The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
2.7 Million People Want National Monuments to Remain Protected
As the Trump administration's "review" of 27 national monuments draws to a close, more than 2.7 million people have flooded the government comment website saying that they want national monuments to remain protected.
"Millions of Americans have urged the Trump administration not to sell off our beautiful national monuments," said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "These are public lands, and the public wants them protected."
A survey of dozens of organizations reveals that more than 2.7 million public comments have been submitted to the Interior Department in support of the 27 monuments at risk under review by Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke. The regulations.gov website displays each bundle of comments submitted from concerned groups as a single comment, significantly understating the number of comments received.
"It's disturbing that Zinke has already shown he's willing to ignore the pleas of the public, while bowing to Trump's political supporters like Senator Orrin Hatch," Spivak said. "Zinke's interim recommendation on Bears Ears National Monument called for slashing protections, a slap in the face to the tribes and public who have worked so hard to protect it."
President Trump launched an attack on national monuments in April, targeting more than one billion acres of natural and cultural wonders from coast to coast that have been protected by presidents of both political parties. In June, Zinke recommended significant reductions to Bears Ears, which oil and gas companies are eyeing for drilling and fracking operations.
Zinke's final recommendations on the monuments under review are due Aug. 24.
"The oil industry can already drill on 90 percent of the land managed by the BLM—how much more do they want?" Spivak said. "It's time for Zinke to stop pretending he's a Teddy Roosevelt kind of a guy. President Roosevelt would be ashamed of him."
Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 out of 19 presidents—eight Republicans and eight Democrats—to protect America's most iconic natural, cultural and historic places by designating them as national monuments.
The public overwhelmingly supports public lands and oceans. A 2014 Hart Research poll showed that 90 percent of voters supported presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness. In the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, 80 percent supported keeping monument protections in place.
Many studies have shown that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies. Studies also show that the outdoor and recreational opportunities in these monuments increase local residents' quality of life, making areas near them more attractive to new residents, entrepreneurs, small businesses and investors.
Outdoor recreation alone drives an $887 billion economy and supports 7.6 million jobs. A recent Headwaters Economics report reflects these trends with updated data from 17 areas across the West.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›