Written by Courtney Phillips
What is the endangered species act?
The ESA was established in 1973 by none other than Richard Nixon. It was designed to protect animal & planet species that were left vulnerable to extinction due to the consequence of economic growth and ever expanding development that was unmoderated by adequate concern and conservation. The ESA is the strongest law ever passed protecting our vital flora and fauna. It provides States with financial assistance and incentives to create and maintain conservation programs. Without it, it’s certain that many species would of perished this planet forever.
What is going on with it today in 2019?
This is the biggest attack the ESA has ever faced in history. Which is contrary to public opinion; studies show, people do not want to see the act weakened or removed (93% of the population!). So, what is going on today that’s got so many conservationists pissed off? Let me tell you - I’m not happy about it, and neither should you be. But those are just my opinions, let’s get down to the facts!
Here is just a glimpse of what the new policies would do:
Wildlife listed as “threatened” would no longer receive any level of protection (logger head sea turtle, sockeye salmon, lion, grizzly bear, giraffe & polar bear to name a few!)
The financial costs of protecting endangered species will now be weighed in heavily
Developers will be allowed to bulldoze, mine, drill, and log in crucial habitat (habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to wildlife)
Wildlife waiting for conservationists help will now face longer life-threatening delays
Climate change is no longer a factor (Let me expand: species who’s numbers are suffering from the effects of climate change are no longer taken into consideration)
What can I do?
Donal Trump has single handedly safeguarded fewer plants and animals under the ESA than any other president to date. It will become completely legal to shoot, trap, and kill some of the once threatened species on the endangered species act. We have a president who doesn’t believe in climate change, has sons who go big game hunting for fun, and cares more about seeing land developers, big oil tycoons, and businessmen profit over the protection of our planet. Rather than taking steps to protect our environment, the Trump Administration is moving in the complete and utter opposite direction.
I am outraged. The time is now, more than ever, to do something about this. Don’t feel hopeless, harness your anger towards something good. We’re all in this together.
Here are somethings you can do:
RESEARCH. Educate yourself! At the bottom of this blog, I will have some resources that will get you up to speed on what is going on. The more you know about this topic, the more you can raise awareness and get others on board. Do not be quiet and let this pass without a fight.
VOTE. Start locally! It all makes its way up the chain. Learn about your local politics and get involved. As a small business owner, I wasn’t against Trumps financial propositions during his campaign. But I sure as hell will never vote for a president who doesn’t care about the environment. Profit over protection is something I cannot and will not stand for.
SHARE. With the power of social media these days, we can create powerful waves of change. Share blogs and articles that get you fired up. The more people who know about this, the bigger the chance this Act has.
SIGN PETITIONS. At the bottom of this blog there will be a petition from The Center of Biological Diversity. They are huge champions against threats to our planet. Sign up for their e-mails to stay informed about ongoing environmental issues.
DO YOUR PART. Now more than ever, we must rise up. With an administration that doesn’t believe in Climate Change, they will therefore do little to help the damages of climate change. Step up your eco-friendly game and invest into lifestyle changes. We all know what the things we need to do to help the plant are (use less plastic, bike more, eat less meat, etc), but we must put it into action for it to be effective.
What good has come from The Endangered Species Act?
Since it has been put into place, the ESA has repeatedly shown that it freaking works. More than 99 percent successful at preventing extinction. Did you read that? 99 PERCENT. What does that show us? When used to the full extent of the law and enough people caring, it can make a huge difference.
Let’s take a look at some success stories:
The American Crocodile - Long ago, the Coastal tip of Southern Florida was crawling with thousands of American Crocodiles. Due to over collection for zoos and hunting for sport/skins, their numbers fell to as few as 200 with only 10-20 breeding females in one small area in Florida. But after 8 years of being put in the endangered species act in 1975, their populations grown to about 1,000 and they had returned to a much wider historic range. In 2007, the species was down listed to threatened.
The Gray Wolf - Between the late 1800’s and 1967, hunting had pretty much completely wiped out the wolf population in the lower 48 states. There were only populations left in Northeastern Minnesota and Isle Royal, Michigan. In the 1980’s, the ESA had successfully recolonized the wolves in the Rocky Mountains and the following decade, they were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho. Their numbers were slowly on the rise, and began to expand all the way to Eastern Oregon and Washington. There was a setback in 2008 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the Northern Rockies grey wolf populations, but conservationists successfully argued their recovery plan would be jeopardized. Yet in 2011, the wolves faced another setback. For the first time ever, Congress overruled and re-delisted the wolves, stripping them from their protection pretty much everywhere except for Yellowstone National Park. This left them subject to aggressive hunting and trapping, which is severely reducing their populations. We need the ESA to remain intact to keep fighting for these wolves before they are literally gone from the planet forever.
Black-Footed Ferret - In the 1900’s, the United States was home to more than 5 million ferrets living in the central grasslands and basins from Southern Canada to Texas, but now it’s one of the most endangered mammals in North America. Their numbers were nearly wiped out due to agricultural development and rodent poisons devastating prairie dog populations (their food source). After being on the endangered species list for 13 years, it was thought the last captive ferret died and therefore completely extinct. However, in 1981, a small colony was discovered in Wyoming, and conservationists have been reintroducing populations in surrounding prairie states. There is now estimated to be around 1,400 black-footed ferrets living in the wild.
Under Trumps new policies, these animals mentioned above, along with countless others, would no longer be protected. Species can and will be wiped from the planet forever. The stakes are high.
I urge you to use your voice.
Articles, People, Petitions
Time Magazine: The Trump Administration's Changes to the Endangered Species Act Risks Pushing More Species to Extinction
The Real News Network Interview (audio): Trump Endangers the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act
Nature: Trump administration weakens Endangered Species Act
People Using Their Voice for Change