WildEarth Guardians and our wildlife protection allies is applauding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission for their vote April 30 to ban wildlife “killing contests” for furbearer and certain small game species in the state. Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events. The proposal, advanced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, prohibits wildlife competition events, known informally as “killing contest” targeted at species such as coyotes, bobcats, and prairie dogs, amongst others.
Upon enactment, this new regulation will put an end to events such as the High Desert Predator Classic in Pueblo, the Song Dog Coyote Hunt in Keenesburg, and the San Luis Valley Coyote Calling Competition. Winners of wildlife killing contests often proudly post photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead coyotes and other animals, often before disposing of the animals in “carcass dumps” away from the public eye.
“The majority of Coloradans respect and value wildlife and this step forward by our state wildlife department is in line with those values,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We look forward to seeing CPW to continue to advance policies that reflect the importance of wildlife protection to all people in Colorado.”
Read the press release.
Fifty years ago, a group of visionaries created an event to honor, celebrate and protect the earth. The original founders of Earth Day were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too.
If Earth and its natural systems are to thrive in the next 50 years, we need a deep recommitment to the bold vision that inspired the first Earth Day. Simply put, it’s time for action and we need Guardians like you to step up and help be a catalyst for the type of bold changes needed to address systemic problems, like the nature crisis and climate crises.
First, if you haven’t already, sign our Earth Day Pledge and make sure to share it with your friends and family.
Next, help us take over social media for Earth Week! To do that, we’ve assembled ready-to-go images for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you’re short on time, we’ve even put together some sample Facebook posts and Instagram hashtags for you. We’ve created something extra special for people on Twitter: A compelling series of 15 tweets. We’d be especially grateful if you could send them all out!
Finally, you can find WildEarth Guardians on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @WildEarthGuardians, so make sure to tag us!
All Earth Day images can be downloaded from this folder. They’re already sized for Facebook/Instagram or Twitter. You can also click on each image below and get a full-size image for use on social media.
Start your very own Twitter Storm by sending out the following 15 tweets. We’ve made it simple: Just grab and post! Please note: If an image isn’t associated with the suggested tweet (Example: Suggested Tweet #1) an image will automatically propagate when you post the entire tweet.
Suggested Tweet #1
The original founders of #EarthDay were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #2
Sign the Earth Day Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge @wildearthguard
Suggested Tweet #3
Thanks to the catalyzing effect of the original #EarthDay vision—as well as a deep and wide progressive social and political movement—a whole suite of environmental safety nets now exist to protect nature, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/americas-bedrock-environmental-laws-a-conversation-with-john-horning/
Suggested Tweet #4
This #EarthDay is a time to reject dualities that seek to deny our interdependence and embrace our shared destiny—planet and people have one health. From this stems our belief that the rights of nature and the rights of people are inextricably intertwined. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #5
Help spread the word about #EarthDay2020! Check out our Earth Day social media tool kit for a series of ready-to-go tweets, posts, and images. Let’s be loud and be proud this #EarthDay! @wildearthguard https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayToolkit
Suggested Tweet #6
There has never been a better time to chart a new course towards a restorative and regenerative future. Take the #EarthDay Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge @wildearthguard
Suggested Tweet #7
Extractive industries that mine, drill, log, and graze on #publiclands are fueling the climate crisis and the nature crisis. We must equitably retire extractive industries on public lands. Take action: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #8
Living rivers are vital to the diversity of life on earth. To ensure the future health of rivers and the species that depend on them, we must revive the pulse of great waterways and expose the historic injustice to rivers. Take the pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #9
Native #wildlife, especially carnivores, are suffering under the multiple and intensifying threats of habitat destruction, climate disruption and questionable hunting and trapping practices. We must nurture an ethic of compassionate co-existence: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #10
Public lands in the American West are home to some of the last remnants of wild, yet still unprotected, landscapes in our nation. There are potentially up to 40 million acres of #publiclands that would be eligible for permanent protection. ACT: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #11
Times like these show the importance of safety nets. We must secure and strengthen environmental safety nets like the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act to meet the challenges ahead. Sign the pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #12
WildEarth Guardians’ #EarthDay vision calls for leadership at all levels of society. We need leaders from all political spectrums to shoulder the responsibility of creating and embrace the vision of a new, more nurturant social contract with citizens. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #13
Living rivers and #cleanwater are vital to all life. Flowing, healthy rivers nourish communities, connect ecosystems, and provide corridors and habitat for fish and wildlife. Sign the pledge to protect and defend #livingrivers: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #14
We must deepen our commitment to greater equity and inclusion in our human communities to ensure that people are treated with compassion and afforded the dignity that all people deserve. #EarthDay https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #15
The beauty, resiliency, and dynamism of Earth can still inspire a sense of awe and wonder in each of us. If we re-commit, with a greater sense of urgency, to the founding vision of #EarthDay, we can ensure future generations will experience the beauty too. https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Suggested Facebook Posts
Suggested Facebook Post #1
The original founders of Earth Day were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too.
