December 8, 2018

Wildlife and public lands are held in the public trust, meaning they belong to every single one of us, regardless of if you live in the middle of Wyoming or next to Central Park. Having clean air and clean water is a right that all Americans share. And being able to pass along a world without unnatural disasters is something that we can agree on.

There are bedrock environmental laws and systems of public lands that make the protection of our natural heritage one of the best in the world and a model for countries across the globe. The Endangered Species Act. The National Park System. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The National Environmental Policy Act. The National Wildlife Refuge System. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Unfortunately, our official governmental leadership in the conservation department has been lacking (and declining) in the past two years. The Department of the Interior eliminated 85 percent of Bears Ears and 50 percent of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments from protections. Secretary Zinke reneged 100-year-old protections for migratory birds that forced BP to pay for environmental clean-up. President Trump canceled a rule that would have placed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins, and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets in the Pacific Ocean.

But these actions, and more, were not supported by Americans. Instead, we support protections for wildlife, the environment, and our public lands and waters. In fact, 92% of Americans, say “decisions about wildlife management and which animals need protection should be made by scientists, not politicians.” And 90% of Americans favor a strong Endangered Species Act. Just last month, out of 108,124(!) comments submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 107,988 comments (99.9%) favored the need for strong federal protections for red wolves.

The environmental movement started because people cared. They cared about their health. They cared about what DDT was doing to our national symbol, the bald eagle. They cared about being able to fish in their local river and vacation at their favorite beach. Collectively, the public realized that we needed to start caring for our Earth, and soon.

Our landmark environmental laws have been successful in staving off natural ruin, and they still have support today because we value access to the outdoors, the opportunity to see wolves and manatees and California condors in the wild, and the economic and health benefits that come from having a clean environment.

Every time you take a minute to fill out a petition, call or write to your elected representatives, share your thoughts on social media, or write a letter to the editor or opinion piece in your local newspaper, you are showing that you care about wildlife and that these issues are important ones.

We couldn’t do what we do without members and supporters like you who share our passion for wildlife and lend your voices to those who need them most. The fight to save wildlife is a fight we can win.


Follow Defenders of Wildlife