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GOP Lawmakers Are Working to Dismantle the Endangered Species Act | Take Action Tuesday @EarthFoodLife

George, we hardly knew ye: On January 1, George, a 14-year-old snail who was the last known representative of his species, Achatinella apexfulva, died. For years, George (not pictured above) had been in the care of wildlife biologist David Sischo and his team at the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. For more than a decade, scientists searched for a mate to save the species, but were unsuccessful. National Geographic called George’s loss “emblematic of the loss of native Hawaiian mollusks.” But as a rare case of being the subject of a vigil that counted down the days to the extinction of a species in real time, George is emblematic of the global extinction crisis known as the Sixth Extinction: the sixth time in the history of life on Earth that global fauna has undergone a major population collapse, only this time it’s caused by human activity like deforestation, mining and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Red List of Threatened Species, which is maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 28,000 species are threatened with extinction—more than a fourth of all assessed species. (Photo credit: Pixabay/Pexels)

Care2: Our planet is losing species at a rate faster than any time since the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth 65 million years ago. And yet in the face of this extinction crisis, Republicans in the U.S. Congress are working to dismantle the law that gives species on the brink a fighting chance. In the last 10 years, more than 300 bills have been introduced that take aim at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the vast majority by Republican legislators. They’ve attempted to limit authorities from listing new endangered species based on the economic costs of protecting that given species, and whether or not it is native to the U.S. They’ve even tried to force wildlife experts to get Congress’s permission for every single listing decision. The ESA is an environmental success story. It’s helped save wolves, crocodiles, whooping cranes and many more species from annihilation. In the face of climate change and human development putting more species at risk, we need to strengthen—not weaken—every tool we have to fight back.
>>>Urge Republican lawmakers to oppose any bill that weakens the Endangered Species Act.

Pacific Environment: Our oceans are drowning in plastic. Around the world, it suffocates sea turtles, starves seabirds, destroys marine habitat, and clogs local rivers. In fact, we’re on track to have more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Zero waste grassroots campaigners have promoted the concept of zero waste in Vietnam, which helped inspire Vietnam’s prime minister to commit to banning single-use plastic nationwide by 2025. But if we’re going to win the battle against the plastic pollution crisis, we have to fight it at home, too. The U.S. produces more waste per person than any other country in the world, and instead of working to stem the tide of pollution, American plastic manufacturers want to dramatically increase production over the next decade. Over 270 organizations from across the country are demanding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency do its job and stop Big Plastic from polluting our oceans and communities.
>>>Urge the EPA to protect communities and oceans from the rising tide of plastic pollution.

Fur Free Minneapolis: The fur trade is a brutal industry where millions of animals such as foxes, minks, rabbits, dogs, cats, raccoons, and chinchillas are killed every year. Most of these animals are raised on fur farms, where they are confined to a life of misery in cages that are barely bigger than their bodies. They live through intense stress and engage in psychotic behaviors like repetitive pacing, self-mutilation and cannibalism. These animals endure this life only to be killed in some of the most inhumane ways. They are electrocuted and stunned, and some are still alive as they are beaten and skinned. They are submitted to this suffering solely for the sake of their fur. Fur farms pollute our water systems with phosphorus, causing algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle, which in turn leads to the death of fish and plants and reduces the use of the water for human purposes such as consumption and swimming. Fur farms also use at least four times the amount of resources (water and feed) as farms producing plant-based fabrics. In this day of countless eco and animal-friendly fabrics, there is no need for this violent industry.
>>>Urge the Minneapolis City Council to pass an ordinance that bans the sale of new fur products within the city.

Cause for concern…

Exxon under fire: Protesters in Washington, D.C., take part in the Global Climate March, held in cities across 175 nations in November 2015. Last year, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a case against ExxonMobil, accusing America’s largest oil company of defrauding investors by understating the impact that government-led greenhouse gas emission reductions would have on its business. Last week, Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York Supreme Court sided with the prosecutors’ assertion that ExxonMobil was attempting to discourage witnesses from testifying by making “unreasonable” and extensive requests for documents from the witnesses. The oil giant “can’t go on a gigantic, burdensome fishing expedition to exhume hundreds or thousands of documents that have no relevance to the issues in this case,” said Justice Ostrager. “We must do what we can to stand up to the industry bent on prioritizing its profits over global survival,” writes Patti Lynn, the executive director of the nonprofit Corporate Accountability, in a recent EFL op-ed on Truthout. “Right now, we have a tremendous opportunity to go on the offensive at the state level—and investigations by attorneys general are critical to this.” (Photo credit: Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr)

Round of applause…

A helping moo: In a recent article for The New York Times, Elisa Mala investigates “cow cuddling,” a practice in which people interact with the bovines by brushing or petting them, and even having chats. “The experience is similar to equine therapy, with one game-changing difference: Horses tend to stand, but cows spontaneously lie down in the grass while chewing their cud, allowing humans to get even more up close and personal by joining on the ground and offering a warm embrace,” she writes. As the use of emotional support animals grows, some researchers are proposing a standard assessment for certifications. Dr. Marc Bekoff, an evolutionary biologist, points out that, just like pets, some emotional support animals “would rather be doing something else and enjoy more freedom,” underscoring the importance of meeting the animal’s unique needs and well-being. “I’m all in favor of people using nonhuman animals of many different species for emotional support if it works for them and the animal.” (Photo credit: Kat Jayne/Pexels)

EFL in the news…

Sriram Madhusoodanan, climate campaign director for Corporate Accountability, recently discussed an EFL op-ed, Current Investigation of ExxonMobil Could Spur Broader Climate Action, by Corporate Accountability’s executive director Patti Lynn, in a radio interview with FAIR’s Janine Jackson for CounterSpin, FAIR’s radio show. [LISTEN]

Parting thought…

“Not a single creature on Earth has more or less right to be here.” —Anthony Douglas Williams