As we commemorate this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we do so with a somber reckoning that we have not heeded planetary health warnings early or well enough. Therefore, these times require ever more bold actions to realign our commitment to Earth and its natural systems and our mutual well-being.
Here’s what guardians like you can do today to help us collectively achieve this vision.
Suggested Facebook Post #2
If Earth and its natural systems are to thrive in the next 50 years, we need a deep recommitment to the bold vision that inspired the first Earth Day. It is a time for action. It is time to reweave the threads of the environmental, public health, and economic safety nets, which ensure that the public welfare and the common good are each protected.
Take the Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Suggested Facebook Post #3
Happy Earth Day…Now get to work for the Earth!
Our Earth Day social media tool kit is a one-stop-shop of ready-to-go tweets, posts, and images.
Instagram Hashtags and Link for Bio
Put this link to the Earth Day Pledge in your bio: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Hashtags: Use one, or use them all!
#EarthDay #EarthDay2020 #EarthDayEveryDay #ClimateAction #StopExtinction #PublicLands #Wildlife #EndTheWarOnWildlife #LivingRivers #KeepItInTheGround #ProtectWhatYouLove #SaveTheEarth #SaveThePlanet #ProtectOurPlanet #ActOnClimate #EarthWeek #WaterIsLife #CleanWater #CleanAir #Biodiversity #Coexistence #ProtectNature #SaveNature #ProtectWildlife #OneEarth #Together #EndangeredSpecies
Grizzly bears continue to be in the crosshairs of those eager to remove them from the Endangered Species Act. Such action is premature and shortsighted. Grizzlies face continuing threats from climate change, dwindling key food resources, illegal poaching, lack of connectivity among populations, and the negative impacts from roads and railroad tracks fragmenting their habitat.
Without connected and secure habitat, grizzly bear recovery will fail. The science supporting these facts is clear and on display in this video featuring highlights from five leading experts who presented their findings during a November 2019 conference at the University of Montana.
WildEarth Guardians co-sponsored production of this video with the Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force, Wilderness Watch, Save the Yellowstone Grizzly and the University of Montana Environmental Studies Program. A compendium of each scientist’s findings is available here. The full recording of the Task Force’s November conference is also available here.
WildEarth Guardians is working tirelessly to protect wolves—from the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies to the American Southwest. Though wolves are eminently popular they are nevertheless under seemingly relentless attacks by the Trump administration, the livestock industry, and members of Congress hostile to wolves. WildEarth Guardians’ wolf advocacy entails a varied and diverse approach necessary to ensure that wolves have the freedom to roam.
From working with ranchers to retire their public land grazing permits to supporting direct democracy to catalyze wolf recovery in Colorado to engaging in frontline litigation, our wolf advocacy is as diverse as the ecosystems upon which wolves depend. Guardians’ broader vision is to defend the intrinsic right of all native carnivores to exist while cultivating an ethic of coexistence with these incredible creatures.
In early April, our Executive Director John Horning and Conservation Director Sarah McMillan sat down virtually to have an engaging and informative discussion all about wolves. We hope you enjoy it and join us in answering the call of the wild to defend wolves across the American West.
The recent images of Koala bears scarred by the massive forest fires in Australia has evoked global empathy for Koalas. The events reminded me of a time and place when the American conscience was similarly moved.
Seventy years ago firefighters found a five-pound bear cub clinging to a tree, where he had escaped a blaze. His paws and legs were burned. They named him Smokey. The Forest Service has used him as an icon for protecting our national forests ever since. Unfortunately, Smokey has treated us far better than the Forest Service has treated our bears.
For eons nature’s bounty has nourished bears to meet their voracious appetites and feed their young before hibernating. But there’s a more sinister food source lying in wait for these majestic animals. Doughnuts, dog food, raw meats, and bread—all of it drenched in molasses or syrup—are used by hunters as bait to attract black bears and then kill the unsuspecting animals.
These bait traps, though targeting black bears, also attract grizzlies. In fact, a growing number of hunters are using remote cameras to capture photos of grizzlies, including one shared with the media in mid-January. And the record shows that dozens of grizzlies—many of them dispersing to claim new terrain—have been killed at bait traps on national forests in Idaho and Wyoming.
One of the core ethics of the hunting community is the concept of fair chase. Nothing about bear baits that entice hungry animals while a hunter sits in a lounge chair waiting for the helpless animal to arrive complies with the ethic.
