar is subject to a number of anti-hunting protections. In Tennessee, it is forbidden to kill a cougar unless there an imminent threat of injury.

The return of these precious creatures serves as proof that environmental regulations are working. Sign the petition to thank the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for their diligent efforts to preserve these animals.

Justice Department to End Private Prison Use.
Target: Sally Yates, Deputy Attorney General

Goal: Thank the Justice Department for announcing they are going to stop using private prisons.

The Department of Justice announced that it will put an end to the use of private prisons by the federal government in a recent memo released by Sally Yates and the department. This is a momentous decision as the use of private prisons has been known to be far more damaging than helpful, so much so that there have been several ForceChange petitions calling for an end to the private prison industry.

Private prisons have been criticized for their ineffectiveness for a long time along with the plethora of complaints regarding the treatment of prisoners and issues regarding overpopulation. Yates addressed this in her memo: “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”

The memo is only relevant to federal private prisons, which only house roughly 22,000 inmates, and does not apply to any of the state run facilities that count as private institutions. However, despite the limitations of the memo’s power, this is a huge step in the right direction as the federal government is directly renouncing the usage of privately owned prisons, meaning that many states could soon follow suit. Congratulate the Department of Justice for taking a huge step in the right direction by terminating their contracts with private prisons.