By Jeff Stark
Once again President Trump has shown us all that his lack of care for the state of the environment is second only to his lack of ability to manage the state of the economy. His latest outrage came in the form of announcing a new set of regulations that reduce the protections that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has provided to wildlife and habitats of animal, fish, and plant life forms by reducing the efforts of the federal government to protect species that are in danger of disappearing forever.
The ESA was signed in 1973. Its basic mission requires the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, to identify and protect species facing the risk of extinction. When a species is identified it is listed as endangered or threatened. It is then protected from hunting, harvesting or threatening the species by damaging its habitat. The government is then also required to research and prepare recovery plans, to enforce the legal sanctions on hunting or "taking" individuals and to help the species recover.
" By any measure the ESA has been a successful program. According to official reports 99% of species protected by the endangered species act have been saved from extinction. Since the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973, only 10 species protected by it have been declared extinct, and eight of those may have been extinct before they were listed. The ESA has been instrumental in saving so-called "celebrity species" including humpback whales and the Bald Eagle. It has also saved species that almost no Americans are familiar with and will never see. ESA is science in action. It also deserves major credit for creating experiential educational programs, for everyone from kindergarteners to senior citizens, that have played major roles in rallying nature lovers around the globe.
With all this in mind it brings us to wondering what has Trump and his gang done this time? If past performance is any guide we are probably facing a half-baked effort to disguise another corporate gift to people and businesses which will profit from a less aggressive endangered species protection regime. The spiff for Trump is primarily the same as always - he gets to do something so foul it should be against the law. In addition he gets to rub it in to Obama and the liberal elites in general. The changes were announced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency with the primary mission of protecting wildlife in America. In keeping with recent history, Trump's Secretary of the Interior is a former lobbyist for the oil industry. Hardly the kind of background which will produce zealous advocacy in protecting nature and her creatures.
And, lest we forget, all of this is happening in the middle of what science tells us is this planet's 6th mass extinction, and and this extinction event is the fastest so far, and by far.
There is no doubt that this bill has the potential to make a huge difference, for the better, in how we progress on our overall goal of transitioning to a low/no carbon renewable energy future. The question is, how can we protect this landmark law and and help make this happen?
WHAT WE CAN DO
The good news is that there few environmental issues that can inform and motivate both new and veteran environmental advocates as thoroughly as our extinction crisis. Old line "mainstream" organizations will lock arms with dozens of new grassroots efforts. Liberals and conservatives will share the same outlook, kindergarteners and Ph.D. candidates can understand each other and join in common cause. When we lose an extinction battle we all lose. When we win we are energized anew and look for a new way to move our agenda forward.
To help us get started here is a selection of links to more information on the details of the Trump administrations' new regulations, to organizations fighting to preserve and grow wildlife protections, and to organizations devoted to single issue endangered species campaigns. Almost anyone will find a way to get involved through these links, almost everyone should.
To learn more about the specifics of the Trump administration'schanges CLICK HERE.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.
This organization now bills itself as The World's Largest Environmental Movement.
to access a Google Search on "National Endangered Species Act Advocacy Organizations" CLICK HERE.
The ESA has a long history of campaigning on behalf our wild things and places. For a list of species which have been listed as eligible for help CLICK HERE
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is the main US agency charged with enforcement of the ESA. The Agency's programs, and much more are available on their WEBSITE
The old saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" has never been more true. CLICK HEREfor the results of a Google Search for ESA videos.