While the states of Idaho and Wyoming authorize the practice of black bear baiting, including within the range of the grizzly, it is the U.S. Forest Service that has abdicated its responsibility to protect bears. Though the agency, at one point, applied stringent regulations to the practice of bear baiting nearly all of those have been rescinded over the years due to pressure from hunters and state game agencies.
What’s more paradoxical is that hikers and backpackers are under strict regulations to store their food and refuse, as well they should be, to prevent bear/human conflict.
Recognizing both the irresponsibility and hypocrisy of the Forest Service’s actions, WildEarth Guardians sued the Forest Service last year for endangering grizzly bears. That lawsuit now awaits a ruling on whether plaintiff groups have legal ‘standing’ to have our case heard.
But the truth is the practice of bear-baiting itself should be banned not only because it harms an endangered species but also because we can and should be better – not only better hunters (if that is what you choose) but better, fairer, people.
Three quarters of a century ago, the Forest Service launched its Smokey the Bear campaign and emblazoned the iconic animal on the public consciousness. Along with Winnie the Pooh and the Teddy Bear, bears are one of the most iconic animals in the world. The survival of these noble creatures is essential to the survival of the human psyche – they not only play a role in the balance of the environment, they play a role in the balance of the human mind.
At the heart of Smokey’s identity is vulnerability (the image of a three month old cub desperately clinging on for life). The Forest Service has used that image for decades to protect the forests, yet fails to protect our bears by allowing hunters to exploit the bears’ most basic vulnerability – the need for food. If more of the Americans public knew about the practice of baiting, there would be outrage.
Trust in American institutions is at an all-time low. To restore some measure of trust in the Forest Service, the agency should take basic steps to protect black and grizzly bears from the unethical and barbaric behavior of a few by banning the practice of bear baiting in our national forests. It’s the least we can do.
The bear is a fundamental part of our national story, and for many of us – our personal story as well. A human being is nothing, if not a collection of stories. When we protect these worthy animals, in a sense, we are really protecting ourselves.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surreptitiously authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service to kill four endangered Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico on behalf of the livestock industry between March 23 and March 28, according to three agency memos.
The quick-succession shootings of two members of the Prieto pack and two from the Mangas pack make this the bloodiest bout of federal wolf-killing in the Southwest since 2006, when an entire nine-member wolf family in Arizona was taken out. The Mangas pack lives near the state line with Arizona, while the Prieto pack lives several dozen miles to the southeast. Both are in so-called “problem allotments” where chronically poor livestock management has resulted in previous removals of wolves.
“It is absurd that the onus for coexistence is placed on these endangered, native wolves rather than on subsidized public lands ranchers who have introduced cattle where they don’t belong,” said Chris Smith of WildEarth Guardians. “A subset of ranchers who would rather have native species killed than improve their livestock management is literally calling the shots for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Read the full release.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revealed that at least 163 Mexican gray wolves survive in the wilds of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The annual count shows an increase of 32 individuals since last year’s total documented count of 131. The Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team deployed in January and found 76 wolves in Arizona and 87 in New Mexico.
This increase marks a step in the right direction, away from extinction and toward recovery – despite many challenges. The fact that lobos are doing as well as they are comes in spite of inadequate and even hostile action from the agencies tasked with their recovery, a border wall blocking gene exchange with their relatives in Mexico, and archaic trapping rules in New Mexico that risk injury and death to wolves every trapping season.
“Lobos are showing that they belong in this region—that they are resilient in spite of mismanagement and hostility,” said Christopher Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Just think what their recovery might look like if we removed some of the obstacles that are put in front of them, like leghold traps on New Mexico public lands.”
Read the press release.
Our nation’s bedrock environmental law–the National Environmental Policy Act–is under attack by corporate polluters and their cronies in the Trump Administration, threatening our right to a healthy environment in the United States.
Fortunately, we have a chance to fight back against this brazen assault and defend our health and communities.
Most people have no clue what the National Environmental Policy Act is, but virtually everyone knows what it does.
Passed 50 years ago, the law ensures federal agencies analyze and fully disclose the environmental impacts of their activities. More importantly, it gives the public the right to be involved and to influence federal actions that may affect their environment.
Described as “our basic national charter for protection of the environment,” the National Environmental Policy Act has been a critical check on the activities of our federal government.
Often called NEPA (that’s pronounced “nee-puh”), the law enshrined the goal of environmental protection in the United States and enforced the need to involve the public in federal decisions. And since its passage, NEPA has worked tremendously.
It’s given communities a voice and sway when new highways are proposed through neighborhoods. It’s empowered local and state governments to stand up to federal agencies. It’s provided Tribes the tools needed to defend sacred lands. And it’s enabled watchdogs across the country to make a difference for people and the planet.
