If you came looking for Apple Guardians, you found it! Only the site name has changed. All else stays the same. Welcome back.

July 31, 2011

The Bluefin Boycott

The bluefin tuna, one of the world's most remarkable ocean creatures, is in trouble and needs your help.  Overfishing is driving this mighty warm-blooded fish toward the brink of extinction, and yet many sushi restaurants continue to serve it. 

Too often viewed only as sushi, the bluefin tuna is an extraordinary specimen of ocean wildlife, growing up to 10 feet long and sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds.  Unlike almost all fish, bluefin tuna are warm-blooded and able to regulate their body temperature, which helps during their epic 60-day journeys across the Atlantic.  Bluefin tuna are top ocean predators and sometimes hunt cooperatively, much like wolves.  With streamlined bodies and retractable fins, bluefin can bolt through the water at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and are capable of crossing oceans in the course of only a few weeks. 

Unfortunately, due to its popularity as sushi, its high commercial value and its habit of crossing international boundaries, the bluefin tuna is being severely over-fished and is at risk of extinction.  Since 1970, western Atlantic bluefin tuna have declined by more than 80% due to overfishing.  Halfway through a 20-year government "rebuilding program" for the severely depleted population, there are barely any more fish than at the beginning of the program.  In the eastern Atlantic, the majority of the decline has occurred in the past 10 years as they've been caught, without regulatory oversight, for fish farming. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists two species of bluefin, the Atlantic and the southern, as endangered or critically endangered on its "Red List" of imperiled species.  The Pacific bluefin tuna is not yet listed, but overfishing is now occurring, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

In spring 2010, bluefin tuna took a major hit at the height of its spawning season: Scientists estimate that BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico killed more than 20% of juvenile western Atlantic bluefin tuna that year.  That estimate doesn't consider the expected long-term negative effects of the oil spill in the tuna's breeding habitat. 

Sadly, bluefin tuna remains a prized menu item in some restaurants.  The sushi market keeps prices for tuna high - a single tuna sold for nearly $396,000 in early 2011 - and encourages illegal and unreported fishing.  Despite outcry from concerned people, many sushi restaurants across the globe continue to serve bluefin tuna.  One common question: How can you tell if the tuna you are ordering is bluefin?  The best way to tell is to check the menu and ask.  Another broad rule of thumb: If its expensive, it could be bluefin. 

Conservation groups around the globe recommend the boycott of any restaurant that serves bluefin tuna.

July 30, 2011

House Votes Down "Extinction Rider"

In a victory for imperiled species, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted not to include the "extinction rider" in an appropriations bill that would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate "critical habitat" for their survival.  The House voted 224-202 in favor of an amendment from Rep. Norm Dick's (D-Wash.) to strip the "extinction rider" from the interior department's appropriation bill.

"The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).  "The vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses, and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction."


The vote comes as plants and animals across the country are at heightened risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, global climate change, extreme weather events and other factors.  Earlier this month the Fish and Wildlife Service and CBD reached a landmark agreement to speed protection for 757 imperiled U.S. species, including the wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grand cutthroat trout and Mexican gray wolf.  The passage of the this bill would have delayed protection of those species and made their recovery more difficult. 

"While the vote on the extinction rider shows that the Endangered Species Act enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, the House is still threatening wide-spread environmental damage with other amendments to this spending bill," Greenwald said.  "We can't allow these measures to move ahead that will pollute our air and water, threaten public health and destroy pristine landscapes."

Mexican gray wolf

Among the measures still under consideration in the House are those that would:
  • Stop more than 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from being protected from new uranium mines;
  • Force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop all work limiting carbon dioxide pollution from power plants;
  • Halt efforts under the Clean Water Act from protecting human health and endangered species from pesticides;
  • Block EPA oversight of mountain removal coal mining in Appalachia;
  • Interfere with the EPA's work to protect the public from toxic coal ash;
  • Hinder the EPA's and U.S. Corps of Engineers' work to protect wetlands and other waters of the United States;
  • Expedite air-pollution permits for offshore drilling in the Arctic.

The full appropriations bill for the Interior department is expected to be voted on by the House in the coming days.  If it passes, it moves to the Senate.  Last week, the White House signaled plans to veto the spending bill because of amendments that threaten wildlife, the environment, and clean air and water.

July 8, 2011

The EPA Needs to Hear from You About Mercury

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that would significalntly reduce mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.  We need to send a signal to the EPA that we support its new rule. 

Exposure to mercury can cause birth defects, neurological damage and countless other health and environmental problems.  If implemented, these new standards would prevent 17,000 deaths and 12,000 hospital visits each year.  That's why it's so important that we make our voices heard and stand up in support of the EPA's efforts. 

These same coal-fired power plants that pollute our air with mercury are polluting our atmosphere with millions upon millions of tons of carbon pollution, leading to dangerous changes in our climate. 

We need to make it clear that we want to take back our air and our health from the big polluters who poison it every day. 

Comments are constantly being accepted by the EPA, and the rule won't be finalized until November 2011.  The time is NOW to stand up for our health and shared future. 

Will you join me in telling the EPA to protect our health and our environment from the mercury pollution that comes from burning coal?  Join me and send a comment to the EPA today:


July 7, 2011

Tell Secretary Salazar to Stop Shell's Arctic Drilling Plans

Shell just submitted a proposal to the Department of the Interior, which calls for ten new exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean. They claim that the operations will be completely “safe and clean”, but are in fact based on the same flawed methods that caused the oil spill in the Gulf.

While the Department of the Interior is considering Shell’s proposal they have opened up a public comment period to hear from us. But we only have 24 hours before the comment period closes so it is important that we send them in now!

One single oil spill could completely destroy this fragile ecosystem forever.

Join me in sending a comment to Secretary Salazar today to reject Shells proposal to drill in the Arctic by clicking the link below…



Blog Widget by LinkWithin