The law has truly been a ray of sunshine and for Americans.
For WildEarth Guardians, NEPA is absolutely key to protecting and restoring wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health in the American West.
For over 30 years, we’ve relied on the law to confront proposals by federal agencies to log old growth forests, dam rivers, decimate wildlife, destroy the climate, and desecrate sacred lands. We’ve relied on the law to mobilize support for safeguarding endangered species, protecting wilderness, and saving lands and waters throughout the American West.
Just last month, we filed suit in federal court to block the sale of nearly two million acres of public lands for fracking in five western states over the federal government’s failure to comply with NEPA. The case confronts the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s refusal to account for the climate impacts of authorizing more fossil fuel production and more greenhouse gas emissions.
For WildEarth Guardians, as well as countless other environmental, health, community, justice, Indigenous, and other advocates, NEPA is the backbone of our accountability efforts. It’s given us all the tools needed to stand up to private, often well-financed efforts to exploit our environment at the expense of our health and well-being.
Sadly, because groups like WildEarth Guardians have successfully used NEPA to defend our environment, it’s come under fire by polluters who view the law as an impediment to their ability to exploit communities and public resources.
Claiming the law is inefficient, cumbersome, and ineffective, corporate interests have for many years called for its gutting. Now, with Trump and his pro-polluter cadre in the White House, these interests are launching an unprecedented strike on our nation’s basic charter for environmental protection.
In a draft released on January 10, the White House Council on Environmental Quality published a proposed set of regulations that, if adopted, would effectively roll back and destroy NEPA as we know it (watch our recent Facebook Live check-in to learn more about these rollbacks).
The rules would completely rewrite regulations originally promulgated in 1982 and in doing so, completely upend our ability to hold our federal government accountable to protecting our environment. It’s not surprising that lobbyists for the nation’s polluters have described the rules as “exactly” what they recommended to the Trump administration.
Among the sweeping changes, the Trump administration’s proposal would:
- Strike language describing NEPA as “our nation’s basic charter for environmental protection” and instead describe the law as procedural and only requiring federal agencies to minimally disclose the environmental impacts of their actions;
- Severely restrict opportunities for public involvement in federal agency actions affecting the environment;
- In many situations, exempt federal agencies from having to complete environmental reviews;
- Let agencies shortcut environmental reviews and to reject science and public comments;
- Undermine transparency by allowing agencies to withhold environmental information from the public;
- Make it more difficult for watchdogs to enforce NEPA before administrative appeals boards or federal courts; and
- Prohibit federal agencies from analyzing and disclosing cumulative environmental impacts, or the impacts of their actions when added to the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities.
That last proposed change is particularly distressing. The duty for the federal government to address the cumulative impacts of its actions is a critical and powerful means of ensuring agencies don’t worsen environmental problems, like climate change.
By eliminating the duty to account for cumulative impacts, the proposed changes would completely erase the federal government’s responsibility to protect our environment.
In keeping with the anti-public spirit of the proposal, the Council on Environmental Quality has also provided only 60 days for people to provide comments on the draft regulations and scheduled only two public hearings–one in Denver and one in Washington, D.C.–where only a little more than 100 people will be allowed to comment.
There’s no doubt that if approved, the proposed rules would effectively shut the American public out of the operations of the federal government, leaving our environment, our communities, our health, and our families more vulnerable than ever.
In response to Trump’s attack on NEPA, a massive coalition of advocates across the country are gearing up to fight back.
The resistance is kicking off in Denver, Colorado this Tuesday, February 11. That day, the Trump administration is holding its first of two public hearings on the proposed rollbacks.
While many will be speaking at the formal hearing, the Council on Environmental Quality provided only 112 speaking slots that were filled in less than five minutes due to extremely high demand. That’s why most people will be speaking and rallying across the street as part of the “Peoples Hearing to Protect NEPA,” an all-day action meant to uplift and empower the voices that were excluded by the Trump administration.
Groups are also pushing back in other critical ways. Last month, WildEarth Guardians joined hundreds of other groups in demanding the Trump administration extend the public comment period for the proposed rollbacks and calling for more public hearings.
Congressional leaders are also rising up to defend NEPA. In a bipartisan letter last month, U.S. Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado, a Democrat, and Representative Francis Rooney of Florida, a Republican, were joined by hundreds of other members of the U.S. House in calling on the Council on Environmental Quality to back down from the proposed rollbacks.
In the meantime, now, more than ever, we need your voice to help derail these terrible rollbacks to NEPA. If you haven’t yet, sign our petition and join thousands of others who are rising up to speak out for our environment and our voice.
Together, we can thwart Trump and his gang of polluters in the White House. Together, we can #ProtectNEPA.